'Big Three' in spotlight at Jack's place

Wed Jun 1, 2016 6:49pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Golf fans can expect a week to savor at the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio, where the game's Big Three' of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy will each be bringing winning form to the leafy Muirfield Village layout.

World number one Day clinched his third PGA Tour victory of the season at the Players Championship last month, second-ranked Spieth triumphed at the Colonial tournament on Sunday and third-ranked McIlroy won the European Tour's Irish Open 10 days ago.

The heavyweight trio heads a typically powerful field in the prestigious event hosted by Jack Nicklaus, where seven of the world's top 10 will be competing this week, but McIlroy is wary of too much emphasis being placed on the so-called 'Big Three'.

"We're at the top of the rankings and we've won a few majors between us, but I think it's just unfair to focus on us," the Northern Irishman told reporters on Wednesday while preparing for Thursday's opening round.

"You've got the likes of Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, who we're playing with tomorrow, Brooks Koepka ... there's so many great young players out there.

"Obviously, we're working to keep it that way and try to be No. 1, but at the same time, there's a lot of guys just behind us. If we slip, they want to take that place."

McIlroy has been paired with Americans Spieth and Thomas in a 'young gun' grouping for the first two rounds.

Spieth has always relished playing at Muirfield Village where the heavily tree-lined layout is in immaculate shape for a PGA Tour event that enjoys major-like status.

"Mr. Nicklaus does a great job in creating just a great environment for us, on and off the golf course," the 22-year-old said. "Arguably the best greens of the year, fastest and purest.   Continued...

May 15, 2016; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Jason Day hits a shot from the 15th fairway during the final round of the 2016 Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports