They play for money and they play for trophies and they play for prestige and even history. But how often does a professional golfer get to play for a memory?The 120 players who will tee it up in next week’s 38th edition of the Memorial Tournament will certainly be competing for a great prize and prestige. But the winner also receives an indelible memory – a congratulatory handshake from legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, the Tournament Founder and Host. That’s what’s on the line next week at Muirfield Village Golf Club when the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance begins May 30.
Tournament week begins May 27 with a full slate of activities leading to the competition. One of the great weeks in all of golf includes the annual celebration of one of the game’s great figures. This year the Memorial honors Raymond Floyd, a four-time major champion whose accomplishments also include the 1982 Memorial Tournament title.
In addition to the Memorial Honoree Ceremony that takes place at the practice facility at 3 p.m., patrons will be treated to a full slate of events scheduled for Wednesday, May 29, starting with the Nationwide Invitational at the Memorial, the official Pro-Am of the Tournament, at 8:30 a.m. The Jack Nicklaus Clinic, located at the practice facility, is at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday also plays host to Military Appreciation Day. Patrons with an active, retired or spouse (includes immediate family) military ID receive complimentary admission to the Tournament. Junior golf fans receive complimentary admission with a ticketed adult on Wednesday as a part of Junior Golf Day. All youth 18 years of age and under receive a free junior ticket, which was designed by a young Tournament fan. A fun-filled Wednesday is capped off with the Tournament’s annual Junior Golf Clinic, held in the evening at 5:30 at Safari Golf Club across from the Columbus Zoo.
Enhancing the Memorial Tournament experience are several fan engagement initiatives.
For the first time in golf, a 360 degree photo will be taken of crowds at the Memorial Tournament with the Nationwide GalleryCam! Be there and then tag yourself in the photo to share via social media. For more information, including dates and times visit www.thememorialtournament.com/nationwidegallerycamTwo new on-course Social Media activation locations are available to patrons this year. The Memorial’s Digital Hubs open on Tuesday, May 28, and are located in the heart of the action between the 14th and 18th fairways and between the 6th green and 7th fairway. The Digital Hubs are the official on-site venues for Social Media officially released by the Memorial Tournament, featuring special guest appearances, Tournament content and trivia via all new Touch Screen kiosks, on-course contests, tablet and smartphone stations, Tournament coverage and more.The Nationwide Digital House returns beginning Wednesday, May 29, and is located near the Tournament’s Patron Information Center adjacent to the practice facility. It is an excellent compliment to the Tournament’s Digital Hubs and features: Nationwide social media streams, giant screen running aggregated Twitter Feeds, exclusive interviews with golf personalities and more.Additional initiatives include: XM Radios with added FM band to follow the Tournament action compliments of Nationwide Insurance; the Memorial Tournament iPhone and Android app with access to an interactive course map, live scoring, contests, Tournament updates and more.
One of the strongest fields in golf is set to descend on Muirfield Village, led by world No. 1 Tiger Woods, whose enjoyed that memorable handshake with Jack Nicklaus five times. Woods returns after winning the 2012 Memorial by two strokes over Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero. Thanks to a miraculous chip-in for birdie on the 16th hole in the final round, Woods carded a closing 5-under-par 67 and 9-under 279 winning aggregate score.Woods isn’t the only past winner in the field. In fact, the field is populated with players who have enjoyed success at Muirfield Village, including Champions Tour players Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman and Fred Couples. Perry is a three-time winner, while Lehman won in 1994 and still holds the Tournament record with his 20-under 268 aggregate total. Couples, the U.S. Presidents Cup captain, won in 1998, and his presence will serve a second purpose given that the Presidents Cup will be held at Muirfield Village Golf Club this fall.
Other former winners of Jack’s Tournament returning include: K.J. Choi, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Carl Pettersson, Justin Rose, Vijay Singh and Steve Stricker.
Nationwide Insurance returns for its third year as presenting sponsor of an event that supports Nationwide Children’s Hospital via an alliance with the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.
Also worth noting is the strong international presence this year. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy leads that contingent, while other top players competing include reigning Masters champion Adam Scott, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, and Retief Goosen. Westwood, No. 12 in the world, is playing for only the second time; he last competed at Muirfield Village in 2003. He and Donald are former No. 1-ranked players in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Two amateurs also grace the entry list: U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox, and the Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old sensation from China who has made the cut in two previous PGA TOUR events, one of them the Masters Tournament.
In all, seven of the top-10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are among the 120-man field, including, in order the top 5 of Woods, McIlroy, Scott, Rose (the 2010 winner), and Brandt Snedeker. They will be joined by No. 6 Donald and No. 10 Stricker, who won the 2011 Memorial.
For news and updates on traffic and parking, plus the latest on the Tournament scoring and other developments, please visit the Tournament website at www.thememorialtournament.com. Fans can also follow the Memorial’s social media channels: Twitter – @memorialgolf; Facebook – www.facebook.com/thememorialtournament; Instagram – MemorialGolf.