AT&T Byron Nelson Preview

05-16-17

It’s back to Texas for the THIRD time this season as Sergio Garcia defends his title.

It’s also the 35th and final time as host for TPC Four Seasons as the event moves across town for next year.

 

AT&T Byron Nelson Championship

 

TPC Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas

Irving, Texas

 

Yards: 7,166 per the official scorecard

Par: 70 (35-35)

Greens: Bentgrass; 6,000 square feet on average

Stimpmeter: 10.5-11′

Rough: Bermudagrass at 2.5″

Water Hazards: 8

Bunkers: 68

Course Architect(s): Jay Morrish (1983); D.A. Weibring (2008)

Purse: $7.5 million; $1.35 million-winner; 500 FedExCup points

Defending Champion:  Sergio Garcia chased down 54-hole record-setter Brooks Koepka and beat him on the first playoff hole for his second playoff win in this event (2004).

Notes: Full-field event with 156 players cut to 70 to play the weekend as the TPC Four Seasons will host for the 35th and final time. The event moves to Coore-Crenshaw’s Trinity Oaks in 2018.

 

 

2016-17 Winners

 

Frys.com: Brendan Steele

CIMB: Justin Thomas

WGC-HSBC: Hideki Matsuyama

Sanderson Farms: Cody Gribble**

Shriners: Rod Pampling

OHL Mayakoba: Pat Perez

RSM Classic: Mackenzie Hughes**

SBS TOC: Justin Thomas

Sony Open: Justin Thomas

CB Challenge: Hudson Swafford*

Farmers: Jon Rahm*

WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama

AT&T Pebble Beach: Jordan Spieth

Genesis Open: Dustin Johnson

Honda: Rickie Fowler

WGC-MC: Dustin Johnson

Valspar: Adam Hadwin*

Arnold Palmer: Marc Leishman

WGC-Match Play: Dustin Johnson

Shell Houston Open: Russell Henley

Masters: Sergio Garcia

RBC Heritage: Wesley Bryan**

Valero Texas Open: Kevin Chappell*

Zurich Classic: Cameron Smith* & Jonas Blixt

Wells Fargo Championship: Brian Harman

THE PLAYERS: Si Woo Kim

 

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

 

 

The Particulars:

This is it!

Adios!

Good bye!

The Tour pros will get one last chance to take on this shot makers course which has served as the lone host in the Lone Star state since 2008.

TPC Four Seasons will also play less than 7,200 yards like TPC Sawgrass but fortunately for all involved, Pete Dye takes the week off.

This track will show some teeth as it only has two par fives and will require a bit of nerve off the tee as these fairways are challenging to hit.

The players who can navigate the water and bunkering will have multiple ways to attack holes. With undulating greens, the pros will work the slopes to get it close but almost three inches of Bermuda or closely-mown areas that collect errant shots won’t be easy up-and-downs.

Playing to a par 70 with only two par fives par four scoring will be a premium this week and it won’t hurt to dodge bogeys. In his winning effort last year, Garcia took 45 holes to card his first bogey and only squared six for the week. It also didn’t hurt that he made every putt he looked at with over 400′ chalked up over four rounds. He only found two bunkers on the week as he finished T-4 GIR. Avoiding bunkers and bogeys sounds a right plan!

 

Good luck!

 

Previous Champions

 

I’ll take it back to 2008 as this was the first event after the redesign.

 

2016: Sergio Garcia; 265*

2015: Steven Bowditch; 259

2014: Brendon Todd; 266

2013: xx-Sangmoon Bae; 267

2012: Jason Dufner; 269

2011: Keegan Bradley; 277*

2010: Jason Day; 270

2009: Rory Sabbatini; 261

2008: x-Adam Scott; 273*

 

*playoff

XX-not playing this week because he’s serving his military requirement in South Korea.

X-not playing this week

 

 

Course Ratings:

Last year, Ben Crane tied the 36-hole record and Brooks Koepka the 54-hole record so that’s exception to the rule.

The previous four years TPC Four Seasons ranked inside the top 18 toughest courses annually in relation to par.

Of the last 22 champs, 16 have placed all four rounds in the 60’s.

 

Weather:

 It’s hot.

Like almost record hot as temperatures sizzle in the 90’s Tuesday through Thursday.

Irving has taken on exactly .02 inches of rain in the first 15 days of May so it will be up to the tournament committee on the set up.

Mother Nature checks in with 50-50 chances of thunderstorms the first three days of the event before northerly winds cool the place down to 80 on Sunday. Those northerly winds will be the exact opposite of the southerly winds that will open the tournament. With four days with wind from four different directions, better find a Texan or two plus a couple guys who can pierce the wind with their ball flight.

 

Facts and Figures:

 

  • Played since 1944 this is the ninth-longest running event on Tour and first named after a former player (1968).
  • Tournament record event: 261; Sabbatini, 2009.
  • Course record: 60; Bradley, 2013.
  • Defending champion(s): none since the redesign.
  • Multiple champions: none since TPC Four seasons became the exclusive course.
  • Multiple champion, event: last Sergio Garcia (2004, 2016).
  • Maiden Tour victory: Day, Bradley, Bae and Todd.
  • First time at event: Day, Bradley and Bae.
  • Adam Scott is the only player to win all four regular Tour stops in his career.

 

 The Field

 

Favorites

In order of preference for this week and this tournament

Dustin Johnson: He’s the best player on the planet and it’s not close right now. His closing 68 at TPC Sawgrass saw him grind out his best finish there (T-12). The T-12 was his first finish in six events off of the podium. His worst start in the last six years at this event is T-20 with four top 10’s and T-12. His stroke average is 68.54 and is 30-under the last three years.

Sergio Garcia: He limped over from T-54 at Sawgrass last year and promptly won the golf tournament for the second time. He leads the Tour in SGOTT and is second SGTTG AND scoring average. I’m not letting one round cloud my overall judgment but I’m tart because he was my OAD and that Sunday 78 was painful. Whatever.

Brooks Koepka: The turnaround started in the Lone Star state as busted out of his season-long slump in Austin during Match Play. He kept it rolling with T-11 at Augusta before adding solo second at Valero. Not even a pairing with his brother could derail him at Zurich as he made everything. His T-16 last week at Sawgrass was aided by a final hole double. Revenge mission this year after not being able to hold the 54-hole lead? Revenge mission after he dunked it in the water in the playoff? Nah, he’s just really good.

Patrick Reed: Timing is everything so I’m moving him this week. He showed serious signs of life before his final round Eagle Point dropped him to T-12. He was wobbling a bit at TPC Sawgrass but finished the week with his best round, 69, to finish T-22. If a nasty short game doesn’t hurt around here, I’ll lean on his.

Louis Oosthuizen: Do you hear that sucking sound? Yep, that’s me again this week getting sucked in on Oosthuizen. He was the LAST addition to my column last week as I went back and forth with his inclusion. When in doubt, form is temporary and class is permanent. He’s also bagged 15 paychecks in a row worldwide so there’s that as well.

Ryan Palmer: Guys who MC at THE PLAYERS who have been playing well prior doesn’t bother me. Palmer’s recent run included T-11, T-6 and fourth before MC last week so form isn’t my concern. He heads home to the Dallas area to an event he’s played every year since 2004 and has three top 10’s since 2011.

Charley Hoffman: He’s 25-under the last two years and half of those rounds are 65 or lower. He’s raked at Valero as well so it’s obvious he doesn’t mind a bit of wind. With a bit of a skinny field here, I’ll lean on his course form.

Jason Dufner: He’ll win this week because everyone was in love with him LAST week. He’s rattled off 10 weekends in a row. He won here in 2012 and has two other top 10’s to go along with the trophy. So many ball-strikers have flourished here but he’s making some putts as well. His only finishes outside of the top 25 in stroke play are the Masters and THE PLAYERS.

Bud Cauley: Everyone was aghast when he decided to skip Eagle Point because he was coming in HOT. My job is to remind you that he was T-9 at Harbour Town, T-10 at Valero and closed with 61 with Justin Thomas to finish T-5 at Zurich. He won’t make every putt but he might hit every green. He opened 64-65 here last year.

Tony Finau: For a fellow that LOVES to hit driver, he’s found a way to get it around here and that’s not easy. He’s 21-under-par the last two years (T-10, T-12) and his worst score from all eight in red figures is 68. His power should continue to translate here and he has a pair of top five finishes in his last five starts on Tour. #Bombs.

Kevin Tway: He should probably be ranked higher up this list based on his recent results. He’s bombed and gouged his way through Valero (T-3), into the swamp outside New Orleans with Kelly Kraft (third) and added another top five at Eagle Point (T-5). Johnson, Finau, Koepka, Bradley have all been power players that have done this business here. I love uncharted territory and we’re WAY past that point.

Matt Kuchar: I’m not sure what’s going on here. He’s missing cuts. He shot 81 on Sunday at THE PLAYERS. His best results this season have been on courses where he’s flourished in the past and this week qualifies. He’s played in every event since the move exclusively to TPC Four Seasons and has never MC. He’s also hit the top 10 twice in his last three.

Marc Leishman: His record here is the definition of fantasy madness. In eight tries he’s finished T-12 or better five times. He’s MC in the other three including the last two years in a row. He won at Arnold Palmer but his next three stroke play results are T-43, T-44 and MC. Sound familiar?

 

 

Next Tier

Just missed; no particular order of preference

 

Charl Schwartzel: I can’t figure out the South Africans as I lamented above with Oosthuizen. His all-or-nothing stroke play record over the last two months makes him impossible to leave off this week. He fired 63 the first time he played this course in 2013 and hasn’t MC in four tries.

Ryan Moore: He was runner-up to Adam Scott in 2008 but I’m more interested in his streak of 12 weekends from 13 events. His T-9 at Augusta and T-18 at Valero makes his T-53 last week easier to ignore. He plays out of the middle of the fairway and that doesn’t hurt most weeks. He’ll enjoy big greens as well.

Russell Henley: He MC here last year on even par but shot a pair of 65’s in 2015 to finish T-22. He won earlier this year in Houston.

Billy Hurley, III: I have no problem riding along on the steady train. He’ll be fired up after doing his media day at Congressional and reliving the best week of his professional life.

Ollie Schniederjans: The man without a hat has finished T-3 and T-18 the last two times he’s played his own ball. The strength of his game is his irons as he’s in the top 20 in proximity. With four top 10’s on the season he won’t be intimidated if he’s in the fight on the weekend.

Smylie Kaufman: I liked that he backed up his T-5 at Eagle Point with T-12 at TPC Sawgrass. Neither of those tracks appears to be places to get the game “healthy” so I’m in.

Nick Taylor: His last three stroke play events on his own ball have resulted in T-22, T-22 and T-8. Of those 12 rounds, 10 are par or better. He’s a solid player that has found a run of form. Remember, he hadn’t played Eagle Point either (T-8).

Graham DeLaet: In a field of this ilk, I’ll gladly hitch it up to a guy that when he makes the cut, he collects nice checks. He only has one finish outside T-22 when he’s played the weekend but has sprinkled in four MCs during that time. His ball-striking has translated here with T-10, T-7 and T-22 before MC last year.

Nick Watney: He’s shown just enough flashes for me to take a look this week. He’s finished T-8 and T-10 in his last two tries here, both years when healthy. He’s another I’m trying to catch on the way up before he hits a vein of form.

Jonathan Randolph: Guys on limited starts who do the business always catch my eye and he’s not any different. His last three Tour starts he’s posted T-24 (PRO), T-27 (Valero) and T-8 at Wells Fargo. There was a bit of wind on all three of those tracks!

Hudson Swafford: Just like his career, every year at TPC Four Seasons is getting better. Last time Swafford teed it in Texas he took home the cash for sixth place at SHO.

D.A. Points: He’s a metronome from tee-to-green and if he makes anything, he could surprise. I’d remind you that he shot 62 here last year but you already knew that!

 

 

Off the Beaten Path

Course horses, long shots, cheeky picks, DFS last call, red herrings, general mish-mash.

 

Ben Crane: He’s making cuts but not cashing big checks. He opened here 65-63 last year to see the weekend for the sixth time in the last seven years.

Tim Wilkinson: In six tries he’s MC three times and hit the top 23 in the other three, including T-4 last year, in alternating years. Unlucky for those who believe in the streak…

Bob Estes: The veteran will hope the wind blows all weekend. He’ll enjoy almost 400 less yards than he had to deal with at Valero where he was T-27.

Gary Woodland: He’s teed it on the last seven weekends he’s played here and he posted his two best finishes in the last three seasons. The last two seasons he’s posted a pair of 63’s and a 64 but also three rounds over par. I’m hoping to catch him before it’s obvious.

J.T. Poston: Sometimes it’s a good idea to fish where the fish are. He’s rattled off a paycheck in his last nine events. In his last seven he’s posted T-27 or better six times. Giddy up.

Keegan Bradley: The 2011 champ and 2013 runner up broke a string of T-29 or better at this event at five in a row last year as he MC on even par. His record here pushes him into the conversation this week.

Julian Etulain: He’s another cut maker and his streak is up to seven in a row worldwide. He even drug countryman Angel Cabrera into the weekend at Zurich Classic and that’s no easy feat if you have seen what Cabrera has done recently.

S.Y. Noh: He’s riding high at the moment with T-5 at Eagle Point and T-22 last week at Sawgrass. His nasty short game has been the anchor and it was his red-hot putter that led the field in PPGIR. Here’s another who won’t mind bigger greens to aim at this week!

Xander Schauffele: Bogey-free 68 to close on a difficult Eagle Point his last time out. He quietly sits 16th GIR.

Danny Lee: Dallas resident has made four of five and three have gone for T-19 or better. I have no idea what he’s doing this season but if the ice is going to break I can see it starting to melt here.

J.J. Henry: He was one of the player-advisers during the redesign and has made seven of nine cuts since. The TCU grad is right at home this week and next at Colonial.

Morgan Hoffmann: He fits the bomber profile that usually excels here. He finished T-2 at a windy Honda and was T-12 his last time out at Eagle Point. He’s Brooks Koepka-lite and finished T-5 on his maiden in 2013 and T-16 the following year.

 

Fades:

 

Jordan Spieth: He’s the second-best player in the field but I’m not sold he’ll be the second-best finisher. THE PLAYERS-ATTBNC double is a fortnight where gamers can just forget about him. His best finish at this track is T-16 in 2010 when he was in high school and he plays it every year. He’s not going to waste any spaces in any games with limited starts. There’s nobody happier that this event is moving to Trinity Forest where he’s a member.

Brandt Snedeker: I hate injuries and I especially hate wrist injuries. Snedeker skipped THE PLAYERS where his record is spotty and other than a pair of 64’s on the weekend in 2015 there’s not much to write home about here either.

J.B. Holmes: We’ll see if it’s just one round or not. He hasn’t played here since 2010 and just three times total. What’s the upside?

Jason Day: This column is relative. I think Day’s switch can flip at any moment but I would like to see some evidence of this happening. He was tinkering with his swing at Augusta. He was progressively worse at Sawgrass as the weekend carried on. He doesn’t look like it’s all there right now so I’m gonna patiently wait until he turns it up to 11.

 

Next:

 

Wednesday I’ll present my gaming angles for the week so keep your eyes peeled at @MikeGlasscott and mikeglasscott.com for more information.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

 

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