Conditions on Thursday were advantageous to everybody. With 17-year cicadas filling the course with a sizzling background buzz, Byrum led the way with a course-record-tying 64. Twenty-two players broke 70, so that a 68, like the one shot by Masters champion Larry Mize, drew yawns. Mize is having no trouble with the demands of celebrity. "I'm recognized once in a while, but I'm not Prince yet," he drawled. "Of course, every time I miss a green, people tell me to chip it in again."
On Friday, Hoch shot his own 64. He split the fairways driving with a metal-headed two-wood and made a passel of 10-footers. A matter-of-fact 31-year-old with a boyish face evocative of Alfred E. Neuman's, Hoch can ride his upright compact swing to prodigious birdie runs. He shot 29 on the front nine during the first round at Colonial. On Friday he expansively said his 32 on the back nine during the opening round at Memorial "easily could have been 27 or 28."
Hoch has spent much of his eight-year career fighting injuries. He has a weak left thumb, and he reinjured his right shoulder slapping high fives after his hole in one at Las Vegas, when he surprised people by asking for the cash value of the Rolls rather than making it the family car for his wife and two small children. "Spilled apple juice and smashed-up raisins don't look very good on white leather seats," he said.
Pooley, on the other hand, didn't question the bounty for his ace—monthly payments of $2,083.33 for the next 20 years—just as he didn't question Hoch's sudden generosity on Sunday. After taking the lead on the ninth, Pooley played steadily while Hoch, Byrum and David Frost of South Africa struggled to catch him. Byrum, playing with Pooley and Hoch, birdied the 15th to tie for the lead but nervously three-putted from 20 feet on 16 to fall back again. Then Pooley slammed the door with birdies on the last two holes.
"I feel like I've had a great career," said Pooley later. "A lot better than I expected to have. I wasn't a great junior player. I wasn't a good college player. I wasn't a good minitour player...."
But that was long ago, and as Old Tom and Young Tom would tell you, remembering the past is what the Memorial is all about.