On Location at The Memorial – Tuesday

The Memorial Tournament has begun near Columbus, OH and I’m in the audience. As proof, I offer these pictures.

I’m on location this week near Columbus, OH to watch The Memorial Tournament, a tournament Jack Nicklaus has attempted to craft into his very own Masters tournament. There’s the course, a 7300-yard test with small greens, a meandering stream, hills left and right (and fore and back), and a 165-yard 12th hole over water to a diagonal, peanut-shaped green. There are the caddies, who all wear white overalls. There are the trash bags, all tents, and the course conditions – green, green, and green. There’s even the name of the club at which the tournament is played – “town name” Golf Club (I guess Jack forgot the word ‘National’). Nicklaus, winner of six Masters, has created a tournament that draws big fields, I’ll give him that. But The Memorial is no Masters.

Heck, it may not even be a PGA Tour stop after this year… but more on that tomorrow.

Memorial Jack Nicklaus Waist

The gates from public parking dump spectators near the sixth tee. I watched Bill Haas, son of Jay (who competed last week at the Senior PGA Championship and has followed me to Columbus to play this week, too) finish the fifth hole and tee off on the sixth with James Driscoll and Kevin Na.

Memorial Bill Haas
Bill Haas, son of Jay, signs autographs after finishing the fifth hole.

Memorial Kevin Na
Kevin Na, a peapopper by normal standards, appears astoundingly short next to Driscoll and Bill Haas.

As I made my way to the twelfth green, I saw Vaughn Taylor practicing bunker shots on the 13th green. I stopped, chit-chatted with him about his year, wished him well, and continued on. Vaughn, one of the more promising young rookies on the PGA Tour, is hoping to play a bit better and has been working on overcoming a bit of a sophomore slump.

Memorial Vaughn Taylor
PGA Tour sophomore Vaughn Taylor practices out of one of Muirfiled Village Golf Club’s many bunkers.

The twelfth, Jack’s not-so-subtle tribute to Amen Corner’s apex, has a large hillside beyond the green that makes for perfect viewing. Tuesday at Augus, errrr, Muirfield Village brings a special Pro-Am. Eighteen pros tee off on holes 1-12 in a shotgun start. Starting at the twelfth, Davis Love III birdied, as did Adam Scott behind him.

Memorial Adam Scott
Adam Scott was the second of the first three pros to birdie the par-3 12th.

Todd Hamilton, third to the tee, birdied as well, making the pros three for three. When Tiger Woods stepped to the tee, why, nobody doubted that he’d make it four for four.

Memorial Tiger Woods Teeshot
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot from the photogenic twelfth hole at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Tiger didn’t disappoint, hitting his tee shot to within three feet after nearly flying his ball in the hole on the fly. Upon reaching the green, Tiger joked with his playing partners and, eventually, made the putt.

Memorial Tiger Woods Pregnant
Is Tiger showing Stevie Williams how Elin will look in eight months?

Memorial Tiger Woods Happy

Chris DiMarco, second at the Masters to Tiger, followed Tiger to the twelfth and managed to two-putt from 15 feet, breaking the string of birdies. Luck, as at Augusta, does not seem to be with The Claw here at Muirfield Village.

Memorial Chris Dimarco

Mark O’Meara came through, and then Jerry Kelly came by. As I was leaving the course, Kelly teed off on the sixth hole and then hopped the fence. Apparently, he knows the owners of the course near the fifth green and sixth tee, or at least had an opinion about the pool they were building. His pro-am partners teed off without the assistance – or eye – of their pro. I can only hope that Kelly returned to the golf without taking a swim…

Memorial Jerry Kelly
Jerry Kelly, seen here playing golf and not taking a dip in someone’s pool.

Stephen Ames came through, and so did Jay Haas, who couldn’t best the shots of his two amateur partners. Then Stewart Cink put a shot to 15 feet and, after watching his playing partner just miss, drilled the birdie. The guy may look silly putting with that belly doohickey, but he sure holes ’em!

Memorial Stewart Cink

After Mike Weir came through, Stuart Appleby followed Stewart Cink. One of the caddies was a very attractive woman, and I’ve included Stuart’s picture for no other reason. Later, Ernie Els would play in a foursome with a woman amateur (she dunked her tee shot).

Memorial Stuart Appleby
Sorry, guys, this caddy is spoken for. Check the left hand.

Brad Faxon holed a birdie putt, and then Vijay Singh stepped to the tee. After Tiger put his ball to three feet, well, what was the #1 Player in the World to do but get inside that? He did, putting his ball to two feet.

Memorial Vijay Singh Holing Putt
Vijay, seen here putting for birdie from a scant two feet, still couldn’t better his amateur partner.

The next tee shot, from one of Singh’s amateur partners, got inside Singh’s ball and came to rest about a foot from the hole. A career shot if ever there was one, the amateur would go on to win the closest to the pin competition by a good five feet.

Memorial Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh, his caddie, and two of his amateur partners. One of them put his tee shot to a foot within a minute of Singh’s marvelous shot to two feet.

Ernie Els, the third-ranked player in the world, came to the tee looking to better the tee shots of Tiger Woods (3′) and Vijay Singh (2′). He could not, and in fact wouldn’t even birdie the hole after putting his ball on the back left edge of the green.

Memorial Ernie Els
Ernie Els hits two shots left, including this putt, at the par-3 twelfth.

After Jim Furyk came through, it was time for the main pairing. Tournament host Bobby Jon, errrrr, Jack Nicklaus, came to the tee. Jack went at the ball with his characteristic swing, but the ball was headed for the front edge. The ball, as if guided by one of those Angels in the Outfield, took a member’s bounce through the rough short of the putting surface and rolled to two feet. After walking to the green, Jack checked the closest-to-the-pin sheet and asked the crowd if he had, indeed, been outdone by an amateur.

Memorial Jack Nicklaus Talking
Nicklaus, with playing partner, approaches the green.

Memorial Jack Nicklaus Standing
Jack Nicklaus, host of The Memorial Tournament, is outdone by an amateur once again.

Tomorrow, well, I’ve got absolutely no plan at all. Stay tuned, though, as I’ll get to the bottom of one story, one way or another. Oh, and sunscreen. I must remember the sunscreen.

Photo Credits: © 2005 Erik J. Barzeski/The Sand Trap .com. All rights reserved.

5 thoughts on “On Location at The Memorial – Tuesday”

  1. Pingback: NSLog();
  2. Erik: Great pictures and blow-by-blow coverage. Do you think Ernie almost airmailed the greens because he just switched to the Project X shafts in his irons? Inquiring minds must know!

  3. Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D), 75-300 lens. I shot most of the day in manual mode, but some of the better pictures came from using the sports pre-set mode mainly due to the tracking auto-focus feature it has that I forgot to turn on. The harsh glare of the water behind the players made getting good lighting on the golfers tough, too, and very few of them looked back at the crowd much.

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