DUBLIN, Ohio -- Four players were having lunch in the grill room at Muirfield Village when they straightened in their chairs at the sight of Jack Nicklaus, who sat down to join them in conversation.
Lucas Glover played for him and Geoff Ogilvy played against him in the last Presidents Cup. Another player at the table was Daniel Chopra, fluent in Swedish, Indian and English, yet struggling to comprehend the language spoken by Boo Weekley, who walked by muttering something about having to wear a different hat.
Nicklaus -- host of this week's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village -- was only kidding when he said he saw 20 guys in the grill room and didn't know 10 of them. "I love seeing the young guys come along," he said. "Young people come along in the game every year, and I think that's great."
What he has trouble recognizing at times is the game they play and how they play it.
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"It's a different day," he said.
Muirfield Village is where Europe won the Ryder Cup for the first time on American soil, with Nicklaus as the U.S. captain.
That was the first sign Europe was gaining equal footing, and lately, it has stomped all over the American team.
"I don't understand it, frankly," Nicklaus said.
It's a curious trend, especially considering the United States has not lost in the Presidents Cup in 10 years. It made Nicklaus wonder if Ryder Cup captains are taking their jobs too seriously. He mentioned the number of assistant captains brought to the matches, and alluded to Tom Lehman taking his team to Ireland a month before the Ryder Cup to practice.
"To take a whole team over to go play a practice round a month before an event?" he said. "You give me Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, who are basically Nos. 1-2-3 in the world on our team. And they just finished playing all the major championships in the world, and they all are working their tail off. And you say, 'OK, guys, now we're going to do something important.' Give me a break.
"Get out of the way and let them go play," he said. "That's sort of my feeling."
CHIP SHOTS -- Ernie Els changed his mind Tuesday and will play in the Memorial, a tournament he won four years ago. Els surprised tournament officials Monday with a posting on his Web site that he would skip the event. ... Michelle Wie will make her first appearance in a full Ladies European Tour field at this week's German Open in Munich. A sore wrist hurt in March and studies at Stanford have limited her to just two tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year.