The Memorial Tournament: History of Muirfield Village Ohio's Golf Course

The Memorial Tournament: History of Muirfield Village Ohio's Golf Course

Tyler Vaysman
2 years ago
3 min read
Jack Nicklaus and others ring the bell at Muirfield Village in Columbus, Ohio

In 1966, 26-year old Jack Nicklaus purchased 220 acres of land in Dublin, Ohio right outside his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. 

Nicklaus knew the Dublin land well from his childhood as it was a spot his father took him hunting. With the dream of opening a golf course and recent interest in designing a course, Nicklaus looked to Peter Dye as a mentor and by 1972 was ready to begin.

When the design began, Nicklaus was helped by architect Desmond Muirhead but this is considered Nicklaus’ first design. 

Construction began in July 1972 and was finished in October 1973 and named Muirfield Village. The course was named after Muirfield, Scotland where Nicklaus won the first of three British Opens in 1966. Originally built out as 6,978 yards total, 77 bunkers and 11 water hazards, today, the course has extended the yards to 7,221, reduced bunkers to 71, and kept water hazards at 11. 

The course officially opened on Memorial Day, May 27, 1974 after two years of construction and was kicked off with an exhibition between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf with Nicklaus finishing six under par. His score of 66 was a course record until 1979. The Columbus Pro-Am was the first event held at Muirfield Village on August 11, 1975. 

The First Memorial Tournament

Following another dream of Nicklaus to host a premier tournament like The Masters, the first Memorial Tournament was held at Muirfield Village in May 1976 and was won by Roger Maltbie. He would be quoted saying “Jack emulated many of the things they do at Augusta”.  

Jack Nicklaus won his first Memorial Tournament in 1977. Along with hosting a premier tournament, Nicklaus wanted the tournament to give money to charitable organizations that help people in Ohio. Today, one of the major beneficiaries is Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Jack Nicklaus went on to win one more Memorial Tournament in 1984 for his second and final win in the tournament. Nicklaus is joined by Hale Irwin (two), Greg Norman (two), Tom Watson (two), Kenny Perry, (three), Tiger Woods (five), and most recently Peter Cantlay (two) as the only golfers with multiple Memorial Tournament wins. Beyond the dedication to charity, the tournament features a yearly induction ceremony honoring past golfers where A plaque for each honoree is installed near the clubhouse. Nicklaus was inducted as the 2000 honoree. 

About Ohio's Memorial Tournament

The Memorial Tournament is one of only five tournaments given "invitational" status. With that, the tournament only invites 120 golfers opposed to most PGA tour events that host 156 golfers. Some qualifications that are required for an invite consist of: major championship winner in the last five years or prior to 1997, tournament winners in the past year, U.S. or British Amatuer winner in prior year, Top 50 Official World Golf Ranking as of the Friday before the tournament, and more.

Jack Nicklaus had a dream and fulfilled it by designing and opening Muirfield Village which is considered to be his best to this day. Muirfield Village is considered a world-class golf course and hosts what some consider to be the “fifth major” in the PGA Tour. The 47th Memorial Tournament is set to be held on June 2-5 and is set to be another entertaining tournament with more to continue in the future.

Read our Memorial Tournament 2022 Betting Preview right here! 

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