The Memorial Tournament. Schartzel Leads.

Charl Schwartzel leads The Memorial Tournament after the first round at the Jack Nicklaus Muirfield Village Golf Course, in Dublin Ohio.

Updates from Muirfield

Charl Schwartzel / Greenwood / Getty Images

Charl shot a first round of -7 under par 65, to lead The Memorial Tournament by two shots from Scott Piercy. Charl will be returning to Muirfield Village in October, with the Presidents International Cup Team, and after the advice Captain, Nick Price gave him today before tee-off, Charl will be all ears again. Nick had advised him to change his grip on the putter:

” I thought I’m going to do what they say and go back to a normal grip, and it just didn’t feel very comfortable. It felt really shaky. I switched back to my finger down the shaft and sort of changed the ball position like Mark said and that felt comfortable. As you know, putting is all about comfort at the end of the day. The birdie on the last definitely will make my evening a lot better.”

Second placed Scott Piercy owes his -6 under par 66 to not hitting too many drivers;

” I’ve hit a lot of drivers and kind of pounded down golf courses, and I haven’t had much success here doing it. I thought I’d hit a lot of 3-woods today and open up the fairways and allow me to get some pins and knock them on the greens and make some putts. Maybe I’m getting older. I’ll take 66 all the time, though, it’s just learning how to play golf courses. I can hit it over almost all the corners here. But I have to hit a perfect golf shot and if I don’t I’m not in a very good spot. With the wind blowing as hard as it has been, I think it dried the golf course out. I was hitting the 3-wood 290 to 310, depending on how hard it was going. So I was still hitting a short enough iron where I felt like I could still attack rather than hitting 3-wood, 5-iron or 3-wood, 6-iron. I still had 3-wood, 9-iron, 3-wood, 8-iron. It seems like golf courses, when I succumb to it, I play well at those golf courses.”

Third place is being shared by four players, all at -5 under par, they are; Josh Teater, Russell Henley, Kyle Stanley and Charlie Wi.


Presidents Cup, Freddie asks Big Jack for Help

Jack Nicklaus   

Jack Nicklaus                                                                            Freddie Couples

Presidential Cup Captain for the U.S. team Fred Couples had  asked the mighty Jack Nicklaus  the 18-time Major championship winner, to be an assistant captain on the American side for the Presidents Cup on Oct. 4-6, 2013.

Big Jack had to decline the offer, due entirely to his responsibilities as Host of the tournament at Muirfield. Jack just wants to be a cordial, not involved and unhurried host for the event at the course he designed.

“Freddie paid me a nice complement by his suggestion, it was very thoughtful of him. I would love to, but I simply can’t. I have duties as host, so that would not be the right thing to do.”

Jack Nicklaus is a four-time U.S. captain in the Presidents Cup, and  didn’t take Freddie  seriously when he first proposed the idea. But Freddie  was very serious.

“I wasn’t joking about it, when we were here at Muirfield Village last night, I said; Could I pick him? A couple of guys from the Tour said, ‘Yeah, he would love that.’ And then a couple other guys; maybe one pretty high up there said, He’s hosting the thing, he can’t do that. Then Jack winked at me and said, But I can be in your team room all you want.”

International captain Nick Price and Freddie Couples are friends, Nick joked about Freddie’s laid-back appearance;

“One thing you’ve got to be careful with Fred with his laid-backness, he wants to win as much as anybody. Even though he looks like he’s about to fall asleep on the golf course. I’m trying to figure out how we as the International Presidents Cup team can get that same buzz that the Europeans got on Sunday at The Ryder Cup.”

The Presidents Cup has taken on an enormity of it’s own, now that the Americans have lost the Ryder Cup, could they lose both tournaments in the same year ? Given the American dominance in this tournament it is unlikely, but; on Sunday the Americans were 200-1 on, to win the Ryder Cup, could lightning strike twice?

Jack Nicklaus, Host of the Memorial Tournament, presented by Nationwide Insurance.

Jack Nicklaus, is the host this week, for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, presented by Nationwide Insurance. These are some of his comments at the news conference.

He was initially asked if he would like to make a couple opening remarks. This is what Jack had to say about his great tournament and great golf course;

Well, opening remarks, opening remarks. Anything else?                                                                                                                                                       No, I think, first of all, welcome. Nice to have you all here again. Secondly, when they talk about the golf tournament, the golf tournament is; the golf course is good, as it always is. Paul Latshaw and his crew have done a good job, as usual. We all had an early spring, as you know, and we popped a little poa annua out there, but that’s; outside of having to look a little bit at it, it doesn’t affect anything as it relates to golf. But the golf is really good.”

“I think we’ve got an opportunity for the first time in a long time, and I think we’ll probably have for the next two days anyway, pretty fast conditions. Right, Paul? Which is one out of every 20 years we get fast conditions this time of year. But I think that’s good for the golf course. It’s good for the tournament. It’s good to see these guys play the golf course rather than in a soft fashion.”

“But there’s another reason why the golf course is fast. Paul has put, what, nine miles of drainage in it? About nine miles of drainage into the golf course over the last four years. Even when we have rain now the golf course drains very, very rapidly.”

“The 16th hole, which we did a year ago, has matured nicely. It plays well. The green obviously last year was a new green, so it’s probably a little firmer than what the others are now. It’ll still play quick because it was designed to have the green run away from you, so the guys will say maybe it doesn’t hold as well. Well, it does hold as well, it’s just my sight that gets in there, having the green designed away. But anyway; and then the driving range, which I don’t know whether you’ve seen it or not, but the driving range, if it isn’t state of the art now, I don’t think it’s ever going to get state of the art. It’s pretty good. They spent a lot of time on it last fall. We changed our east chipping green, took that out and put it over; put two greens over on the west side, and we took the tees all around. We reoriented the practice tee.”

“The biggest problem we worried about over time was; first of all, the thing that started us to do the driving range was the drainage. If you went out there, and when they did it, Paul has got a little book, I’m sure he’ll be happy to show it to you if you want to see it, of the balls he found out there, Ryder Cup matches, Solheim Cup matches. You wouldn’t believe what was buried out there under the soil where it was wet. Anyway, the drainage started it, and then we decided we wanted to make sure we contain the ball. Our driving range before was 286 yards straight ahead down from where the master tee was, so we moved it around to the left and now we’re 318 yards going up from that tee to the end, and we raised the east tee up high and put a barrier behind it for people walking in. Bubba may hit it over it, but he’s got to pop it pretty good. But anyway, it’s really nice, got some great target greens, some bunkers. It’s really nice.”

“We’re getting ready to do after; you’ve seen the hole over here at the outside of the players’ entrance. There’s a hole over there which is the start of a cart barn fitness center, and we’re changing; and then we start the week after the tournament, doing a total renovation of the clubhouse and the clubhouse will be ready for next year.”

“We’re doing a lot of different things here that we think are interesting. The hospitality has changed here. The hospitality has moved from, not moved, but we used to have the CBS compound between 10, 18 and 14, and that compound has been moved out over to the Country Club, and we ended up creating hospitality in that area over there.”

“It was kind of funny, I went down to Augusta this year, and I went over and saw how nice the Berkman’s Place thing they did behind No.5. I thought, that is really neat. They’ve really done a great job with that. What a great way to utilize an area and create some hospitality. I came back here and told our guys, Guys, we need to do something like that. They said, Jack, you approved it at the last board meeting. I said, What? Yeah, we went through it last board meeting. Before you knew about Augusta we approved it. I said, Aha, I knew we had good ideas here.” (Laughter.) “Anyway, we did that, and that’ll actually be a nice addition to it.”

“The field is excellent, as you know. We always have a good field. I guess that’s enough opening remarks.”

Sounds like the guys at Muirfield Village have been pretty busy, I am certain the tournament will benefit from all the up grades, looking forward to it.