Power Rankings: HP Byron Nelson Championship
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 Rank Player Comment Jason DAY The 2010 champ chased his breakthrough here with a solo fifth (2011) and a T9 (2012). Closed out a T19 at last week's PLAYERS with a 4-under 68. Fourteen consecutive cuts made; four top 10s this season. Ranks 14th in the all-around. Marc LEISHMAN Since sharing fourth at the Masters, he's kept it floored with a T9 at Harbour Town and a T8 at TPC Sawgrass. Repeated success in the breeziest of conditions is supported by a T8 (2009), T12 (2010) and T3 (2012) at TPC Four Seasons. Jimmy WALKER Closed out a T15 at THE PLAYERS with a field-low 67. Eight top 25s this season. Ranks 33rd in greens hit, 17th in strokes gained-putting, 10th in adjusted scoring and T1 in par-4 scoring. Leads the TOUR with 22 consecutive cuts made. Louis OOSTHUIZEN At No. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking, he's highest among the 156 in the field. Tied for 19th at THE PLAYERS for his third top 20 in his last four starts. Led the field at TPC Sawgrass in distance off the tee; ranked ninth in GIR. Matt KUCHAR Tied for 48th at TPC Sawgrass, but he's survived 14 straight cuts, four of which going for a top 10 this year. Sits 36th in strokes gained-putting and 17th in adjusted scoring. He's 5-for-5 at this event, including a T6 (2011) and T15 (2012). Ryan PALMER Comes off a T5 at THE PLAYERS during which he learned a long-time friend passed away. The Texan lost in a playoff at TPC Four Seasons in 2011 and placed T9 last year after holding the 18-hole lead. Proven to stay hot over multiple starts. Charl SCHWARTZEL First-timer at TPC Four Seasons. A T55 at THE PLAYERS ended his string of top 25s in stroke-play events at 13 straight. Ranks 33rd in strokes gained-putting, sixth in adjusted scoring and first in three-putt avoidance. Jason DUFNER The defending champ also finished T8 here in 2011. Still chasing his first top 10 on the PGA TOUR in 2013. Ballooned to a T62 at THE PLAYERS with a final-round 80. Ranks 41st in ball-striking and 57th in adjusted scoring. Keegan BRADLEY Broke through at this tournament in 2011 en route to Rookie of the Year honors. Tied for 24th in his title defense. He's missed his last two cuts, but he has five top 10s this season. Ranks 16th in adjusted scoring average. Ben CRANE A T8 at THE PLAYERS was the second top 10 in his last four starts (T4, Houston). Ranked fourth last week in strokes gained-putting; went 59-for-60 from seven feet and in. Tied for seventh at TPC Four Seasons in 2011. D.A. POINTS Six consecutive cuts made dating back to his victory in Houston. Also finished second in New Orleans. Top 20s in three of his last four appearances at TPC Four Seasons, including a solo third in 2009 and a T7 in 2010. Freddie JACOBSON His streak of consecutive top 25s ended at seven with a T48 at THE PLAYERS. Had been nursing a hip injury. Tied for 27th in his last trip to TPC Four Seasons in 2011. Sits eighth in both strokes gained-putting and adjusted scoring. Jordan SPIETH Making his third appearance at the site of his PGA TOUR debut in 2010 when he tied for 16th place. Three top 10s and another top 25 among six cuts made this season. Ranks 28th in adjusted scoring and T8 in par-4 scoring. J.J. HENRY The Fort Worth resident and TCU product is 10-for-11 at this tournament. Posted a career-best T3 last year when he sat one stroke off the lead entering the final round. Ranks inside the top 30 on TOUR in both fairways and greens hit. Robert GARRIGUS Just one top 25 in his last seven starts but has posted top 25s in three of his last four visits to TPC Four Seasons, including a career-best T9 last year during which he ranked seventh in total driving and T7 in greens in regulation.