Eight of the top 10 players in the world are in Dublin, Ohio, this week -- home of Jack Nicklaus -- for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village.
Outside of the majors, the Memorial is one of the most important events on the PGA Tour each year and a lot of that has to do with its association with Nicklaus.
Before the start of the Memorial, we had a chat with Muirfield Village PGA Head Professional Larry Dornisch, who talked about Nicklaus, identified his favorite hole on the course and told us about the fantastic new practice facility.
PGA.com: Thanks so much for joining us, Larry. Outside of the majors, the Memorial is one of the most special tournaments played each year and -- aside from a great golf course -- the biggest reason for that is Jack Nicklaus. Can you talk a little about Mr. Nicklaus?
Dornisch: Mr. Nicklaus sets the bar for the rest of us. His attention to detail and the high expectations that he has shown in everything he does motivates us to make sure we present the best event possible.
PGA.com: As always, you'll have another incredible field assembled. Last I checked, eight of the top 10 in the world were committed to play. What's the best part about having the world's best players at Muirfield Village?
Dornisch: Columbus is a great sports town and they appreciate good golf. The past champions of this event have either been great players who have won during their career, or first-time winners who have gone on to win other championships.
PGA.com: In 2011, two changes on the course that greeted players were the par-3 16th hole -- very visually intimidating -- and some tweaks to the back right portion of the 14th green to create more possible pin positions. Can we expect to see anything new this year?
Dornisch: There have been no changes on the course this year. Our focus has been the renovation of our practice facility. It's always considered one of the best on tour and now it's one of the best in the country.
PGA.com: What's your favorite hole on the course and why?
Dornisch: Too many holes to pick from, but I would say the second shot on 9 is one I always look forward to and enjoy playing. It's just a great short par 4. You always want to hit a good drive so you have a shot into a smallish green with water on two sides.
PGA.com: Dustin Johnson, who has been one of the brightest young stars on Tour, makes his return at the Memorial after sitting out due to a back injury just before the Masters. Surely he'll need to shake off some rust, but doesn't he fit the profile of the type of player who can win at Muirfield Village? He's long hitting and has a solid overall game.
Dornisch: I think the great thing about the course is it wouldn't surprise me if a great iron player with an outstanding short game like Luke Donald would win, or a long hitter like DJ. This course will identify the best player this week!