124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Decision in Washington could impact Memorial

June 09, 2009

Last Wednesday's Double Skins Game at the Memorial Tournament, which featured a group that included tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus and World No. 1 Tiger Woods, was was an unqualified hit, with thousands of central Ohio fans shrugging off a chilling rain to watch the nine-hole exhibition on the eve of the tournament (eventually won by Woods for the fourth time). Whether there will be another one depends on news from the nation's capitol.

The Federal Reserve is expected to announce this week which banks that received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will be allowed to repay the loans. Among the financial companies that might get the green light is Morgan Stanley, which contributed to the Memorial Tournament in pocketbook only this year. The longtime presenting sponsor took its name off the marquee and other tournament literature and signage, and its officials did not venture to Muirfield Village Golf Club.The company did not want to incur the wrath of the White House and Capitol Hill after another TARP recipient, Northern Trust, was excoriated for its role in supporting the PGA Tour event at Riviera CC, near Los Angeles.

If Morgan Stanley is permitted to repay its loans from the government, it might resume an active and more visible posture at the Memorial in 2010. That could include the return of the Morgan Stanley Pro-Am that usually has been played on the Wednesday prior to the tournament. But the Double Skins was such a success that there's no lock on the Pro-Am returning. Stay tuned.

-- Dave Shedloski