Tournament: AT&T Byron Nelson, May 19-22
Course: TPC Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas, 7,166 yards, par 70
Defending Champion: Steven Bowditch. The Australian capped his 2nd PGA Tour win here last year, and just so happens he held his wedding at this resort in 2011. He’s had a tough year so far, so we should see a new champion named Sunday.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS)
Fun Fact: This is a par 70 course (at least for the pros), but last year was deluged by 5 inches of rain. Some of the fairways and greens were literally under water, including the par 4 14th. It was so bad, the last two days were played from temporary tees 100 yards out, changing the hole to a par 3 and the course to a par 69. This is likely the only time the PGA Tour has played par at less than 70 for 18 holes.
Former 'Dawgs in the Field (Six): Erik Compton, Brian Harman, Harris English, Russell Henley, Hudson Swafford, Brendon Todd.
The Tour heads west for the Texas Swing (no trademark), and the first stop is the Dallas area. Known for years as the Byron Nelson, and named after the distinguished golfer gentleman from the area, organizers thought a corporate sponsorship would help. And AT&T decided that throwing naming rights on this tournament would help get rink of the stank from Jerry World.
It’s a TPC Course, and very much in the resort style. At less than 7,200 yards, it is short and relies on windy conditions and undulating greens for defense. But you can expect more of a shootout, with scores in the low to mid 60’s for the top players all week. After the carnage of last weekend in Jacksonville, a shootout is good for variety. And the US Open at Oakmont is coming up next month, so all you golf purists who want to protect par can ease your minds and just forget the next couple of tourneys. Personally I do want to see different strategies, and something different week to week. And I like to see weeks when the top players aren’t around – it helps keep journeymen and lesser pros on the Tour and keeps the quality of the Tour fields deeper.
Speaking of pros, many are taking the week off after last week’s Players Championship. World #2 Jordan Spieth will be on hand, since he missed the cut and this is basically his hometown tournament. I’m guessing he and Tony Romo are bench-pressing each other in their gated community.
The rest of the field is dotted with some familiar names, though you have to follow the game to know most of them. Here are some names you know, and love, and here are their tee times:
Brian Harman, 8:30 am
Russell Henley, 8:30 am
Brendon Todd, 8:40 am
Harris English, 8:50 am
Erik Compton, 9:30 am
Hudson Swafford, 8:40 am
I won’t bore you with rankings and finishes and such… we unfortunately don’t have much to crow about these days. UGA continues to lead the unofficial tracking of PGA earnings by program alumni, but it’s much closer these days and Bubba Watson has done much of the heavy lifting. If you want to know any stats, rankings, measurements, etc., just drop a comment below and I’ll try to answer. But no matter what, be sure to tune in and….