Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Sorry, Tiger fans: Memorial sold out

By Malcolm C. Knox
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Anyone who didn't watch in person as Tiger Woods won the last two Memorial tournaments, probably won't get to this year, either.

        No tickets are available for the Dublin, Ohio, tournament, May 31 through June 3, at the Muirfield Village Golf Club. That's nothing new, tournament director Dan Sullivan said. The tournament has sold out for more than a decade.

        The previous year's ticket-holders get the right of first refusal before tickets are offered to a waiting list that includes about 1,000 names. Having Woods bolsters demand.

        “People have become much more passionate about golf,” Sullivan said. “He creates a buzz that golf has not seen since Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. I'd say right now (Woods) is the biggest star in sports.”

        The Memorial annually draws an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 fans per round, but the tournament added extra space for spectators this year on holes Nos.5, 7 and 15.

        The tournament has issued more than 400 media credentials, some from as far away as Japan and Australia.

        The most visible effect of Woods' playing in the tournament reflects his celebrity status.

        “Without a doubt, there's an increase in police presence because of Tiger's popularity,” Sullivan said.

        The Memorial, founded by course designer and tournament host Nicklaus, honors a player who has contributed greatly to the game. This year the tournament will recognize Payne Stewart, who won three major tournaments and played in five Ryder Cup tournaments. Stewart died in a plane crash Oct.25, 1999.


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