Many of the best players are out in force this week for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, this week. Muirfield Village, of course, is the creation of one Jack Nicklaus, the host.
In 2012, Tiger Woods won the Memorial for the fifth time in his career, which is two more than any other players in the tournament’s history. Furthermore, Woods will be making his first start since winning The Players Championship and – hard as it is to believe – Woods’s four wins thus far in 2013 are the most in any one season he’s ever had in his career heading into the Memorial.
Along with the Memorial, Muirfield Village will also be the venue for the Presidents Cup in the fall, making it the only course in the world to host The Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and The Presidents Cup.
Simply put, there’s never any down time at Muirfield Village. Lucky for us though, PGA Head Professional Larry Dornisch gave us a few minutes for some Q&A.
PGA.com: The Memorial takes place this week and it's one of the most beloved stops for players on the PGA Tour each year. Will the players notice anything different about the course this year? Have there been any changes since last year? It seems as though there's always some kind of a tweak at Muirfield Village.
Dornisch: We took a year off on the golf course. We did some work on drainage and our biggest issue was all the trees we had to remove because of the Ash Borer (green beetles) that killed several hundred trees. The players will notice an “openness" but none of the trees will effect course strategy. As usual, Paul Latshaw and his crew will have the course in impeccable condition.
PGA.com: This is a unique year for you folks at Muirfield Village. Along with putting on the always first-class Memorial Tournament, you'll also be playing host to the Presidents Cup in the fall. How difficult is it to prepare for two prestigious events that are only a few months apart?
Dornisch: It’s a challenge we have embraced and enjoy. It’s an honor to be part of the first club in the world to host The Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and The Presidents Cup. I have been here for the last two. I had a friend in Maine who said, "you can't work all day unless you work all day," so that's what we do. We have the best management team and staff in the golf industry.
PGA.com: Forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but Tiger Woods -- for the fifth time in his incredible career -- is your defending champion. Not only is he the defending champ, but also he comes to Muirfield Village playing some of the best golf of his career. Can you give us your thoughts on Tiger's form this season and returning to the No. 1 spot in the World Ranking?
Dornisch: His accomplishments are amazing! Hard to believe this is the earliest in his career he has ever won four events. We think this is a testament to the Memorial and the course that the greatest players continue to play well here. We are very proud of our former champions and look forward to Tiger being here twice this year. We should have one of our best fields ever.
PGA.com: Of course, we can't talk about the Memorial without mentioning Mr. Nicklaus. Along with Mr. Nicklaus, can you explain how much of a family affair the Memorial has become. Much of the Nicklaus family is involved in the workings of the Memorial, aren't they?
Dornisch: Both Jack and Barbara are very involved. We added to our clubhouse this year and they were both here throughout the process to review the progress. Barbara herself was here placing furniture. Jack Nicklaus III has worked here the last two summers. He is a great young man and attends Florida State University and is in their PGM program. It is a privilege to work for the greatest family in golf.
PGA.com: Last question for you, Larry. What do you enjoy most about working at Muirfield Village?
Dornisch: The best part of working here is the culture of excellence that starts with the Nicklaus family and is carried out by our GM Nicholas LaRocca. I am proud everyday I drive through the gate to be part of something that is very special. I work hard to keep up with the standards set by my coworkers.