Golf

Why Is Jack Nicklaus’ Tournament Called the Memorial?

The PGA Tour returns to Muirfield Village this weekend for the Memorial Tournament, and with it returns a familiar face — Tiger Woods. Woods headlines the most star-studded field since the PGA Tour returned from its three-month hiatus, and golf legend Jack Nicklaus will be there to shake the winner’s hand on Sunday. Nicklaus has hosted the Memorial for over 40 years, but do you know how the iconic tournament got its name?

The storied history of the Memorial Tournament

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The Memorial Tournament is one of the oldest events on the PGA Tour schedule. It’s been held at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio since 1976. From the decadent milkshakes sold at the clubhouse to the winner’s handshake with Jack Nicklaus, the Memorial is one of the players’ favorite stops on Tour every year.

Nicklaus is the founder and host of the Memorial Tournament. It’s the 80-year-old’s favorite week of the year because it’s more than just a golf course for Nicklaus. It’s his baby.

In 1967, Nicklaus purchased a large piece of land north of Columbus, Ohio with dreams of turning it into his own golf course. Seven years later, Muirfield Village was born.

The Memorial held its first tournament in 1976, with Roger Maltbie emerging victorious. Nicklaus actually won the tournament in 1977 and 1984. As the designer of the course, he might’ve had an unfair advantage over the rest of the field.

Since then, legends of the game such as Tom Watson, Greg Norman, and Tiger Woods have won at The Memorial.

Why is it called the Memorial?

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The Memorial is special in more ways than just on the course. Besides the lengthy history and impressive list of champions, The Memorial pays tribute to the legends of the game the way no other tournament does.

Every year the Captains Club recognizes a golfer, living or deceased, for their incredible contributions to the sport. Hall of Famer Nick Price is the 2020 Memorial Tournament Honoree.

“This is such an incredible honor,” Price said when he got the news last year. “When I received the call from Jack I nearly fell on the floor. Obviously, this is a huge thing for me, especially when Jack has been one of my idols for so long. For my generation, Jack was the epitome of what we all wanted to be as golfers, and we just revered and idolized the guy. So, to be the Honoree at his Tournament next year is so special that it’s hard to put into words.”

For retired golfers, getting that call from Nicklaus is one of the biggest honors they can receive.

The 2020 Memorial features the best field since the PGA Tour returned

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Golf has been a delightful watch at the forefront of sports returning to normal. In the few weeks since the PGA Tour restarted, we’ve seen playoff finishes, the arrival of the next superstar in Collin Morikawa, and beefy Bryson Dechambeau making Tour courses look like mini golf tracks.

And now we get the return of Tiger Woods and the most impressive field yet. The 2020 Memorial Tournament will feature 43 of the top 50 golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings. There will be a major championship feel at Muirfield Village this weekend.