DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) In four decades of the Memorial, there is no shortage of video highlights.
Another video was grabbing most of the attention on the eve of the opening round – the dash-cam footage from Jupiter, Florida, police on their arrest of Tiger Woods in the early morning of Memorial Day on a DUI charge. Alcohol was not involved. Woods said it was an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine.
Players have been talking about the developments most of the week, mostly out of sadness and surprise, from the jail photo of Woods released on Monday and the police reports on Tuesday that revealed he was fast asleep behind the wheel of his parked car, engine running.
Muirfield Village will get their attention.
It’s one of the purest courses on the PGA Tour, the course that Jack Nicklaus built, and it’s the start of what Adam Scott referred to as the major season. There are nine weeks between the Masters and the U.S. Open, four weeks until the British Open, and then three weeks until the PGA Championship.
And while players typically are occupied with whatever tournament they are playing in front of them, adding to the major feel this time of the year is the U.S. Open qualifier on Monday across the country. Most who aren’t eligible will stay in Columbus. Others will head to Tennessee if they are playing the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Hunter Mahan is going to Dallas because when he signed up, he wasn’t sure he would be at the Memorial.
The LPGA Tour has played five times since its first major, and starting with the ShopRite Classic this week in New Jersey, it has four more tournaments before its next major in the Chicago area for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
The PGA Tour Champions just played back-to-back majors. They have the week off.
The coincidence of the timing involving Woods’ troubles in Florida is that next to Nicklaus, no other player is linked to the Memorial. Woods has won a record five times, the last one five years ago (on a Sunday in which his agent was arrested for DWI in New York).
Woods was a highlight reel at Muirfield Village, from his chip-in behind the 16th green in 2012 that amazed even Nicklaus to the chip-in to escape with a pivotal par on the 14th hole when he won in 1999.
There’s something about big shots in the short game that stand out at the Memorial. One of the most memorable shots was Paul Azinger holing out from a bunker on the 18th hole to beat Payne Stewart.
The Memorial is starting to be known for something else – playoffs.
Not only where the last three Memorial champions first-time winners, they all won in playoffs – Hideki Matsuyama over Kevin Na in 2014, David Lingmerth over Justin Rose in 2015, and William McGirt over Jon Curran last year.
One thing all champions have in common – a handshake from Nicklaus, the tournament host, when it’s over.
There have been two exceptions to that – Nicklaus won in 1977 and 1984.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. (CBS Sports).
In the ongoing battle for No. 1, So Yeon Ryu is going it alone this week at the ShopRite Classic.
Lydia Ko has been No. 1 for 84 consecutive weeks. Ariya Jutanugarn, the LPGA player of the year in 2016, moved up to the No. 2 spot. Neither of them are playing the ShopRite LPGA Classic this week.
Ryu is playing in the course near Atlantic City, and this will be the fourth straight week the South Korean has a chance to rise to No. 1. Working against a victory for Ryu this week is a peculiar trend on the LPGA Tour – it has not had a multiple winner through 12 events this year, the longest streak since 1991. Ryu won the ANA Inspiration.
She won’t have a lot of time to waste. The tournament starts Friday. It’s one of just three 54-hole events on the LPGA schedule this year.
Television: Friday, noon-2 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 2:30-6 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Any tournament held opposite the Memorial is not likely to get two of the top 10 players in the world – unless that tournament is in Sweden, and the country happens to have two players in the top 10.
British Open champion Henrik Stenson leads the way at the Nordea Masters at Barseback, the course along the Straits of Oresund that separates Sweden from Denmark. Joining him is Alex Noren, who won the BMW PGA Championship last week for his fifth victory since July.
Stenson became an honorary member of Barseback in 2007, but he has never won the Nordea Masters. Noren has won it twice.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 5-7 a.m., 9 a.m.-noon (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 7-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel).
Source: Fox Sports