Exciting lineup for the Memorial Tournament
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2003 the Memorial Tournament | Preview | 27 May 2003
The last two weeks on the USPGA Tour have seen events synonymous with legendary names in golf and this week’s Memorial Tournament is yet another.
Not only is Jack Nicklaus the designer (along with Desmond Muirhead) of the Muirfield Village course in Dublin Ohio, he has been the driving force and inspiration behind the tournament’s success. That he was born and raised in Ohio State gives his role in this event even greater meaning and significance.
Muirfield Village was opened in 1974 and less than two years later it was staging the first edition of the Memorial, with the inaugural event won by Roger Maltbie. It opened as a 6978 yard course but has since been lengthened to 7224. As is the case with just about all courses with some age on them, it has undergone changes in addition to length and in 2000 a series of green modifications were made. Re-contouring figured prominently as part of this process and with the evolution of new more heat tolerant bent grasses, the introduction of Penn G-2 was also undertaken. During the last twelve months Nicklaus made the move to strengthen the par four seventeenth. He added forty yards to its length, recontoured the green and redirected a creek alongside the new green. The last two holes at Muirfield Village will therefore now provide one of the strongest finishes on the PGA Tour.
The quality of the golf course is reflected in the quality of champion produced over the years. In the 27 stagings of the event, it has been won on 20 occasions by major champions including three of the last four years by Tiger Woods. Jim Furyk is the defending champion and was also second to Vijay Singh in 1997.
There are 105 players in this year’s field consisting not only of USPGA Tour players but several players who have qualified by their position on money lists world wide and by winning selected events.
The only two players missing from the top ten in the current world rankings are Phil Mickelson and David Toms. Tiger Woods comes here after a rather ordinary 29th place in Germany and a disappointing last day at the Masters. This will be his last event before the US Open in two week’s time so he will be looking for an improved showing in order that he heads to Olympia Fields in good shape and closer to his peak for the second major of the year.
Ernie Els, after his good showing at Wentworth last week looks to add to his nine consecutive cuts made here. Whether he is ready for such a test so soon after his enforced injury break remains to be seen and, although he has not won here (he was second in 2000), he should do well again. Vijay Singh won the title in 1997 and was second in 1999.
Australasians Steve Allan, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby, Scott Laycock, Stephen Leaney, Peter Lonard, Peter O’Malley, Geoff Ogilvy, Craig Parry, Craig Perks, Adam Scott and David Smail are all entered.