Nicklaus ready to start tinkering with hole No. 18
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Jack Nicklaus didn’t do anything significant to the golf course at Muirfield Village because all the time (and money) went into the new clubhouse.
His next project inside the ropes appears to be the 18th hole.
Nicklaus thinks it needs to be stronger, and thus slightly longer.
“Every time I look on television, I look down and see all those bunkers along 18 and I don’t think it’s a pretty look,” Nicklaus said, referring to right side of the landing area beyond a walnut tree. “It looks like something I had to do to protect the hole. All the other holes on the golf course are basically played the way they were designed. Eighteen is the only hole where they are able to circumvent the design. They take it over the corner and get it out there.
“To me, the finishing hole needs to be stronger.”
Nicklaus, the founder and host of the Memorial Tournament and Muirfield’s architect, is thinking about adding 30 yards or more to the tee, which would require moving some dirt to fill in part of a creek behind it. But it can be done.
Just maybe not for a few years.
“I think we will eventually, he said.
WHO’LL STOP THE RAIN: There were three suspensions of play due to dangerous weather and thunderstorms in Friday’s second round of the Memorial Tournament. The first lasted 22 minutes, the second 1 hour, 27 minutes and the third ended play at 7:07 p.m. with 42 players still on the course.
It marked the first time since 2001 that a round had been interrupted as many as three times at the Memorial.
Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. with players completing the second round before pairings are drawn up and the third round begins.
DUKE’S DEUCE: In an otherwise normal day, Ken Duke summoned some magic.
The 18th is one of the most difficult holes on the tour. Duke arrived there after teeing off first at the 10th hole. He was 2 over on the day and headed nowhere.
He banged a 320-yard drive through the fairway and into the left rough. From there he had to muscle an iron shot out of heavy rough. He did fine.
Duke’s shot landed pin high and rolled to the back of the canted green before reversing direction, picking up speed, hitting the pin and falling into the cup.
The eagle allowed him to stay right on the cut line. He was even through 12 holes on the day when play was suspended and stood at 3 over.
CALLING SECURITY: Fred Couples was just about to hit his drive on the second tee during Friday’s second round when a cell phone went off in the gallery.
The phone rang again. Security officials scrambled around, looking for the offending party.
Then a woman’s automated voice could be heard saying, “Please leave a message.”
Finally, a marshal turned to one of the volunteers in sky-blue shirts who are charged with preventing spectators from taking pictures or calls with their cell phones.
“Is that one of yours?” the marshal said.
The cell-phone volunteer sheepishly unzipped a fanny pack and pulled out the phone, which had been confiscated from a fan.
A nearby spectator laughed and said, “Throw him out!”
BLEAK BEGINNINGS: Brandt Snedeker has gotten off to a rapid start on the PGA Tour this year, winning at Pebble Beach and finishing in a tie for second at Torrey Pines. He’s second on the money list behind Tiger Woods, with more than $3.3 million in earnings.
But the way he started his round on Friday won’t go into his book of memories.
Teeing off on hole No. 10, Snedeker was 1 over for his first four holes and then went triple bogey, bogey, double bogey to get to 7 over on his round through seven holes.
Fortunately for him, he was able to regroup by playing the next eight holes in 1 under, but that still wasn’t enough to overcome the miserable start.
DIVOTS: Nick Faldo sat down in the grill room and asked for a lemonade. The waiter came back and regretfully informed the CBS analyst and six-time major champion that they were out of the lemonade. “Call Jack,” Faldo said sarcastically. The waiter stared at him. “Call Jack,” Faldo repeated, his grin slightly more evident. Didn’t work. The kid didn’t understand the English accent. “I don’t think we have coljack,” the waiter said. After all that, he found the lemonade. ... The slump for Geoff Ogilvy continues. He missed the cut for the fourth time in his last five tournaments, adding to a stretch earlier this year when Ogilvy missed four straight cuts. The ’06 U.S. Open champion has missed eight cuts this year, the most since he missed 10 cuts in 2003. ... 14-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang had bogeys on six of his first nine holes in a 79 that caused him to miss the cut. ... Players on the main scoreboard in the media center had their national flag next to their name. Branden Grace, from South Africa, had an American flag next to his.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.
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