Born thirty-two years ago out of Jack Nicklaus’s desire to bring a Masters caliber tournament to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, the Memorial has quickly become one of the most popular tournaments on the PGA Tour. The 105 player invitational field is one of the strongest of the year with all top ten in the World Golf Rankings participating. However the strong field is not the only topic of discussion on the Memorial. The infamous furrowed bunkers are also returning to Memorial as Jack tries to make bunkers true hazards again.
Last year much of the talk about the Memorial centered around the improvised bunker rakes Jack brought in for the tournament. The specially devised rakes have tines every two inches, with every other tine missing. This creates furrows in the bunkers where the ball can nestle down in in the sand making clean contact a dicey proposition. Last year the announcement of the new bunkers rankled many of the players in the field. Defending champion Carl Pettersson commented, "The bunkers were very difficult. If you missed it on the short side, it was almost impossible to get it close." However, overall the 2006 sand save statistics didn’t bear much difference when compared with other tournaments. This year they have created a new term for the furrows, now officially dubbed "rough-raking." Along with a change in title, minor modifications have also been made to the rakes to make the conditions more consistent, Jack Nicklaus said, "This year we’re consistent with the size, and we really — I don’t think the players are going to find it to be a big hazard. . . It puts a little ripple in the sand. Can you get a bad lie? Yeah, you’d be pretty hard pressed, though."
With Phil Mickelson’s convincing win at The PLAYERS Championship combined with his move to swing coach Butch Harmon he is riding quite a bit of momentum into the tournament and is a heavy favorite. Although Tiger Woods has not played up to his high standards recently, his three wins at the Memorial (1999, 2000, 2001) combined with his pension for playing well in difficult tournaments means we can likely expect his name near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. Last year Carl Pettersson won the event by two shots, and has taken a realistic method towards preparing for his title defense, "I’m going to try to approach it just like I would any other tournament, try to go in there and do as well as I can and see what happens." A bit of a dark horse candidate for this week is Masters champion Zach Johnson. Johnson was runner up here last year and has won twice already on Tour this year including the AT&T Classic two weeks ago. In 12 starts this year, Johnson has not missed a single cut.
You can catch TV coverage of the Memorial at the following times:
Thursday: 3:00-6:00 PM EST Golf Channel
Friday: 3:00-6:00 PM EST Golf Channel
Saturday: 12:30-2:30 EST Golf Channel / 3:00-6:00 EST CBS
Sunday: 12:00-239 EST Golf Channel / 2:30-6:00 EST CBS
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WOTW: Viktor Hovland’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Khaki Green
Viktor Hovland successfully defended his Hero World Challenge title this weekend. Hovland fired a final round 69, giving him a 2 stroke win over Scottie Scheffler. After the round, Victor received his trophy from Tiger Woods and on his wrist was a green Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver.
Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Date: 2021 – Present
Case: Stainless Steel
Bezel: Stainless Steel
Dial: Khaki Green “Méga Tapisserie”
Movement: Calibre 4308, 32 Jewels
Power Reserve: 60 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 300 Meters
Bracelet: Khaki Green Rubber Strap
Price: $29,000 (~$35,000)
Audemars Piguet has been making the Royal Oak Offshore line of watches since 1992 as the larger and more capable version of the iconic Royal Oak. The larger cases, bezels, and straps give the Offshore a stronger look and stand out more on the wrist. The Offshore Diver line was introduced in 2010 and was the first Audemars Piguet watch to be ISO certified.
The case on the Offshore Diver is 42mm and made from a solid block of stainless steel but it does sit tall on the wrist at around 14mm thick. The caseback on the new Offshore Diver features a large display window, made from sapphire crystal, that allows you to view the mechanical movement inside. The caseback is held in place by 8 screws and is sealed to give the Diver a 300 meter water resistance rating. On the right side of the case is the tradition screw-down crown, finished in black ceramic and ping gold, that is used to set the time and day on the watch. The second crown sits at 10 o’clock and it is used to to set the inner rotating bezel. This bezel is around the dial and can be used for timing during dives. On top of the case is the legendary octagon Royal Oak bezel that sits on a large rubber gasket and is held in place by 8 hex screws. Under the sapphire crystal is a Khaki Green dial the the Royal Oak Offshore’s Méga Tapisserie texture. Méga Tapisserie is a sequence of raised squares with a matte finish. The hour markers and hands are made from pink gold and filled with larger amounts of luminescent material for easy reading underwater. A date is located at 3 o’clock and has a magnifying cyclops lens integrated into the glass.
Inside the stainless steel armor is a self-winding mechanical movement that was designed and built in-house by Audemars Piguet in 2021. The Calibre 4308 is an upgraded movement with a date that moves to the next day instantly a new setting mechanism for added durability. The 4308 contains 234 individual parts, offers the wearer 60 hours of power reserve and features an oscillating rotor made from solid 22k pink gold. That rotor is then given a dark grey finish and perfectly hand polished.
Holding this dive watch on Viktor’s wrist is a Khaki Green rubber strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. You are able to quickly change out the strap with quick release buttons on the lugs and pin buckle. Each strap then has steel latches built into them to snap into the lugs and pin buckle. Audemars Piguet makes plenty of $600+ rubber and leather options to dress up, or down, your Offshore Diver.
These Royal Oak Offshore Divers are gaining popularity and at one time pretty easy to get your hands on. This isn’t the case currently and if you can get one at your local Audemars Piguet dealer for the $29,000 retail price, consider yourself lucky. On the secondary market you can expect to add around a $6,000 premium to that retail price.
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