Move the Memorial

By Rex HoggardJune 6, 2010, 4:56 am
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio – The line of storms stretched from Sandusky to Indianapolis, with sleepy Dublin fixed squarely in the crosshairs. It wasn’t a matter of if the deluge would arrive, it was a question of when?

Jack Nicklaus once joked that the logo for his Memorial Tournament should be an umbrella, although arch-rival Arnold Palmer may take umbrage with that idea. It’s early June and the world’s best are assembled at Muirfield Village which means it must be raining. The old Scottish adage if you can’t see Ailsa Craig from the Turnberry coast it’s going to rain, if you can see the towering rock it already is raining somehow seems apropos at the House That Jack Built.

So far this week there have been six separate weather delays totaling 9 hours of inactivity, and make no mistake the ongoing weather woes are the rule, not the exception, in these parts.
Memorial Tournament
A fan checks out the leaderboard during a soggy Day 3 at Muirfield Village. (Getty Images)
It’s not always like this in central Ohio, but the golf world can be forgiven for thinking it is. Rumor has it the place is idyllic in the fall, great news for the 2013 Presidents Cup, and we’ve been told the forecast improves dramatically as late spring turns to summer.

“Don’t like the weather, wait a couple weeks. It gets a lot better,” said John Cooper, the former Ohio State football coach who has waded through his share of spring practices.

With that we offer a humble suggestion, how does Labor Day work – although the not wearing white thing would unduly handicap front-running phenom Rickie Fowler? Come to think of it, any time after the summer solstice would be a good reason to leave the rain gear at home and play 72.

Any opening, really, that doesn’t require a constant supply of umbrellas and a standing “lift, clean and place” local rule.

The Memorial, of course, has been tied to Memorial Day since 1976, but times, and weather patterns, change. The U.S. Open was once played in August (1920) and July (1921) before making its home in June. Fellow legend Arnold Palmer’s invitational jumped around the Florida Swing for years before settling into the anchor spot.

In fact in 1989 the Memorial, which had historically been played on Memorial Day weekend, was moved two weeks earlier to avoid weather woes only to get rained on, so officials eventually went with the first week of June and we’ve seen how that’s worked out. Point is officials have colored outside the lines before; we’re just asking for a little more imagination.

Tradition is fine, but when the snapshot is swollen rivers and the echoes of weather warning horns maybe it’s time to heed Mother Nature’s call.

Imagine how much better things would be for everyone involved if the Ball-in-Hand Open packed up and moved to the drier confines of late summer, or early fall. The PGA Tour wants to ensure 100 percent participation at the first FedEx Cup playoff event, move it to Muirfield Village. No one, sans the weatherman, says no to Nicklaus.

Short of a date change, the next best option would be to dig the place up and move it to Southern California, away from the spring wash and, if you believe in hexed goats and curses, away from the vengeful wrath of Chief Leatherlips.

Every time the Memorial field is sent scurrying for one of Muirfield Village’s “safe houses” by an approaching storm the locals start popping off about the curse of Leatherlips, who, lore has it, was executed in 1810 by members of his own tribe not far from where Jack built his dream 18.

Leatherlips, it seems, has little interest in the hubbub of tournament week and has therefore cursed the soiree into one of the Tour’s soggiest stops.

Boston Red Sox fans know a thing or two about curses, but if the fix for the Memorial is an 86-year wait ... well, Nicklaus doesn’t have that kind of time.

Not sure what the Tour’s Policy Board would make of Leatherlips’ curse, but cascading sheets of water that made Muirfield Village’s putting green a real water hazard on Saturday speaks volumes.

Call it the Memorial, call it Christmas in August for all we care, but don’t call back until the radar is clear, or you find an umbrella big enough to cover 18 holes and 30,000 fans who deserve better than wash, rinse, repeat.
Getty Images

Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take an four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up once to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made XX birdies and just XX bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentianian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.  

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 8-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman, and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year. 

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th. 

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

Getty Images

McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.

Getty Images

Watch: Rose one-arms approach, makes birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 7:25 pm

Justin Rose appears to have taken a course in Hideki Matsuyama-ing.

Already 3 under on his round through five thanks to a birdie-birdie-birdie start, Rose played this approach from 143 yards at the par-4 sixth.

That one-armed approach set up a 6-foot birdie putt he rolled in to move to 4 under on his round and 14 under for the week, five clear of the field.

Getty Images

McIlroy battles back into tie for BMW PGA lead

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

Rory McIlroy got off to a rocky start on Saturday in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, including hitting a spectator and making a double bogey. But after that incident on the sixth hole, he didn't drop another shot, birdieing the final hole to shoot a 1-under 71 and tie for the lead.

McIlroy had gone into Moving Day with a three-shot lead, but Francesco Molinari had the round of the day, a 6-under 66. "It was nice keep a clean scorecard," said Molinari, who hasn't made a bogey since the 10th hole on Friday.


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy and Molinari will be paired in Sunday's final round. They are tied at 13 under par, four shots clear of Ross Fisher, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield and Alexander Noren.

The Wentworth course ends with back-to-back par-5s, and McIlroy birdied both of them. He got a break on the 18th hole as his drive hit a spectator and bounced into light rough.

"It was a struggle out there today," McIlroy said. "I think when you're working on a few things in your swing and the wind is up and you're stuck between trying to play different shots, but also try to play - you know, make good swings at it, I just hit some loose tee balls on the first few holes. But I'm proud of myself. I stayed patient. I actually - I'm feeling a bit better about myself after today than I was even walking off the course yesterday."