Jack Nicklaus not a fan of Memorial Tournament date, hopes to revert to prior schedule

One significant change to the PGA Tour’s 2024 schedule was moving the Memorial Tournament back a week so that the top players could play at Muirfield Village and fly straight from there to Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Open.

That means this year’s national championship is bookended by a pair of Signature Events, with the Travelers Championship in Connecticut slated for the following week.

Some golf fans have welcomed this change, as the biggest stars on the PGA Tour will tee it up three weeks in a row.

But others have not, includes Jack Nicklaus, who hosts the Memorial annually.

“When I played, I rarely played a week before any major championship. So I’m asked to be part of putting on a golf tournament in a week that I would never play,” Nicklaus said.

Jack Nicklaus, PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament

Jack Nicklaus speaks to the media ahead of the 2024 Memorial Tournament.
Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA Tour via Getty Images

“That, to me, is the essential part from my standpoint.”

Before the creation of Signature Events, which featured inflated purses and diminished field sizes to combat the rise of LIV Golf, the weeks before majors often featured sleepy fields with the top players practicing and tuning up their games.

But now the Tour has turned those weeks into all-important tournaments. Look no further than last month’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, held the week before the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

The Genesis Scottish Open will serve a similar purpose ahead of The Open Championship in July. Although not a Signature Event, the Scottish Open is a DP World Tour co-sanctioned event, meaning top players from the United States and Europe will play.

Yet, having the Scottish Open directly before The Open makes sense on numerous levels, with logistics topping the list.

Meanwhile, Nicklaus wishes his tournament would return to its traditional spot on the calendar, during the first full weekend of June. That also aligned the first practice round of the week with Memorial Day, the last Monday of May.

Viktor Hovland, PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament

Viktor Hovland shakes hands with Jack Nicklaus during the final round of the 2023 Memorial Tournament.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

“From a sponsor’s standpoint, Memorial Day has been what our name is, and we were around Memorial Day,” Nicklaus said.

“[Monday] is normally a huge day gallery-wise for us because it was Memorial Day, and we had maybe a thousand people here yesterday.”

Nicklaus then said he agreed to this schedule change as a favor to the PGA Tour.

“We’re going to have a good tournament this week either way, despite all the different things,” Nicklaus added.

“We did that as a favor, and the Tour asked us to do that, and we said yes. So we’ve always been a supporter of the Tour. We want to continue to support what is best for the TOUR, but we also want to support what’s best for the Memorial Tournament. So [the future] is to be determined.”

The 2025 PGA Tour schedule has yet to be released. If it follows last year’s precedence, the Tour will likely unveil it during the FedEx Cup Playoffs in August.

Whenever it comes out, one thing fans will look for first is when the 2025 Memorial Tournament will take place. Perhaps it returns to when Nicklaus wants it. But knowing how important these Signature Events have become, the Memorial will likely remain where it is—leading into the U.S. Open, much to the Golden Bear’s dismay.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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