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The Tour Report

May 24 2013

6:42 PM

First Look: Memorial

Tiger Woods came back from four shots down to win the Memorial in 2012. (Condon/PGA TOUR)

By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM contributor

FIELD LIST: The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance

• COURSE: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 7,352 yards, par 72. Built with an eye on significant events, 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.

• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.

• CHARITY: Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which serves as primary supporter of Nationwide Children’s Hospital along with other Central Ohio charities. Additional donations are given to James Cancer Hospital, The First Tee, Central Ohio Junior Golf Association, Fore Hope and others.

• FIELD WATCH: Defending champion Tiger Woods and Masters winner Adam Scott head to Jack’s Place in what has traditionally one of the strongest fields outside a major or World Golf Championships event. Only eight of the top 25 players in this week’s world rankings aren’t entered. … Woods (78) and Vijay Singh (34) head a list of eight players with at least 12 PGA TOUR victories. … Kenny Perry, whose three Memorial wins rank No.2 behind Woods’ five, steps over from the Champions Tour to tee it up again. … U.S. Amateur champ Stephen Fox and Chinese teen Guan Tianlang will play on special invitations. Guan made headlines when he made the cut at the Masters and New Orleans, but took an early exit from the Byron Nelson Championship.

• 72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Tom Lehman (1994).

• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, John Huston (2nd round, 1996).

• LAST YEAR: Aided by a chip-in at No. 16 that recalled old times, Woods overcame a four-shot deficit for a 73rd career win that tied Nicklaus for No. 2 on the PGA TOUR’s all-time list. Woods still trailed Rory Sabbatini by two when he birdied the par-5 15th and then conjured up a shot that left even Nicklaus gushing. From deep rough behind the 16th green, Woods risked coming up short with a rolloff away from the hole, or going long into the water. Instead his flop shot had just the right touch, landing softly and running into the hole. A closing birdie gave Woods a 5-under 67 and two-shot triumph over Sabbatini and fast-closing Andres Romero.

• STORYLINES: Woods, with four wins in 2013 after his triumph at THE PLAYERS, seeks a sixth Memorial victory that also would be his third in the past five years. He also won three straight Memorials from 1999-01. … The Memorial will serve as a dry run of sorts for upgrades at Muirfield Village in advance of the Presidents Cup. The clubhouse has added an expanded locker room and fitness facility. … Fred Couples, the 1998 champion and U.S. Presidents Cup captain, makes his 22nd Memorial start and first on the PGA TOUR since Hall of Fame enshrinement earlier this month.

• SHORT CHIPS: A Woods victory would complete a second consecutive Arnie/Jack “double” and sixth of his career. Woods picked up an eighth Arnold Palmer Invitational title in March. … Raymond Floyd, winner of four major championships, is this year’s Memorial honoree. His career will be celebrated during Wednesday ceremonies. … Four of the Memorial’s past nine champions have been international players. Before that, just three of the first 27 came from outside the United States. … None of the four players who finished closest to Woods last year – Sabbatini, Romero, Daniel Summerhays and Spencer Levin – are part of this year’s roster.

• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (CBS).

• RADIO: Thursday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m. ET (SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).