Unlike the first stop during this fortnight through Texas, Colonial Country Club has required the combination of course experience and success before reaching the top of the leaderboard. Since Sergio Garcia prevailed in his debut at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational in 2001, among the tournament's champions, only Adam Scott in 2014 hadn't recorded at least one top-15 finish in a prior edition, and only Steve Stricker (2009) also hadn't logged at least one top 10.
Until Jordan Spieth prevailed at Colonial last year, the other commonality among winners post-Garcia's title was age, or aging to emphasize the message. All of the previous 14 winners were at least 30 years old. Five were at least 42, including Kenny Perry twice (2003, 2005). The average age among them was 37.86. Spieth was 22 but already in his fourth appearance.
Tuesday's Fantasy Insider will include two-time DEAN & DELUCA winner Phil Mickelson, 2016 runner-up Harris English and THE PLAYERS champion Si Woo Kim among other notables.
Contributing to the narrative that varied experience is a prerequisite for success at Colonial, other than the winners-only SBS Tournament of Champions and World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, no tournament that has existed as long at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational has gone this long without a first-time winner. Garcia is its last.
As Tuesday's Comfort Zone will illustrate, the value of experience at Colonial supersedes a particular style that performs well on the course, but because it's a par 70 tipping at 7,209 yards, it wouldn't be wrong to label it as a second-shot track. It's a skill that will be absolutely necessary with what Mother Nature has cooking this week.
Sustained breezes from 10-20 mph will be the norm during the first two rounds, but there's unlikely to be much abatement on Saturday. The finale sets up as the best day for scoring, but the threat for rain and thunderstorms is greatest on Sunday. It would also be a surprise if every daytime high temperature doesn't reach or eclipse 90 degrees.
In similarly warm, windy and humid conditions last year, the field averaged 70.197. That's in line with recent history at Colonial. With a birdie-or-better percentage of 25.93 (10th-lowest of the season) and a scrambling clip of 57.06 percent (17th-lowest), the premium is, indeed, on hitting greens in regulation. Last year's field averaged 11.83 per round for the week. Bentgrass greens have been prepped to touch 12 feet on the Stimpmeter this week. Bermudagrass is grown everywhere else and will measure as long as two-and-three-quarters inches in the primary rough.
ROB BOLTON’S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Comfort Zone, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done, Expert Picks-PGA TOUR Champions One & Done presented by SERVPRO
THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, One & Done and Champions One & Done presented by SERVPRO
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.