Big Jack beats Tiger at Memorial
by Associated Press
The Memorial Tournament is Jack Nicklaus's tournament. He runs the event over the course that he owns and that he designed. Yesterday in the first round, it was definitely Jack's tournament.
Aged 62, and suffering from a sore back that almost forced him to withdraw, Nicklaus posted his lowest round
in this tournament in five years, a 71, one under par to be five shots behind the leader. "It was a heck of a lot of fun," said Nicklaus.
He thrilled the galleries, who would have watched him play even if he'd taken 90. Birdies at four of the last five holes took his name up into the top twenty on the leaderboard. He even managed to eclipse World Number One, Tiger Woods, who has won this tournament the last three years running. A victory here this year would make Woods the first player to win the same tournament four years in a row in 75 years.
Tiger was so angry after three putting the final green for his 74 that he refused to talk to the assembled media, heading instead for the practice ground. Having only hit 9 greens in regulation and thrown in a couple of three-putts, he had much to sort out.
What a change around from the prelude to the tournament in which Tiger won the Deutsche Bank SAP Open in Germany in Monday and as late as Wednesday, talked about his game being "very close" to his record-setting 2002 form, when he won nine regular tour events and three straight Majors.
Back in the world of mortal golf professionals, it was Bob Tway, the lanky Oklahoman who won the US PGA Championship in 1986, who led after the first round. He shot a 7 under par 65 to take a one stroke lead over Stewart Cink and a two shot advantage over Stuart Appleby, who requires a top five finish to qualify for the US Open.
Tway cited the unusually hard and fast conditions as contributing factors towards his excellent start. "Some of the shorter hitters can go ahead and hit driver and get down there," Tway said. "You'd like to be hitting shorter irons to these pins and these greens. I think it probably brings more people into play."
Tway will be looking to emulate his 1989 performance at the Memorial when he ran out the winner. "I hope there isn't a statute of limitations on confidence," he said. "A lot has happened since then."