Nicklaus still intends to shake hand of Memorial winner

There may not be spectators, and some traditions will be scuttled at this week's Memorial Tournament, but there will still be a handshake waiting for the winner on Sunday, if host Jack Nicklaus has his way.

"I'm going to shake their hand," said Nicklaus, eschewing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic that has significantly altered the PGA Tour season.

The 80-year-old Nicklaus made his comments Tuesday during his traditional pre-tournament interview, albeit virtually, at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

"I'm going to walk right out there and shake your hand," Nicklaus said. "If they don't want to shake my hand, that's fine. I'll give them a fist bump or an elbow bump, but I'm not going to give them COVID-19, so that's -- I wouldn't put anybody in that position.

"I wouldn't do that, and if I was in any danger of doing that, I wouldn't shake their hands," said Nicklaus, who was required to test for COVID-19 as an organizer of the event.

The Memorial was set to welcome spectators, becoming the first PGA Tour event to do so since the pandemic forced play to halt from mid-March to mid-June. However, organizers in conjunction with the PGA Tour changed course last week.

"I think it was the players' choice and the Tour's choice at this point to say, 'We would prefer not to have fans,'" Nicklaus said. "I think that the Tour probably made the right decision as it relates to the Memorial Tournament. Maybe we are a little too early for the galleries. We didn't have a problem with it."

Nicklaus founded the Memorial, designed the course and named it after the Muirfield links course in Gullane, Scotland.

--Field Level Media

07/15/2020 0:14

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