COLUMBUS -- What a prelude to the 43rd Memorial Tournament as Wednesday featured the star-studded Pro-Am, its Nationwide Children's Hospital patients champions, its military appreciation and its honoree, Hale Irwin.
The Pro-Am highlighted by the tandem of 5-time Memorial champion Tiger Woods and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Hall of Famers Anthony Munoz, LaDainian Tomlinson and current Carolina Panther Greg Olsen also played together the PGA's Pat Perez. "We NFL guys are certainly out of our comfort zone here," Manning said in a video release issued by Nationwide, the tournament's sponsor.
The patient champions met Woods and Manning and also rubbed shoulders with tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus and Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer. "The way the Memorial and Nationwide work so beautifully together has really been special to witness over the seven years I've been here," Meyer told reporters near the practice green Wednesday morning.
Military service people were afforded the chance to be designated caddies for the pro's. Nicklaus' long-time friend Hale Irwin was this year's tournament honoree. Irwin won 20 times on the PGA tour including three U.S. Opens after an all-conference football career at Colorado.