Nicklaus, 78, is celebrating the 43rd playing of the event that is held at the Muirfield Village course he designed and named in honor of Muirfield in Scotland, where he won his first Open title in 1966. He two-putted from about 50 feet for birdie, found the fairway on No. 6 that left a wedge into 3 feet for a tap-in birdie, and then hit out of a greenside bunker and used the slope for it to roll out to 2 feet on the par-5 seventh. Woods is a five-time Memorial victor and is teeing-up in the event for a first time since 2015.
Among his early misplays were four straight fairways missed off the tee, a third shot in a water hazard at the par-5 11th and a tee shot out of bounds at the par-5 15th.
Tiger Woods takes his shot of the first hole during the Pro-Am of The Memorial Tournament. My freshman year of college (at Odessa College) I got the Jack Nicklaus Award and I got to come here as a freshman, Sunday, get that award from Jack. Also at 72 was Dustin Johnson, who made nothing but pars on the back nine and failed to birdie any of the par 5s.
He then dropped to four-over-par in bogeying the next before arresting his slide with a birdie at his eighth hole. "And today I felt great".
Rory McIlroy is two over par after the first round of the Memorial Tournament.
Matsuyama's big run began after a sluggish start to the back nine on a muggy, humid day that left Muirfield Village soft, particularly with a burst of heavy rain late Wednesday. The Japanese star chopped his way out of the nasty rough on the 10th and 11th holes, both times making bogey. Woods swallowed another bogey at the par-3 16th before turning his day around. Two weeks ago at the Byron Nelson, Matsuyama tied for 16th, just his second top-20 in six starts post-injury. "In the past, even if I wasn't playing well, the results were, I could still get it around, get it in the hole".
But on a day of low scoring at Gardagolf in Brescia, Willett compiled a bogey-free, six-under-par 65 to lie just two shots off the lead shared by fellow Englishmen Robert Rock and Laurie Canter and South Africa's Richard Sterne.
He finished second in the Valspar Championship and fifth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in back-to-back March events.
"I tried, and unfortunately on this golf course, hitting it as bad as I did, it just wasn't good enough", Woods said.
"I didn't really have much starting out".