Jack Nicklaus and Muirfield Welcome The World's Best To The Memorial
Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, is the sight of this weekend's Memorial Tournament.
The golf course built by Jack Nicklaus first held the Memorial in 1976. In addition to the annual tournament every year, Muirfield has hosted the 1986 Junior U.S. Amateur, the 1987 Ryder Cup Matches, the 1992 U.S. Amateur and the 1998 Solheim Cup.
The course, number 16 on Golf Digest's 100 Greatest American Courses, was built on 220 acres in 1974. Muirfield was offically opened on Memorial Day of that year with an exhibition between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. Jack shot a -6 under 66, which stood as the course record for over five years.
The golf course is known for its meticulous maintenance and attention to detail more so than perhaps any course on tour.
The Director of Golf is Paul Latshaw, who has been at Muirfield Village for six years. Certified Golf Course Superintendent Latshaw previously held the same position at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.
Muirfield plays a shade over 7200 yards and has water on 11 of it's 18 holes. There are 71 bunkers on the course. The greens are smallish at an average of 5000 square feet each, and can roll up to 13 on the stimp meter for the tournament.
On the Muirfield website Jack makes the following statement:
"I set out to build not only an outstanding golf course for every level of player, but a magnificent course for watching a tournament.... I thought the Masters was a great thing for golf, and I'd like to do that same thing for Columbus."
In 2008 they tried to toughen up Muirfield a little, but they went a little far. The average score was 74.397.
So last year they cut the rough a little shorter, and also removed the furrowed bunkering they had created to make the course tougher.
In 2009 they also rebuilt the front portions of two greens, number 11 and number 18, to try and keep players from spinning the ball off the front of these greens and back down into the fairway.
Officials liked the results that last year's tournament, won by Tiger Woods, created. Look for a similar golf course in 2010 as we had in 2009.
As mentioned, the defending champions is Woods, who will be back to golf after his layoff to recover from his neck injury (an inflamed facet joint) a few weeks back. Tiger has won the Memorial Tournament four times.
Woods and Phil Mickelson will play in a skins game on Wednesday with Jack and seven others, including Ernie Els and Jim Furyk.
The Memorial field is loaded with most of top names in golf. It comes, of course, just two weeks before the U.S. Open, which will played at Pebble Beach this year. It is the final tournament for most of the world's top golfers before the year's second major.
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