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Event Preview: The Memorial Championship Presented by Discraft

​Iconic. The Memorial Championship Presented by Discraft is, among many facets, iconic. Certainly, there are tournaments that happen before the Memorial, this year we’ve already seen one National Tour out in Vegas. But for me, there is something about Fountain Hills that heralds the arrival of the touring season much like robins picking at the ground means Spring is upon us. We’ve talked about it enough already, but after what some are calling the most tumultuous off-season in our sports history, all my fingers are crossed we’ll see that drama translate to the fairways, greens, and scorecards. If the results of the Las Vegas Challenge are an omen of what’s to come, then I’d be willing to bet the Memorial is going to give us another great show this year.

If you want to talk Memorial and Championship then you have to start with Paige Pierce. She is easily the most decorated player in either division when it comes to this tournament. In 2018 she made it to Circle 2 In Regulation 74% of the time (and made 33% of those putts) but even that doesn’t quite match her 75% win rate at this event. She’s played eight times and won six of those showings. I caught up with Paige a few weeks ago to hear how her off-season went and how she’s preparing for the 2019 Pro Tour. You can read that full “Mind of a Champion” interview here.

​The rest of the field are no slouches either, with half of the 31 player field (the largest we’ve seen at this event) within only 30 rating points of Paige, the highest rated player in her division. When it comes to a four-day tournament, 30 rating points is an entirely closeable gap. Realistically, that’s only a handful of throws difference per round at most. Paige Bjerkaas is already coming off an NT win in Vegas where Pierce finished eight throws off the lead. Perhaps 2019 is the year that true parity has arrived in the upper echelon of the women’s game. But as they often say here in New England, “it’s hard saying not knowing,” so we’ll just have to wait and watch.

On the MPO side prepare to see a lead card filled with big arms, but not necessarily the biggest names. Last year Simon Lizotte eked out a 2-throw win over his Discmania Teammate Eagle McMahon. A quick look at his stats from the event will show you pretty much what you expect, the man knows how to throw. 64% birdies, 65% of the time he made Circle 1 In Regulation and of the remaining 35% that didn’t get that close, over 50% of them were in Circle 2 (for an 83% Circle 2 In Regulation). I caught up with Simon last week to chat about the Memorial for his “Mind of a Champion” interview .

​Simon is going to have a lot more competition than just Eagle this year though, even with the 2018 third-place finisher, Nate Sexton, opting out of the event there are still a whopping total of seventy-three 1000-rated, or higher, players signed up for their chance at glory in Scottsdale. A quick read through of the list will show plenty of names with plenty of distance – McBeth, Wysocki, Heimburg, Paju, Jones, Locastro, Gibson, and Gurthie just to name a few. So if you like losing discs in the sky and seeing them bounce next to the basket, then this is the tournament for you.

As you might have already heard, we’re coming back this year with an even bigger media team than last year to provide you with as much coverage as we possibly can. Here is our Media Schedule so you know how to plan accordingly to catch it all:

So until we see you on the live feed Thursday, make the most of those longer and longer days and get out there and play, or at least get those putts in, because tournament season is here and we’re kicking it off in the most iconic style, with the Memorial Championship Presented By Discraft.

This article written by Staff Editor and Writer Zach Podhorzer . All photography credit to Alyssa Van Lanen.