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Jack Nicklaus doesn’t like Memorial bumping up against the U.S. Open

2024 Memorial Tournament

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jack Nicklaus has a message for anyone wondering why the Memorial Tournament moved off its traditional date closer to Memorial Day, and whether it might someday move back.

“That discussion (with the PGA Tour) is in process,” Nicklaus said Tuesday at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Translated: Nicklaus is not thrilled that the tournament he founded and has hosted since 1976 is bumping against next week’s U.S. Open.

“We would prefer the other week,” Nicklaus said, meaning two weeks before the U.S. Open, which before the switch this year was the tournament’s spot on the tour schedule for decades. The RBC Canadian Open filled that spot this year. “We are here this week because the tour asked us to help them out. They said they had a thing they wanted to do, and what the players asked for, and we said yes, but that we would review it after this tournament.

The “thing” the tour wanted, and pushed by top players, was bunching of the higher-money, limited field events such as the Memorial to make travel and scheduling around major championships more logistically friendly. The Memorial immediately precedes the U.S. Open while the Travelers, one of eight signature events, follows immediately after the national championship.

Memorial: Best merchandiseLeaderboard | Photos

The tour also wanted to schedule non-signature events in consecutive weeks, both so they did not get left in the wake of the more lucrative events and to give players opportunities through the “Swing Five” format to gain enough points to qualify into the signature tournaments.

Nicklaus understands the reasoning, but is not all-in with the result, at least when it comes to the Memorial. For one thing, the Golden Bear finds it somewhat hypocritical to expect the top players to show up in Dublin the week before a major championship when he seldom did so during his playing days.

“I would rarely play a week before a major championship,” he said. “So I’m asked to be putting on a golf tournament that I would never play, and that is the essential (issue) from my standpoint.”

2024 Memorial Tournament

The 2024 Memorial Tournament trophy on the first tee as Andrew Putnam tees off during the first round of the 2024 Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. (Photo: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch)

But not the only issue. Nicklaus pointed out that Monday attendance at the Memorial, which was decent when the event was played the week of Memorial Day, dropped this…


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