The players come out because of Nicklaus' legend, but also because of everything Nicklaus has done to make the Memorial a home away from home.
"The tournament's got its own momentum, through the years of having many, many distinguished players winning it,'' Stuart Appleby said. "It's created its own inertia. Much like the Byron Nelson has. Everyone knows who Byron Nelson is. That's when you're known as a legend.''
Nicklaus played in the first 30 Memorials and won two of them. A winner of 18 major championships and a total of 73 tour titles, he concedes that he's now a grandfather, father, husband and golf-course designer more than a player.
"I just don't play anymore, and so to put my golf game out for public display is not necessarily something I want to do,'' he said.
He will participate in the pro-am on Wednesday, reluctantly.
"There will be a lot of people here that have been friends of mine for a long time, and they'll see my half a swing that I've got left, and that will be about it,'' he said, grinning. "They'll watch me for about two shots and say, 'Geez, wasn't it nice to see Jack out here?' and then they'll go watch somebody play golf.''
The Memorial will end up being yet another way Nicklaus is remembered.
"The Masters really has lived beyond Jones,'' he said. "His legacy is there and will always be there - and mine will always be here.''