DUBLIN, Ohio – With a thick, Midwest humidity enveloping Muirfield Village Golf Club, a walk on the practice range revealed a few intriguing sights:
• Rarely do golfers at this level tear themselves away from their own little worlds to pay attention to peripheral matters, but Seve Ballesteros ranks an exception to the rule. The man remains magical, even more to colleagues who appreciate the wizardry he possessed. This year’s Memorial Tournament honoree, Ballesteros is still engaged in a fight against cancer, so he did not attend. But when he was seen via a large JumboTron speaking from his home in Spain, it was duly noted how the players on the range stopped what they were doing and listened. It was the ultimate tribute to a legend.
• Kevin Johnson at the age of 43 has returned to the Memorial, though you’d be hard-pressed to remember his debut. It was in 1989 when he got invited as a member of the U.S. World Amateur team. His memory from that week? With the tournament played May 11-14, the area actually had a small snowfall the weekend before.
• Having played in this tournament 11 times, Tiger Woods knows the dynamics of Muirfield Village very well. So it was no surprise to see him drive up, park and head right to the far end of the practice range without even registering. He hit balls for a while and then went to the chipping area. No, he didn’t have his caddie, but no need to spread rumors; Steve Williams will be on hand to start work Wednesday.