By adding the Memorial to his earlier win at Phoenix, Sutton became the tour's fourth two-time winner for '86 and edged closer to his goals of winning five tournaments in 1986 and ending the year as leading money earner.
And to think Sutton almost didn't make it to Columbus. He spent the early part of the week in Shreveport, working out the details of a divorce from Denee, his wife of eight months. His marital problems may have been a factor in his missing four of eight cuts this spring, and because he wouldn't be able to get to Columbus until later in the week, he considered skipping the tournament. But his mother, Mary Sutton, urged him to play, and Sutton arrived Wednesday night, not having hit a golf ball for three days. His preparation consisted of striking about 125 balls before his round on Thursday morning. But Sutton had been gaining faith in his putter since firming his left wrist and relaxing his right hand on his stroke. Most important, he said that coming to terms with his impending divorce "eased my mind some."
Sutton used his compact swing, the finish of which makes him look like he just lined a single to center, to hit greens like a machine over the first 50 holes. Suddenly on the 15th hole of the third round, he eagled and followed with two birdies to break out of a seven-way tie for the lead. Even though no one ever got closer than three shots again, Sutton maintained his steely glare until he made a 25-footer for par on the 72nd.
It is Sutton's powerful presence as much as his considerable game that has prompted many to pick him as golf's next superstar. But Prince Hal admits those lofty expectations didn't do his game any good, and "I don't even think about that stuff now."
While Sutton was cleaning up at the Memorial—his first-place money was $100,000—Nicklaus was doing the same. Barbara Nicklaus confided that both Jack and caddie Jack Jr. came home from each round with pockets full of litter they had picked off the fairways. The Memorial is Nicklaus's monument to golf, and he would like nothing better than to see the tournament eventually become the fifth major. After barely making the cut at Houston just two weeks ago, he set out to be a most inhospitable playing host at Muirfield Village.
Jack Grout, his golf instructor since boyhood, and teaching pro Phil Rodgers fine-tuned his swing on Wednesday. And Nicklaus's giant-headed putter, which he protects with its own knitted cover, is helping its owner roll back the years. As he worked on his swing on the practice tee at dusk on Saturday (the last pro there, of course), Nicklaus directed a small crowd's attention to 24-year-old Jack Jr., who was hitting balls next to him and who plans to turn pro after this year's U.S. Amateur. "Don't look at me," he said. "Don't look behind you. There's the future. Look to the future." Then he paused before adding, "All I'm looking forward to is 20 more years of golf."