Once a year, thousands descend upon Muirfield to watch the greatest golfers in the world take part in a PGA tournament that was brought here by a Columbus native, who also happens to be one of the greatest golfers of all time. For that week, many central Ohioans live to walk the greens and follow Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson and take their memories with them. Dan Sullivan, the executive director of the Memorial, has memories from every vantage point.
“I’ve probably been to every Memorial except for three in some capacity over the years,” Sullivan says. “I’ve either been a spectator and intern, a bartender or the director.”
An Upper Arlington native, Sullivan was drawn to the Memorial first for a summer job, then as an intern, but never really saw himself sticking around Muirfield for much longer. After graduating from Miami University and receiving an offer to come back to the golf club, he chose to stay in Columbus with Muirfield rather than look for something elsewhere. During Sullivan’s career as director, he has tried to increase the size of the Memorial and make it attractive to a younger generation.
“We realize that when the Memorial started, you had Jack Nicklaus playing in it and bringing in lots of people,” Sullivan says. “That was a different generation, and younger people might not be as attracted now.”
Although having guys like Tiger Woods doesn’t hurt, Sullivan has put programs into place to teach children the game of golf at local schools, and he has scheduled concerts during the week of the tournament to let people know that golf can be relaxed and fun, too.
“It’s just so great to be able to have such a major event in such a great city like Columbus,” Sullivan says. “For that one week every year, we have the attention of the country.”
For more information on the Memorial Tournament go to www.thememorialtournament.com