We had the West Coast Swing, The Florida Swing, The Masters, and the second half of the Texas Loop along with Memorial Day. Now it’s time to get the Summer Golf Season underway. What better place to do that than at The Memorial in Dublin Ohio? The summer season kicks off with the Memorial at the historic Muirfield Village Golf Course, and ends with the PGA Championship which will be played this year at The Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester New York.
I love this time of year because the PGA Tour visits many of the older historic venues, largely in the Eastern part of the country, where there is a premium on shot making rather than pure power. Beautiful old club houses steeped in golf tradition. What could be a better place to begin this journey than Muirfield Village?
Rather than tell you about it, let’s let the Host, Jack Nicklaus give it a shot! Jack didn’t win the inaugural Memorial Tournament back in 1976, Golf Announcer, Roger Maltbie won that one, but Jack won the second one in 1977. He also won his second, and last Memorial in 1984.
Muirfield Village Golf Club, is 7,352 yards, and plays to a par of 72. Jack Nicklaus’ showpiece opened in 1974 and has left an indelible imprint on the Hall of Famer’s hometown. The Memorial remains one of the PGA TOUR’s top “regular” stops, and Muirfield Village was the site of the 1987 Ryder Cup and 1992 U.S. Amateur. The LPGA’s Solheim Cup came to Jack’s Place in 1998, and the Presidents Cup’s arrival in September will make Muirfield Village the only venue to host all three team match-play showcases.
There will be 120 professional golfers tee off on Thursday morning including five time Memorial winner, defending champion, and current FedEx Cup points leader, Tiger Woods. Seven of the top ten golfers on the OWGR will be in this tournament. Rory McIlroy, Brandt Snedeker, Masters Champ, Adam Scott, and all of the 2013 spring first time winners. Other notables in the field are Champions Tour stars, Fred Couples, and three-time Memorial Champion, Kenny Perry.
Most of the European regulars will return to the US and get their preparations in for the US Open. The obvious missing players will be Sergio Garcia, and Graeme McDowell.
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year old Chinese phenom will make a start here along with struggling former star, Camilo Villegas. Because of the abnormal number of first-time winners on tour this spring, we will some rare starts at The Memorial including, Billy Horschel, Charlie Beljan, Martin Laird, Sang Moon Bae, and several others first timers that won a tournament along the way this year.
Tiger Woods won his fifth Memorial last year with a miraculous chip in at the 16th hole as he closed a four-shot deficiet en route to his final victory in the 2012 season The victory tied tournament host Jack Nicklaus for 73 career wins, and Jack said in an interview later that Tiger’s shot on the 16th green was one of the best shots he had ever seen. Even after Tiger made the shot with a lob, down hill and water on the other side, the media continued to ask the question “is Tiger back”? They should have known the answer to that before they asked. But then that’s what they get paid for.
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