DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Pros, amateurs and celebrities converged at Muirfield Village for the first time in two years for the Nationwide Invitational after it was canceled last year due to COVID.
The celebrities who played Wednesday included Peyton and Eli Manning, Steph Curry, IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal, Larry Fitzgerald and Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz.
“”It’s great sports fans here in Columbus,” Peyton Manning said. “I got to see Mr. [Jack] Nicklaus, which was a treat so I’m happy to be back.”
The fans were happy to be back too and got to see some of their favorite athletes up close.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to have people back and I know here in Central Ohio how much this tournament means,” said Rahal who’s a native of New Albany. “To be so limited over the past year was difficult for them I’m sure to play in golf tournaments, same as it was for us in racing. Without fans . . . it is a completely different game.”
Peyton has played at Muirfield Village for several years, but this was the first time for Eli who retired last year.
“Obviously a great tournament here at Muirfield and a lot of fun,” Eli Manning said. “I was just excited to be out and watch some of these guys play golf and it was a lot of fun being with Scottie [Scheffler] and the guys today.”
“One of those guys was Golden State Warriors guard and three-time NBA champion Steph Curry who also played at Muirfield for the first time.
“It is as advertised. It’s a beautiful course, beautiful atmosphere,” Curry said. “It’s challenging but fair and now I get a new appreciation for when I watch on TV and know what I did on every hole.”
Curry will no doubt be a future hall of famer but before that, Peyton Manning will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton this summer.
“I’m honored to represent two great organizations, Indianapolis and Denver,” Manning said. “When something like this happens, you do think about people in New Orleans growing up and your family and high school teammates, a great four years at Tennessee and then all the people in Indianapolis and Denver. You sort of take all those people in [the Hall of Fame] with you.”