Power Rankings: 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson
May 14, 2018
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Jordan Spieth’s near-ace on No. 17 at THE PLAYERS
It's not often when the PGA TOUR descends on what is essentially a new golf course, but that's the reality at this week's AT&T Byron Nelson.
Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas hosts the 156-man field headlined by local native and resident Jordan Spieth. It opened in the fall of 2016. For much more on it, what it should challenge, how it should score and other nuggets, scroll beneath the ranking.
POWER RANKINGS: 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 15 Stephan Jaeger 14 Andrew Putnam 13 Peter Uihlein 12 Daniel Summerhays 11 Branden Grace 10 Ryan Palmer 9 Charles Howell III 8 Martin Laird 7 Adam Scott 6 Beau Hossler 5 Matt Kuchar 4 Billy Horschel 3 Marc Leishman 2 Jimmy Walker 1 Jordan Spieth
Sergio Garcia, Hideki Matsuyama and Brandt Snedeker will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Trinity Forest is unlike every other host course on the PGA TOUR. The irony is that there isn't a single tree on the 7,380-yard par 71. Situated inside the eponymous woodland south of downtown, it was designed and built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw on a landfill consisting only of inorganic material. For numerous reasons — including environmental, which is counterintuitive — the agreement was that no trees were to be planted.
There isn't a water hazard, either. And like a piano featuring an identical number of keys, the 88 bunkers will strike major, minor, diminished and augmented chords in targeting for course management due to the virtual absence of distance cues.
To the eye, it's a links-style layout sans the traditional out-and-back characteristic. However, in a recent press conference, Spieth downplayed the ground game usually required on tests that host The Open Championship, for example.
"It's like an American links," he said. "You've kind of got to play it from the air, not really a bounce-the-ball-up kind of links. … You get maybe four or five, six holes where you can bounce the ball up, but the way to get balls close is to come in with a higher shot."
Trinity Zoysia grass blankets everything but the greens and its length is universal at just shy of one-half of one inch, so there is no rough. The Champion bermudagrass putting surfaces will be prepped to run no faster than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter primarily so that the wind doesn't blow balls around. Due to these facts, the unfamiliarity for most in the field and the expected speed of the turf overall, the basic thinking of hitting fairways is superseded by placement off the tee. This will help mitigate distance and swing open the door for any skill set to contend and prevail.
In what was conducted in part as a test run for the AT&T Byron Nelson, Trinity Forest hosted the Texas State Open on the first four days of August of 2017. It played as a par 70 at 7,135 yards. With three 65s and a 67, Fort Worth's Brax McCarthy posted an eye-opening 18-under 262 en route to an eight-shot victory in both favorable and inclement conditions.
This week's forecast begins and ends with risk of rain and the potential of storms, but drier air will command the rest of the tournament. That will yield the storyline to the heat as daytimes highs easily should eclipse 90 degrees. Customary Texas winds will defend the course especially in the middle rounds.
The original nines were reversed for the AT&T Byron Nelson. It isn't unprecedented for TOUR officials to revise routing, but it is unusual that membership at Trinity Forest has retained it. The 471-yard par-4 11th plays as a par 5 for members. It also shares a 36,000-square foot green with the 412-yard par-4 third.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton reviews and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Facebook Live, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
THURSDAY: Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Champions One & Done
* - 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.