DEAN & DELUCA Invitational Preview

05-23-17

The Tour returns to “Hogan’s Alley” as it has every year since 1946 as Colonial Country Club hosts.

There will be a “Horrible Horseshoe”, plenty of tartan and a wall of champions that holds the names of some of the greatest to ever play, old and new.

 

 

DEAN & DELUCA Invitational at Colonial

 

Colonial Country Club

Fort Worth, Texas

 

Yards: 7,209 per the official scorecard

Par: 70 (35-35)

Greens: Bentgrass; 4,400 square feet on average

Stimpmeter: 12′

Rough: Bermudagrass at 2.5″

Water Hazards: 3

Bunkers: 84

Course Architect(s): Perry Maxwell and John Bredemus (1936);

Purse: $6.9 million; $1.242 million-winner; 500 FedExCup points

Defending Champion:  Jordan Spieth birdied the final three holes to win for the first time in his native Texas.

Notes: Invitational field of 122; top 70 and ties will play the weekend.

 

 

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

AT&T Byron Nelson: Billy Horschel

 

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

 

Previous Champions

 

2016: Jordan Spieth; 263

2015: Chris Kirk; 268

2014: x-Adam Scott; 271*

2013: Boo Weekley; 266

2012: Zach Johnson; 268

2011: x-David Toms; 265

2010: Zach Johnson; 259

2009: Steve Stricker; 263*

2008: Phil Mickelson; 266

2007: Rory Sabbatini; 266*

2006: Tim Herron; 268*

2005: x- Kenny Perry; 261

2004: x-Steve Flesch; 269

2003: x- Kenny Perry; 261

2002: x- Nick Price; 267

2001: Sergio Garcia; 267

2000: Phil Mickelson; 268

*playoff

X-not playing this week 

 

The Particulars:

 

Colonial Country Club reeks of tradition and history as the Fort Worth course is the longest running Tour event played on the same course and is the 10th oldest event played on Tour.

Nicknamed “Hogan’s Alley” after the great Ben Hogan who won the inaugural event, Colonial’s place in history was cemented by his five total wins. The course has also hosted the first U.S. Open in the South (1941), a PLAYERS Championship and the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open.

Where time has marched on with technology in the balls, clubs and fitness, Colonial remains constant as its design hasn’t changed much over the years.

And that’s fine with mostly everyone, including fantasy nerds.

The Tour players love they don’t have to carry it 300 yards and have to decide which shots they need to play.

The gamers enjoy relying on course history as a guidance.

The list of winners here proves that there are multiple ways to tackle CCC as we’ll see power players and accurate players populate that list.

CCC’s biggest challenge is early in the round with the “Horrible Horseshoe”, a three-hole stretch that will test the patience and nerves of those starting on the front early in the week and on the weekend. Of the four hardest holes on the course last year, the “Horrible Horseshoe” provided three of them. Those who aren’t tough enough to grind through it will be left behind.

Experience will also pay off on this course knowing where not to miss. CCC’s greens are well protected and most are exposed to the breezes of Texas. The fairways, which include plenty of doglegs, aren’t easy to hit and big misses here equal big penalties. Keeping the ball in position off the tee and into the greens takes patience and restraint. It’s hardly a wonder why there are not many youngsters on the list of winners.

Judging the breezes, the green speeds and managing ball flight will all be a part of the winner’s make up this week. I’d point that there are plenty of fellas on the list of winners that have also won or have high finishes at Augusta so there’s another clue. Pro gamers will remind you that Perry Maxwell took over at Augusta after Alister MacKenzie died. It’s not a coincidence.

It’s not long but it’s not short.

Its Bentgrass greens are some of the purest on Tour and run as quick as the rules committee would prefer.

And always with Texas, the wind will blow!

Good luck!

 

Course Ratings:

CCC has ranked in the more difficult half of courses used on Tour in four of the last five years.

With only two par fives players will have to keep it in play or be able to navigate up-and-downs to keep bogeys off the care. The bomb-and-gouge brigade better have their wedges and/or putters dialed in.

 

Weather:

Fort Worth has taken barely over one inch of rain this month so the set up will depend on how fast they want it to play.

Pleasant temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday will give way to BLAZING HOT for the first three days of play. Thursday opens with 93 followed by NOINETY NOINE on Friday AND Saturday. Sunday the wind changes direction and yet calms down as it cools down to 89.

Windy? Yep.

Hot? Yep x Yep.

Welcome to golf in Texas!

 

Facts and Figures:

 

  • Played since 1946 this is the 10th-longest running event on Tour.
  • Tournament record event: 259; Johnson, 2010.
  • Course record: 61; last done by Chad Campbell, with TWO BOGEYS, in 2004.
  • Defending champion(s): Hogan, twice.
  • Multiple champions: Mickelson, Perry and Johnson since 2000.
  • Maiden Tour victory: last, Garcia, 2001; before that was Ian Baker-Finch in 1989.
  • First time at event: Only five players in history with the last being Garcia.
  • USA > Internationals in the winner’s circle.
  • Spieth is the only winner of the last eight to hold the 54-hole lead. #Pressure.
  • Adam Scott is the only player to win all four regular Tour stops in Texas in his career.
  • The only Texans to win this event since 1990 are Ben Crenshaw and Spieth. Both are Masters champions. #Trend.

 

 

The Field

 

Favorites

In order of preference for this week and this tournament

Jordan Spieth: New putter or not, I’m not leaving a guy who’s 43-under-par the last four years off of the top spot. Add in he won last year and was T-2 the year before that and it’s a no-brainer. He hasn’t played well at THE PLAYERS or AT&T Byron Nelson the last two years so he’s right on schedule. I’ve read more times than I haven’t that he’s most dialed in when he’s forced to move the golf ball tee-to-green and the wind is a factor. Check and check this week.

Ryan Palmer: Not only is he a member but so is his caddy so that’s a massive advantage. Palmer has been on my radar ever since he thawed at Hilton Head with this event the focus. The last five years he’s racked up T-5, T-14, T-5, MC and T-3 last year and this will be year No. 14 in a row playing this event. He sits in the top 15 in TTG, ATG and OTT and his knowledge of the greens should help those putting numbers!

Jon Rahm: He’s in the top 10 of all of the stats I listed above for Palmer and that’s hardly a surprise considering his fantastic season to date. His 82 at TPC Sawgrass was the first time looked like a 20-something golfer playing his second season on Tour and that’s OK. I bet his practice last week was a bit more focused and I’m not the least bit concerned. We’ll see his class this week on how quickly he figures it out on this classic course and I can’t wait.

Sergio Garcia: He was the last player to win on his maiden voyage around CCC but hasn’t played here since 2013. He was in the fight the last two weeks until he was upended on Sunday at both THE PLAYERS and AT&T Byron Nelson so that’s a concern. The other six rounds he’s 13-under on two less-than-easy tracks. Glass half full here and never game angry!

Jason Dufner: The runner up in 2012 and 2014 finished T-6 last year so he’s obviously down to clown on EVEN numbered years. I’ll let the numerologists and astrologists determine if or what that means but I’m not deterred. His finishes outside of the Masters and THE PLAYERS are all inside the top 25. His experience around here won’t hurt either nor will his ball-striking.

Matt Kuchar: With a pair of top 10’s in his last three visits I’m throwing him right back in again this week. I’ve learned over the years that Kuchar schedules where he does because of what he does there: collect checks. He bounced back nicely last week (T-9) after his 81 on Saturday led to MDF at THE PLAYERS and he fits the Augusta angle here as well.

Pat Perez: Wash. Rinse. Repeat. One bad round in his last six events was the only one that kept him out of the top 25. He’s also hit the top 10 here four times in 11 tries so there’s no need to talk yourself out of him this week.

Kevin Kisner: He’s 20-under in his last nine rounds here with T-10 and T-5 last year to show for his troubles. I’m still hurt that he MC at Eagle Point on Bentgrass greens mainly because he was my OAD that week. He turned around on the Bermuda of TPC Sawgrass and threw up four more rounds in the 70’s. What am I doing? Simple, leaning on course form in a short field. Remember, THIS week is the most important one.

Paul Casey: He’s played 14 rounds here and he’s posted six of them at 66 because of his ability to rack up GIR. His last three stroke play events he’s finished T-6, T-12 and T-22 all with a round of 75 or better. To say he’s close to popping would be a severe understatement.

Phil Mickelson: Okay, take the hook out. He has exactly ONE round in the 60’s in his last 16 but that led to T-18 at Eagle Point. He hasn’t played here since 2010 when he MC defending his title. He’s been gone long enough that this should feel “new” to him. His “new” courses this year were Silverado (T-8), Mexico City (T-7) and Eagle Point. Phresh Phil Pholks.

Bud Cauley: He’s hit the top 10 in four events in a row so he’s going nowhere. He’s seventh in ATG and has hit the top 21 in his last two visits to CCC. Now’s not the time for bailing out. I’m not pleased that he’s still available in my OAD format but that might change tomorrow.

Marc Leishman: Wind. Texas. Perfect. He hit the top 10 in Austin at Match Play and was T-13 with 68-67 to close at TPC Four Seasons. He’s steady through the bag and he’s never missed in six tries including T-13, his best of the bunch, last season.

Adam Hadwin: Last time out he signed for a closing round 70 at THE PLAYERS after making double on his final hole. His T-30 was another solid finish that he adds to a string of 14 events in a row where he’s cashed. He broke his maiden here two years ago and posted all four rounds in the 60’s for T-5. He came back last year and added two more for T-22. He keeps it in play and is nasty around the greens.

Zach Johnson: With five top 10’s from 11 events, I can’t leave him off this week. He’s the “old” course horse this week as he’s posted 36 of 44 rounds at par or better from those 11 tries. From 2009 through 2013 he won twice and was never worse than T-9. I know it’s not healthy to live in the past but that experience plus his wins in Texas adds up. He’ll play from the middle of the fairway and still can make a few putts.

Billy Horschel: I have a theory on golfers: The free-er, the better. Guys who aren’t carrying burdens, mental, physical or otherwise, can let it rip. Horschel leaped a huge hurdle last week and the weight of his wife’s issue is no longer a secret. He is known to burn white-hot when he gets it going and with that burden lifted off his shoulders, I would expect another big effort this week.

 

 

Next Tier

Just missed; no particular order of preference

 

Kevin Tway: Harsh, I know, but it’s not going to stop me from using him. His T-32 is his worst finish in his last five events and that was five events ago. I’m interested to see how he navigates this classic track.

Kyle Stanley: He was on a belter at Sawgrass for two rounds before he came home on the weekend 72-75. His T-4 was his second top 10 in his last three stroke play events and third of the season. The problem is NEVER tee-to-green and based on his record at Colonial, putting is still a factor in this event.

Nick Taylor: In his last four stroke play events he’s finished T-22, T-22, T-8 and T-9 last week at Byron Nelson. He closed at TPC Four Seasons 66 and bogey-free 65. I should move him up.

Brandt Snedeker: He’s 16-under here the last two years with T-2 and T-17 to show for his effort. After DNS at Sawgrass he MC last week at Byron Nelson so I’m hoping those 36 holes took off the rust. He’s posted 21 of 24 rounds at par or better here in his career and in a shallow field that works for me.

Chris Kirk: It’s his favorite event of the year and he’s the only Hogan award winner to take home the tartan jacket as champion. He’s added four other top 16 finishes to his CV here so it’s not lip service that he loves this place. He showed serious signs of life as he played the final 54 holes at Sawgrass in four-under-par. His T-12 finish was his best, by a mile, in 2017. #Convergence.

Brian Harman: He’s just playing too solidly at the moment with T-9 at RBC Heritage and a victory at Wells Fargo in two of his last three stroke play events. He posted two rounds under par at Sawgrass but finished T-53 so I doubt that’s going to ruin his confidence. His last three trips to CCC have been T-30 or better with T-10 being the best.

Tony Finau: His closing 65-65-69 last week shows that he’s dialing back in. He also shot 64 at a less-than-straightforward Innisbrook to finish fifth back in March. Sawgrass (MC) wasn’t a good fit for his favorite club, the driver, so we’ll see if he learned anything for this week.

William McGirt: I’m not ignoring a pair of T-22’s at the Masters and THE PLAYERS or T-3 at RBC in his last three stroke play events. This will be his seventh year in a row at Colonial so he should know exactly what is required. I just hope he doesn’t have one eye on his defense next week at Muirfield.

Lucas Glover: He’s played every year of the last 13 save one so he’s either a glutton for punishment or a history buff. He has one top 25 in that stretch, uno, but after T-6 at THE PLAYERS, I’m erring on the side of “hot golfer”.

Webb Simpson: MC, T-11, MC and T-16 in his last four matches his record here of MC, MC and T-3.

Sung Kang: In his last SIX stroke play events he has posted THREE rounds over par.

Charley Hoffman: He’s been invited eight times. He’s taken home a check from each event.

Billy Hurley III: In his last five on Tour he’s posted 18 rounds at par or better and hasn’t MC.

Danny Lee: He closed 64-68 last week for T-5, his best cash of the season. Sure, it was on his home course but that tells me he knows how to play in this wind as well. Evidence: four-from four at Colonial with nothing worse than 71. He should probably move up.

Scott Piercy: Reaching here a bit but he posted 68-69-66 last week before limping home with T-20. I’ll point out that he led the event ATG and was fourth TTG.

 

 

 

Off the Beaten Path

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

 

Martin Laird: His streak of five weekends in a row at CCC was broken last year but he’s still put 19 of 22 rounds at par or better and was T-10 in his first two trips.

Ben Martin: He’s played the last three years and is 16-under-par total with all three finishes inside the top 30.

Steve Stricker: He doesn’t play enough but when he does he has been solid. He makes a great filler in deep games and DFS where he has been making cuts for fun.

Martin Piller: Wonderful long shot who on Tour last year had his two best finishes in Texas with T-4 at Valero and T-6 at Colonial. His recent form will scare most away but last year was his first and only trip to CCC. You won’t be fighting anybody for him!

Rod Pampling: The Dallas-area resident won’t be bothered by a little heat or wind, even at his age. Opened with 67-69 last week and has made three cuts in a row on Tour.

John Huh: All (T-5, T-11 and T-18) or nothing (MC, MC) in five tries the last five seasons.

Kyle Reifers: He’s four from his last four here and rattled off T-20 last week, his best effort since PRO in March (T-17).

David Hearn: His only MC in six tries here came with an opening round 64 in 2013. #Poutine.

David Lingmerth: He’s never opened with a round below 72 on this par 70 course in three tries. He’s never finished worse than T-33. Better late than never as his final round scoring average is 65.33.

Sean O’Hair: He closed bogey-free last week for T-5, his best finish since T-11 at Honda, another difficult track.

Daniel Summerhays: His streak is now four in a row at Colonial but nothing is lower than T-35. His T-40 last week was his fifth weekend in a row but sadly also his best finish. I don’t mind plugging in guys who are grinding out results.

Blayne Barber: He’s collected checks seven weekends in a row that he’s played.

J.J. Spaun: So has he.

Scott Brown: Threw away a perfectly good finish last week with a Double-Double (animal style) finish for T-35. His 67-65 middle rounds caught my eye.

 

 

Fades:

 

Bill Haas: He’s MC three in a row. I was shocked at one, mortified at two and now I have no idea what to do. When I don’t know, I don’t go. #PuntJohnPunt.

Si Woo Kim: WD, MC, T-22, WINS THE PLAYERS, can’t play the next week, etc., etc…

 

 

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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