DUBLIN, Ohio – This week’s Memorial Tournament is Charles Howell III’s 17th start in the event. Actually, it’s his 18th start at Muirfield Village, counting last week’s add-on tournament, and it’s a familiarity he embraces.
“I feel like I’m a non-resident junior member here at Muirfield,” he joked Thursday at the Memorial. “From a member’s point of view, they definitely firmed things up today quite a bit more than I thought they could.”
The faster and firmer conditions didn’t seem to be a problem for Howell on Day 1 after he opened with a 3-under 69 to grab an early share of second place.
Thursday’s round marked just the fourth time he’s started his week at the Memorial with a card in the 60s. In fact, Howell doesn’t have a top-10 finish at Muirfield Village and he’s managed just three top-25 finishes in those 17 starts at Jack’s Place.
So why come back year after year?
“I love the golf course. I love being here,” he said. “I might have first fallen in love with the milkshakes here and then the golf course was really close behind. But I love it here.
“I remember the first year I came here, I played with Gary Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus, and it was a day I still remember … [Jack] walking me around it and what he was doing and his thoughts and design. I’ve just loved it ever since.”