The AT&T Byron Nelson At TPC Craig Ranch Is The Perfect Primer For The PGA Championship
Ah yes, the Byron Nelson. One of the oldest stops on Tour, dating back to 1944. Formerly known as the Dallas Open, this tournament has been played at a variety of courses in the DFW area over the years. Most recently, the Byron Nelson has landed at TPC Craig Ranch, the 13th different course this tournament has been played on. Despite hometown guy Jordan Spieth withdrawing with a wrist injury, we've got a decent field here given next week is another major all the way up in Rochester, NY.
Last year KH Lee defended his 2021 title by going bananas on Sunday with a final round 63 to edge out Spieth. His -26 was the lowest in this long tournament's history, and bested his winning number from the previous year by a single shot.
Last year's leaderboard and recent winners:
For this tournament, TPC Craig North is playing as a Par 71 measuring about 7,414 yards. Last year it was a par 72 with the 12th hole playing as a par 5, but they've dialed it back a bit and made it a challenging par 4. All in all, it's a pretty long course but there are plenty of opportunities to score. Especially on the three Par 5's. It's a Tom Weiskopf design finished in 2004, and is named after real estate developer David Craig. Craig was adamant that he get the PGA Tour to his golf course, and pestered those in the know about how to make his course a PGA Tour destination. Mission accomplished.
You'll see in the diagram above that Rowlett Creek runs throughout the property. That's the real danger out there, and it presents some decisions as to lay up or send it on a good handful of holes. That will lead to a lot of mid to long irons from 175+. The scores from last year might make you think otherwise, but this isn't a smash and wedge fest like a lot of low-scoring Tour events. 3 of the 4 par 3's are from 200+ too. Needless to say, the course plays pretty long. Typical Texas.
Best Hole - 14th Hole Par 4, 330 yards
Love a good drivable par 4. Water all down the left, green complex slopes in that direction… great risk-reward at play here smack dab in the middle of the back 9. They'll move the teebox around a bit to vary the distance, but I imagine most of the field will give this green a go, especially when the pin is anywhere but that far left shelf. Gonna be a fun one.
Yeesh. Could be a messy one.
CBS this weekend. The name "Byron Nelson" is one that's just so damn easy to hear in Nantz's voice.
Is that a… vase? Get this thing out of my face. 1/10.
Scottie Scheffler opened the week as a +400 favorite at the Barstool Sportsbook with Jordan Spieth coming in at +1000. When Spieth withdrew (along with JJ Spaun and a few others), that number shifted to as low as +300. It makes sense. He's head and shoulders the best player in this field and has the background and track record in Texas.
I'd rather lay some cash further on the board. Gonna roll with Adam Scott +3300. Adam has sneaky played some great golf over the past year. Bloke hasn't missed a cut worldwide since last year's PGA… so we're looking at nearly a full year and 21 straight cuts made. Better yet, he played some very solid golf last week at another long track, finishing T-5 at Wells Fargo against a much stronger field. Plus I've convinced myself that Aussie golf is much like Texas golf. Dried out firm courses with windy conditions. I don't have any hard numbers to back that up, but it makes sense in my brain. Just go with it.
Adam Scott Top 10 +335
Jason Day To Win +1600/Top 10 +163 - Aussie angle applies here too huh? Just a couple former world #1's duking it out.
Min Woo Lee To Win +4500/Top 10 +400/Group D +350 - I swear I didn't mean to go all in on Aussies
Jimmy Walker Top 10 +800/Top 20 +350 - Jimmy's sneaky starting to find it again… Top 25 in each of his past 4 tournaments, 2 of which were elevated events. It is PGA szn after all…. (ignore the fact that Baltusrol was in July)
James Hahn Top 20 +550 - Placed T-9 here last year
Hole in One - No +138 - Ok… lame side to pick here but the par 3's are no picnic outside of #17.
And that's it. One of my shorter ones…. big time ready for Oak Hill next week. LFG.