The PGA Tour heads back to Texas this week for the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship at Trinity Forest. This year’s field is headlined by Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar and Jimmy Walker. A long list of Texans will also be in the field celebrating the 50th anniversary of the event. Tee Times
Billy Billy Billy Billy
Billy Horschel won the 2017 Byron Nelson championship with a playoff victory over Jason Day. It was Horschel’s first victory since his FedEx Cup playoff victories in 2014. Horschel rode that victory to his highest FedEx Cup finish since 2014 as he finished 42nd in the season-long race. Horschel has already won this year as he and Scott Piercy teamed up to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The star of the show this week is the new host of the Nelson, Trinity Forest, a Coore & Crenshaw design. The par 71 will play drastically different than any other course on the PGA Tour schedule. The minimalist design requires thought and execution to tackle it. It will favor players with a strong all-around game, especially approaching and around the greens. The course is meant to play extremely firm and fast and usually has a steady breeze. These conditions force players to play with more imagination and use shot-making to get balls close. Here’s our full breakdown of the course and its key holes. Full breakdown
Storylines (not named Trinity Forest)
By Jordan Spieth’s standards, he has not had a great year to this point. He has two 3rds and 4 top 10s but is yet to truly be in contention on a Sunday. Spieth is a member at Trinity Forest and seems eager to get his 2018 season back on track. He is one of the best from tee to green and has the imagination required to succeed at Trinity Forest. The Byron Nelson is also the place where a 16-year-old Spieth made his PGA Tour debut in 2011.
As with every PGA Tour event in Texas, the state will be well-represented this week. There is a deep mix of native Texans with veterans like Jimmy Walker and young guns like Beau Hossler. Sergio Garcia is also a Texas transplant and there are a handful of Trinity Forest members in the field.
The conditioning of Trinity Forest is drastically dependant on the weather cooperating this week. There has been some rain early in the week, but the forecast looks dry for the rest of the tournament. Temperatures are supposed to get into the high 90s and low triple digits with moderate winds. For television fans, this is exactly what we should hope for in order to see Trinity Forest’s full potential. For onsite fans, that’s a tough break!
U.S. Open Exemptions
The top 60 in the world rankings after this week will be exempt into the U.S. Open in June. Chesson Hadley is currently your bubble boy at the 60 spot with Adam Scott, Thomas Pieters, and James Hahn the notables within reach of the 60th spot this week. Scott has played in the last 67 major championships contested, second only to Sergio Garcia (75). He will need a strong finish this week to make the necessary jump.
Since many players will be seeing Trinity Forest for the first time this week, Paulie likes players who have some experience at the golf course. Read his full breakdown for DraftKings and one-and-done leagues here.
Your second serving of green eggs and Hanse
Part two of the Gil Hanse podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher and the website. In this episode, we discuss some of Gil’s latest projects, how he’d split ten rounds of golf across America and much more. If you missed part I, check it out here.
A few more things on the course
Earlier in the year, we also put together an article on the par-4 6th, which has one of the more unique and interesting greens on the course. Check that out here.
The short par-4 5th has the opportunity to become one of the Tour’s best short par 4’s. Here’s a video of architect Bill Coore talking about the hole over a drone video.
Keeping up with the Glovers
In a piece of unfortunate golf news, Lucas Glover’s wife was arrested and allegedly charged with domestic battery and resisting arrest. After playing poorly on Sunday at the PLAYERS Championship, Lucas and his wife got in a verbal turned physical altercation. Read the full description of the incident here.
LPGA Tour heads to Virginia for the Kingsmill Championship.
For the first time since 2000, the European Tour heads to Belgium.
NCAA Regionals will wrap up on Wednesday. Follow along here and be on the lookout for our full breakdown of the qualifiers.
Newsletter written by Will Knights and Andy Johnson
Newsletter title thanks to @Carr4thecourse