FACTS ABOUT MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT:
First year played: 1976
Location: Dublin, Ohio
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Most wins Memorial Golf Tournament: 5 wins - Tiger Woods
The Memorial Tournament is one of the most storied events on the PGA Tour and was founded by arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the sport, Jack Nicklaus. The event is held at the picturesque Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, which features a dynamic par-72 course designed by Nicklaus himself. The stroke play tournament is an exclusive event on the PGA Tour, as it is a restricted field event, meaning that only the first 75 players on the previous year's top winnings list are guaranteed invites. The Memorial Tournament began in 1976, boasts a purse of $6.2 million and includes one of the most unique traditions on tour. Each year, before the event kicks off, there is an induction ceremony to honor past golfers and a plaque for each honoree is installed near the Muirfield clubhouse, which is one of the most prestigious honors on the PGA Tour.
Both The Memorial Tournament and Muirfield Village Golf Club were envisioned by Jack Nicklaus, who wished to create a golf course and tournament that could challenge the world's best competitors, but also make each tournament more enjoyable for attendees. The 18-hole course is ranked consistently among Golf Digest's "America's 100 Greatest Courses," and sprawls over 7,221 yards. Nicklaus was one of the first course designers to use mounds and amphitheater seating to improve the spectator experience and his techniques have since been replicated in golf course designs around the world. The first tournament held at the course was the Columbus Pro-Am on Aug. 11, 1975, and the first Memorial Tournament was held there in May 1976. The tournament has grown in prestige over the years and is often considered to be the "fifth major," which certainly brings out the best in the golfers who participate.
In addition to providing a world-class golf experience for golfers and spectators alike, Nicklaus also wished to give back to the community in the form of charitable contributions to a variety of organizations throughout the city of Columbus and greater Ohio to benefit the less fortunate. The tournament has worked with Nationwide Children's Charities for 35 years, as well as Nicklaus' own charity, Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. It's this combination of philanthropy and compelling action on the course that has transformed The Memorial Tournament into a major highlight of the PGA Tour calendar.
The tournament's debut in 1976 saw Roger Maltbie triumph over Bobby Jones in a playoff win, and Nicklaus won his own tournament the following year. Over the course of the event's history, Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Greg Norman and Tom Watson have each won the tournament twice, Kenny Perry has taken home the title on three separate occasions, and Tiger Woods has won the event five times, including the most recent 2012 event. The 2013 tournament will be held from May 30 to June 2, and Tiger Woods is expected to be among the top contenders for The Memorial crown yet again. After starting from humble beginnings, The Memorial Tournament has grown into one of the most famed tournaments on the PGA Tour and is entirely reflective of the extraordinary vision of Jack Nicklaus' desire to combine world-class golf, charitable contributions and a commitment to golf's history into one dynamic event.