Maybe we don't call the Memorial Tournament the "fifth major" anymore, but host Jack Nicklaus still attracts a murderer's row of talent, which makes this week's Tour stop more than just a U.S. Open warm-up.
The festivities will start in earnest Wednesday with a skins game between the biggest names in golf, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
The Golf Channel has all the details:
Tournament host Jack Nicklaus will compete with nine of the biggest names on the PGA TOUR – a field that boasts 41 major championship titles – in the Memorial Skins Game presented by Morgan Stanley. This year, 10 players – instead of the usual 8 – will form two fivesomes that will challenge each other in two, nine-hole skins games for a charity purse of $100,000. All players will wear microphones during the telecast.
The first group will include Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Sean O’Hair, Kenny Perry and Ernie Els. The second group will feature Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker.
Golf Channel will televise the matches live Wednesday from 1-4 p. m. ET. A replay will air from 8-11 p.m. ET. Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo will call the action.
Sounds like a lot more fun than watching a pro-am. Arnie versus Yardage Books USA Today's Steve DiMeglio looks at the history of yardage books in golf, which is more interesting–and more recent–than you might imagine.
According to DiMeglio, Jack Nicklaus popularized yardage books on Tour in the early 1960s. Initially some players thought that books detracted from the skill of judging distance, including Arnold Palmer.
"I suppose if I had been a ruling body I would have made them illegal. I would have made players play by feel and memory and eyesight," Palmer says. "And what happened is they slowed down the game. Did I approve? It wasn't a question of approving. It was more of a question of doing what you had to do to compete. I didn't have much choice but to go along."
Now if we could only get Palmer to lead the charge against range finders. Woods biographer says Stevie was in the dark There's lots of good stuff in Geoff Shackelford's interview with Tiger Woods biographer and Fox Sports writer Robert Lusitech, but the most interesting is Lusitech's assertion that caddie Steve Williams knew nothing about Woods' secret life.
I think Steve was very disappointed in Tiger's nocturnal activities. Steve's a very professional, straight shooting type of character and the Tiger he knows is, too, so their relationship definitely suffered in the wake of the sex scandal. Add to that Steve's concern that he was being painted as either a fellow partyer or an enabler when he was neither. Tiger kept him in the dark for a number of reasons, some to do with the fact that Steve's wife and Elin are good friends.
Stray Observations A few items we noticed while wondering if Dr. Anthony Galea could prescribe something for this rash…
There's a guy in Padraig Harrington's entourage whose job it is to monitor the boss's urine. Suddenly, sitting in an office all day doesn't sound so bad. (Via The Irish Independent)
About 3,000 Haitian earthquake refugees are still living at the former Petionville Golf Club, the site of what used to be Haiti's only course. (Via The Miami Herald)
It's never a bad time to list the reasons you love golf. The New York Times' Bill Pennington made his list on Saturday. (Via The New York Times)
The controversy over Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin saying Woods wouldn't be an "automatic" pick for the team (and Jack Nicklaus' subsequent observation that Pavin might need a brain scan) blew over a little too quickly for our tastes. Thanks to USA Today's Christine Brennan for jumping into the fray and defending Pavin. (Via USA Today)