Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
Beginning with this week's HP Byron Nelson Championship, the PGA TOUR embarks on this season's second (and final) two-event swing through Texas. After previous stops in Houston and San Antonio, the focus over the next fortnight will be centered firmly over the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Nelson won the inaugural edition of this tournament in 1944 in what was the only time Lakewood Country Club in Dallas hosted. It bounced around the Big D before steady stints at Oak Cliff Country Club (1958-1967) and Preston Trail Golf Club (1968-1982), but Irving has been home since.
TPC Four Seasons hosted singularly in 1986-1993 and again since 2008. Cottonwood Valley Course co-hosted one round pre-cut in the interim. All of the last five champions have either won a major or participated in the Ryder or Presidents Cup. The last four are scheduled to compete this week; all but Rory Sabbatini (2009) are featured below.
The Jay Morrish design was renovated by D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolford in just about any way possible in advance of the 2008 edition. Always a par 35-35=70, the course has measured 7,166 yards since the redo. The par 5s serve as the antepenultimate holes on each nine. Golfers will want to pounce on both as the duo averaged 4.64 in 2012. The 528-yard third has ranked annually among the most difficult par 4s on TOUR. Last's year's scoring average of 4.320 ranked T28 of 526.
Overall, TPC Four Seasons averaged 71.087 strokes in 2012, fourth-highest among 13 par 70s in non-majors. It's ranked inside the top 10 in fewest fairways hit in each of the last five years (52.47 percent in 2012). Hitting Bentgrass greens that average 6,000 square feet in regulation is no bargain either. Last year's GIR clip of 62.40 ranked 17th-lowest among all courses last season. And saving par is even more challenging. The course registered a scrambling percentage of 52.78 in 2012, its second-lowest of the last five editions.
There are hazards all over the property but the primary challenge is negotiating the wind. Once again, it's expected to blow pretty good, with sustained breezes approaching 20 mph throughout the week. High temperatures will climb into the upper 80s by the weekend. A gradual threat of inclement weather will complement the warming trend.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among winners since 2008, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
|Power Rankings: HP Byron Nelson Championship|