Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Nelson event ends an era, LPGA Tour has battle for No. 1

Nelson event ends an era, LPGA Tour has battle for No. 1

But this season, we do have some headliners, including Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, and Brooks Koepka.

Reigning Masters champion Garcia made his PGA Tour debut here in 1999 and won the 2004 and 2016 Nelsons, making him the only two-time victor in 34 years in Irving. As a 16-year-old amateur, Spieth finished 16th while competing on a sponsor's exemption at a course he frequented as a Nelson spectator.

Spieth wasn't the only player to grab headlines that week.

So, with the Salesmanship club celebrating the AT&T Byron Nelson's 35 year run in Irving coming to an end, Earnest gets a special honor and invitation, and it was all a surprise.

Beginning in 2018, the AT&T Byron Nelson will be played at the Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas. "Hopefully I can go and visit them, instead of working for them, I can go and say 'hi!'"

"A little piece of heart is always going to stay here no matter where we go", he said.

In his last 10 starts, the former Masters champion has three top-six finishes and all in strong fields. Lost in a play-off last season and was top 20 in 2015. Mix that with two wins already in this tournament and two wins this season, Garcia is having a great year in 2017. Joel Beall joined me on this week's podcast to make our picks, wrap up the Players, and talk about the best shot at TPC Sawgrass last week that you probably didn't see.

Cardozo and Littlejohn have become fast friends too
Cardozo and Littlejohn have become fast friends too

The tournament's namesake saw Garcia tie for third in 1999, and five years later helped present the trophy after Garcia won there the first time.

The AT&T Byron Nelson has great success for Australian golfers with Adam Scott, Jason Day and Steven Bowditch winning in recent years and, earlier, Bruce Devlin and Peter Thomson who won his only PGA Tour title there in 1956. Sam Snead won the Dallas event in 1945, and Ben Hogan won in 1946. About $150 million has been raised through the years for an organization that annually serves 6,000 children and family members through education and mental health programs. Like Dufner, Kuchar has played the Byron Nelson every year since 2011, finishing T6 that year. She said it was hard to think about the tournament not being played there.

The course might not be universally admired, but what it does offer is a kind of parity in that long hitters have just two par-fives to go at, even if numerous par-fours are around 500 yards.

He came agonizingly close to winning a year ago, eventually losing to Sergio Garcia in a playoff, but Koepka returns to a favored track with form in his favor. The Cottonwood Valley course with a Texas-shaped first green was where Garcia shot that memorable 62. Throughout his relatively brief career, he won 54 times, including the 1939 U.S. Open, the 1937 and 1942 Masters and the 1940 and 1945 PGA Championships.

Hometown favorite Jordan Spieth, who missed the cut at last week's Players Championship, has had an up-and-down season but the twice major victor will command the support of galleries as he plays the first two rounds with fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar.

As can be the case at Sawgrass, it was in some respects a freakish result as an out-of-sorts and hitherto far-from-fit Si-woo Kim became the youngest ever victor of the so-called fifth major, with none of the fancied players offering any sort of challenge as the tournament unfolded. You could look at good drive percentage, but I'm going to remain focused on strokes gained metrics.

MS Dhoni shifted momentum in favour of RPS, claims Manoj Tiwary
Sundar added, "Washington was extremely fond of cricket and would come to watch us play at the Marina ground". Patel was of the opinion that the 160-odd that the Supergiant scored was "par score" on the Wankhede track.

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