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BlogByron Nelson Preview and Picks

AT&T Byron Nelson

May 18th – 21st, 2017

TPC Las Colinas

Irving, TX

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,166

Purse: $7.5 million

with $1,314,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Sergio Garcia

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 30 of the top 100 and 14 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with four players from the top-ten #1 Dustin Johnson, #4 Jason Day, #5 Sergio Garcia and #6 Jordan Spieth. The other top 50 players are  #15 Patrick Reed, #17 Charl Schwartzel, #18 Louis Oosthuizen, #19 Brooks Koepka, #20 Matt Kuchar, #32 Brandt Snedeker, #35 Ryan Moore, #36 Marc Leishman, #42 Gary Woodland and #44 J.B. Holmes.

Last year there was 14 top-50 players in the field

The field includes 8 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players are #1 Dustin Johnson, #7 Jordan Spieth, #12 Russell Henley, #13 Sergio Garcia, #14 Brooks Koepka, #5 Marc Leishman, #19 Gary Woodland and #20 Hudson Swafford.

The field includes 9 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. Those players are #1 Dustin Johnson, #6 Jordan Spieth, #10 Sergio Garcia, #14 Marc Leishman, #15 Russell Henley, #16 Brooks Koepka, #18 Gary Woodland, #22 Louis Oosthuizen and #23 Hudson Swafford

The field includes eight past champions: Sergio Garcia (2016 & ’04), Steven Bowditch (2015), Brendon Todd (2014), Jason Dufner (2012), Keegan Bradley (2011), Jason Day (2010), Rory Sabbatini (2009), and Ernie Els (1995).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the AT&T Byron Nelson field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the AT&T Byron Nelson in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the AT&T Byron Nelson.  For our fantasy golf players looking to pick six players, check out our GOLFstats IQ section for the Byron Nelson, it will help you  make those DraftKings.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the AT&T Byron Nelson

Player The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Zurich Classic of New Orleans Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship Puerto Rico Open Arnold Palmer Invitational Valspar Championship
Brooks Koepka
(258.83 pts)
T16
(51)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T11
(52)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kevin Tway
(226 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
3
(90)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(223 pts)
T12
(57)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
DNP DNP DNP
Sergio Garcia
(216 pts)
T30
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(176)
DNP T30
(10)
DNP DNP DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(211.83 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T41
(12)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP
Ian Poulter
(190 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T41
(3)
T41
(3)
Charley Hoffman
(176.33 pts)
T30
(30)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T22
(37.33)
T23
(9)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Kuchar
(155.33 pts)
82
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T11
(26)
T4
(106.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(10)
DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
Jason Dufner
(144.33 pts)
T60
(0)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
T33
(22.67)
T12
(12.67)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP T11
(13)
Charl Schwartzel
(143.17 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(120)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP T45
(1.67)
6
(20)
Russell Henley
(141.17 pts)
T35
(22.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
T11
(52)
Win
(44)
DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
T9
(15)
Ryan Palmer
(127.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(123.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(52)
CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(10)
DNP DNP DNP
Bud Cauley
(120 pts)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T58
(0)
Sung Kang
(116.33 pts)
T30
(30)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Smylie Kaufman
(115.67 pts)
T12
(57)
T5
(70)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Ryan Moore
(107.33 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP T9
(60)
DNP T30
(10)
DNP T34
(5.33)
T18
(10.67)
Patrick Reed
(96.67 pts)
T22
(42)
T12
(38)
T14
(36)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP T38
(4)
J.B. Holmes
(95.5 pts)
T41
(13.5)
T36
(14)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 50
(1.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Julian Etulain
(95 pts)
DNP T36
(14)
T5
(70)
DNP 75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP DNP
Ollie Schniederjans
(91 pts)
DNP DNP T39
(11)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Seung-Yul Noh
(88.67 pts)
T22
(42)
T5
(70)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T78
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
J.T. Poston
(84.67 pts)
DNP T24
(26)
T32
(18)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP T14
(12)
Jonathan Randolph
(82 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
42
(8)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(80.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
T27
(30.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP
Nick Taylor
(76 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T44
(2)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T62
(0)
Scott Brown
(72.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T71
(0)
DNP T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Watney
(72 pts)
DNP T59
(0)
T5
(70)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
Kelly Kraft
(71.67 pts)
DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
T65
(0)
Tony Finau
(71 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
5
(23.33)
Billy Hurley III
(70.83 pts)
T41
(13.5)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Byeong Hun An
(70 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(22.67)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP T49
(0.33)
T49
(0.33)
Fabrizio Zanotti
(65.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP
Xander Schauffele
(65 pts)
DNP T24
(26)
T11
(39)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(64.83 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
T43
(9.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the AT&T Byron Nelson

Player The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Zurich Classic of New Orleans Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship Puerto Rico Open Arnold Palmer Invitational Valspar Championship
Steven Bowditch
(-46.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Malnati
(-44.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(4)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Brett Stegmaier
(-43 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T44
(2)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Every
(-41.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T62
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Patrick Rodgers
(-41.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Scott Piercy
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ernie Els
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
WD
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
53
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Greg Chalmers
(-34 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
Sean O’Hair
(-33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T49
(0.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
WD
(-1.67)
Robert Garrigus
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T52
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Since Tiger ran into the fire hydrant back in 2009 golf has gone through some peaks and valleys.  2016 was a great year for golf and the PGA Tour as interest hit new peaks with the advent of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson.  They proved to be popular players in which people flocked to events watching them play and television ratings increased.  Golf seemed to be gaining in popularity.  I personally felt that with DraftKings and fantasy Golf not only gaining popularity but acceptance and legal in 42 of the 50 states that it would grow even more.  But that isn’t happening, on the TV front after some gains on the west coast swing, the ratings went in the toilet starting with the final rounds at Phoenix, Pebble and Los Angeles.  Gains were made on the Saturday coverage but the last gain was in the third round of the Genesis Open in Los Angeles.  We started to realize the problem when the early rounds of the Masters was down, but even with a great finish and a popular winner in Sergio Garcia that final round ratings tied the lowest ratings since 1980.

Since then the ratings have been down every week and with a non-marquee winner of SiWoo Kim at the Players, those ratings was the lowest Sunday overnight since 1998.  Of course golf isn’t the only sport that is losing viewers, other sports and especially ESPN is being hit with low numbers as more and more people cut the cable cord.  Now the numbers could be misleading because the PGA Tour and NBC have such great phone and tablet apps that are have in some cases better viewing than HD televisions.  I know that several times this year I have watched golf on my Ipad and enjoyed it along with being able to leave the leaderboard up and having the freedom of watching golf not only in cars but at Washington Nationals games playing it while watching the baseball game.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years.  After the USGA and British Open gained big increases in their television contracts, not only was the PGA of America thinking of getting more for the PGA Championship and even the talk on the street was that the PGA Tour was going to exercise a loop-hole in the contract to opt out of their contract early from CBS and NBC.  With ratings down in not only golf but the rest of sports this may now not happen as networks are now thinking twice about overpaying for content.  Golf has always been a niche sport that gets top dollar from the networks because the PGA Tour helps sell some of the commercial time but still there are limits on how high these networks, especially CBS will go.  Many thought that Fox would be a player, but they are being stung by the high cost of their USGA commitment and would probably think twice in jumping into the PGA Tour area, specially if the price is higher than it is now.

SiWoo Kim wins the Players

Golf wise Kim is one of the great young stars on the PGA Tour.  He is just 21 and will have a birthday at the end of June so with two PGA Tour victories under his belt he should be considered one of the young starts along with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.  But just like the problems the LPGA suffered between 2005 and 2012 with great young Korean stars that spoke limited English this is a problem that the PGA Tour is now experiencing.  Even though he is a great young player, fans aren’t going to flock to watch him like they do for Spieth and Fowler.  So in a way his success isn’t helping the tour and could be hurting it since fans can’t embrace him.

Nelson event still struggles to get marquee players:

The Byron Nelson is a very complicated event.  Of all the tournaments on the PGA Tour, it’s always the top in giving money away, the Salesmanship Club which runs things does a first class job.  Every year it raises more money than any other tournament, in 2015 it raised $4 million (after expenses) and last year raised $5.8 million. Since the Salesmanship Club’s inception more than $149 million has gone to charities.  With it’s sponsor AT&T, they have donated millions of dollars in technology to the Momentous Institute as part of it’s new partnership, so the event will keep it’s spot as giving away more money to their charity than any other events on the PGA Tour. Another plus, the tournament has been embraced by the local Dallas community and is always well attended.

But the dirty little secret on the tournament, despite the perfect location of TPC Four Seasons Resort and the ability to give a lot of folks good vantage points to all of the actions the players don’t like the course.  Each year it’s voted one of the most unpopular courses in polls run by GolfWeek, Golf Digest and Sports Illustrated.  When Byron Nelson was still alive, out of respect to him they would show up, but since his death in 2006 marquee attendance has been low and the event doesn’t get the stellar fields it use to get.  The one good thing is that since so many tour players live in the Dallas area, there are more marquee players in the field than would be if this course was anyplace else.

In giving this some closure the fact is that these guys are playing for $7.5 million and someone will win $1.4 million for four days work so frankly it doesn’t matter what the course is like, there is a lot of money on the line.

Change is coming after this year:

This will be the last year the event is being played at TPC Four Seasons.  The Byron Nelson will move to a new course next year called Trinity Forest.  It will be on the other side of Dallas from it’s present home in Irving, Texas.  The course was built by the Coore & Crenshaw design firm and is on an old landfill along Loop 12, east of Interstate 45.  The golf course deal was conceived by top AT&T officials in conjunction with Southern Methodist University and the First Tee of Dallas. SMU will build a facility at the course for its golf teams, and First Tee will have the use of a small nine-hole course on the north end of the site.  The city of Dallas is mandating that 25 percent of rounds at the course be available for public play. But most of these will be through charitable tournaments or similarly organized events instead of individual daily-fee tee times.

Despite all of the changes that have been made to TPC Four Season it has never done the job in appeasing players.  So with a new course, that will be tailor made with this event in mind, it will become the sweetheart of the PGA Tour.  It’s funny, that was the thinking 15 years ago at the Shell Houston Open when they built their own course and things really didn’t work out that way.  The reason the event gets marquee names is the date, a week before the Masters which is a big draw.  But the course never became the sweetheart of the tour.  So will this change things?  Good question, guess we will have to wait another year but one thing is for sure, the design team of Crenshaw and Coore are the best and if anyone can build a course that players will like, this is the team to do it.  For now this will be a celebration for those that don’t like TPC Four Seasons as the PGA Tour bids a goodbye.

Things you need to know about the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic:

This will be the 64th edition of the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic, which was formerly called the Dallas Open. The TPC at Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas has been the main site of the tournament since 1986.

The inaugural Dallas Open in 1944 was won by Byron Nelson by a whopping 12 strokes.  Three annual tournaments were staged with Nelson winning the first, then Snead winning the next followed by Hogan winning in 1946.  After that the city couldn’t find a sponsor for the tournament and after a lapse of 10 years James Ling sponsored the event beginning in 1956.  The tournament has been played every year since then with the exception of 1963 when the PGA Championship was played in Dallas and in 1965 when the tournament was switched from September to the spring.  In 1967 the Salesmanship club took over sponsorship and the following year the tournament was renamed after Byron Nelson, who was born just outside of Dallas and had a 630-acre ranch in Roanoke, Texas.  The tournament is the 9th oldest active event on the PGA Tour and along with the Arnold Palmer Invitational is the only event named after former players.

Course information:

  • TPC Four Seasons Resort
  • Irving, Texas
  • 7,166 yards     Par 35-35–70
  • The TPC Four Seasons Resort has a 76.0 rating and slope rating of 142 from the championship tees. The course is part of the TPC network and has members but is open to those who stay at the Four Season Resort. The tees are TifSport bermudaGrass, the fairways and round Bermudagrass while the greens are Bent.  Last year the course played to a 69.12 average ranking the 32nd hardest course on tour.  In 2015 rain created a nightmare as the course needed to be alternated with five inches of rain on Thursday night and par was reduce to 69.  In 2014 TPC was the 14th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.541 average, a half a shot over par per round.  In 2013 TPC Four Seasons was the 18th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.413 average which was just a notch under a half a shot over par, per round.
  • It was designed and built by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and opened in 1983.  The course was remodeled in 1986 by Jay Morrish, Byron Nelson and Ben Crenshaw.  The course is on 150 acres of former prairie land that was transformed into a course that can stretch up to 7,200 yards. The average green size is 6,00 square feet, which is pretty much the average on the PGA Tour.  It features 68 bunkers and water comes into play on eight of the 18 holes.
  • Over the years the course has had several changes, but the biggest one came after the 2007 tournament.  D.A. Weibring was hired and his company came in and did some major renovations.  Basically he came in and redid the greens, fairways and tees.  But he didn’t do the job off the cuff. He did a lot of research by asking every player on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour who played the course for feedback.  He also got help from Tour players J.J. Henry and Harrison Frazar as well as architect Steve Wolfard.   Other than a couple of holes like 11, which now is a short par 4 that is driveable, the course was a lot different and took a while for many to understand all of the rolls and angles.  Still, the layout is the same so those that have done well in the past will do well again.
  • One of the toughest holes is No. 3, a 528-yard, par-4 which has water nearly the entire length on the right and bunkers on the left of the fairway.  It’s one of the hardest holes to hit the fairway on the PGA Tour and last year it played to a 4.158 average, ranking it the 171st hardest hole on the PGA Tour.  Over the years this hole has played really hard, in 2014 it was the 23rd hardest hole on the PGA Tour playing to a 4.350 average.
  • Another redesign came a couple of years later to it’s closing stretch which has made it more dramatic and included extensive tree landscaping, rebuilding the greens, bunkers and tee boxes, and included putting in a water hazard in front of 17 and the addition of a four-pond water cascade feature on No. 18.
  • Still at the end of the day it doesn’t make the course better, it just makes the course harder to play.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at TPC Four Seasons:

Last year’s AT&T Byron Nelson again had weather problems, but it wasn’t as bad as in 2015 when the par-4 14th hole was changed to a par-3. The course played to a 69.12 average and was the 32nd hardest course on the PGA Tour schedule in 2016. The par 70 course has never played as easy as it did last year. Between 2011 and 2014 it played over par each year, with the hardest being in 2011 when it’s scoring average was 72.35.
To be fair the course has never been a winner on the PGA Tour since it was first played in 1986. With it’s iconic host Byron Nelson, players attended the tournament out of respect to Byron, but after his death in 2006 attendance started to go down. Over the course of the last couple of decades, tournament officials worked hard to change some of the problems with the course, but nothing has seemed to help. Golf Digest ran polls in which TPC Four Seasons was in the top-ten of worst courses and in March of this year GolfWeek ran this article claiming the course was the worst as 14% of the 50 players asked said it was the worst.
The good news is that this will be the last year TPC Four Seasons will be used as a new course, Trinity Forest on the other part of town was built with the thought of holding this tournament. So for one last year Four Seasons will be used as many of the pros will be very happy to see it go.

So what is the key to playing TPC Four Seasons? First thing to understand is there are a lot of hazards like water, deep bunkers, rough and trees so it’s a strategic, thinking man’s course. Since 2011, in looking at the winners stats greens hit is important as five of the six winners were in the top-ten in greens hit with Jason Dufner leading that stat in 2012. Of the whole field it was 22nd last year as 65.44% of the players hit the green. Over the course of the last six years it’s ranked between 3rd (in 2011) and 29th so we pick greens hit as our first category. Last year Sergio Garcia won ranking T-4th in greens hit.
Second on our list is driving accuracy. This is a weird stat because of the different range over the years. Last year the field ranked 22nd in driving accuracy and in 2015 it was 21st. But in 2014 it was 8th, in 2013 was 9th, 8th in 2012 and 6th in 2011. So why the difference? Wet weather, in 2015 and last year the fairways were wet so ball didn’t run much. In the other years between 2011 and ’15 dry weather caused the course to be dry and the ball ran into more trouble. Now for this year in looking at the weather forecast, it’s calling for dry conditions on Thursday but rain moves into the area on Friday and by Saturday and Sunday it’s going to be very wet. Still we are choosing driving accuracy as our second category because the course has some tight holes with good size rough.
Third have to pick Parbreakers because you have to make a lot of birdies and since there are only two par 5s, the opportunities just aren’t there.
Last we pick Strokes gained putting. People don’t realize how important putting is and since the greens at Four Seasons don’t have much undulation and are perfect it’s very important to putting well.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is great barometer on how good players manage their games around TPC Four Seasons. Every year the players that hit lot’s of greens do well.

*Driving Accuracy: Percentage of fairways hit, it’s important to hit fairways in order to score well

*Par Breakers: Course always seem to give up a lot of birdies and eagles, so it’s a combination of both stats

*Strokes Gaining putting: A formula that determines which players pick up the most strokes due to making putts from different distances and the number of putts taken.

The 133 of the 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2017:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to all the stats for all 133 players in the AT&T Byron Nelson

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the  AT&T Byron Nelson:

Key stat for the winner:

  • TPC at Four Season is a strategic, thinking man’s type of course. You look at some of the winners, players like Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh, Jesper Parnevik, Loren Roberts, John Cook, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Scott Simpson, Nick Price and Fred Couples, and you can see what they have in common.  The course adds a lot of artificial hazard in the way of water, deep bunkers, rough and trees so you have to think your way around the course.
  • Experience use to be important in winning this event and if you look at the list of the champions since Byron Nelson took over in 1968 it’s a who’s who of golf.  This started to change a bit when Neal Lancaster won in 1994, but that could be counted as a fluke since the tournament was curtailed to 36 holes due to bad weather.  After that through 2008 the event still had great winners with Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, John Cook, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, Scott Verplank and Adam Scott winning.  But when Byron Nelson died in September of 2006, things started changing.  Marquee players didn’t show up and since 2010 four of the six winners have been first-timers and the exception to that was last year when Sergio Garcia won for the second time on this course.  Also Jason Dufner in 2012 won for the second time in his career.  So if the trend continues, look for a first-timer to win again.
  • So what is important to play well at the Byron Nelson?  It use to be hitting lot’s of greens.  Between 1998 and 2008 every champion except for two were in the top-nine in greens hit, with five of them leading that stat.  But with the redesign of the course in 2007, since 2008 only three of the nine winners have been in the top-six of greens hit with three of them outside of the top-35.  In 2016 Sergio Garcia ranked T4th in greens hit.  One trend that changed was fairways hit.  Between 2000 and 2010 the champions average rank in fairways hit was 25th.  But things changed, in 2011 Keegan Bradley ranked T-10th, in 2012 Jason Dufner was 2nd, in 2013 Sang-Moon Bae was T-39th while Brendon Todd was first in driving accuracy in 2014 while Steven Bowditch was T-16th last year.  In 2016 Sergio Garcia was T-43rd in fairways hit.  So in looking for a winner, start looking for guys that hit it straight and are still looking for that first PGA Tour win.
  • You have to place yourself high up the leaderboard going into the final round.  Since 2002 eight of the 15 winners either held or had a share of the third round lead.  Two of the winners were two shots back, two were 2 shots back with Sergio Garcia 3 shots back last year,  Sangmoon Bae 3 shots back in 2013 and Keegan Bradley 5 shots back in 2011.  But the fact is that going into the final round you have to be close, preferably with the lead.  Here is a chart that shows how the winners did after each round of the Nelson and how they stood.

Going back to 2005 most of the winners have something in common.  Seven of the 13 did not play well leading up to their Nelson wins, here is there best finishes in the five weeks before winning the Nelson:

Year-winner                                 Best finishes 5 weeks before

2005-Ted Purdy                               T-28th, Shell Houston

2006-Brett Wetterich      T-4th, Zurich Classic & T-6th Shell Houston

2007-Scott Verplank                             T-30th, Masters

2008-Adam Scott                                 T-25th, Masters

2009-Rory Sabbatini                      T-2nd, Zurich Classic

2010-Jason Day                     T-22nd Heritage, Quail Hollow

2011-Keegan Bradley                   T-26th, Zurich Classic

2012-Jason Dufner                         Win, Zurich Classic

2013-Sangmoon Bae                     T-33rd, The Players

2014-Brendon Todd                         T-38th, Heritage

2015-Steven Bowditch              T-37th, Puerto Rico Open

2016-Sergio Garcia                       3rd Spanish Open

So what does this mean?  That players don’t have to be playing well leading into the Nelson.  Also since six of these 12 won for the first time that means about a quarter of the field this week could win.

Now I don’t want to jinx the tournament, but weather in Texas is always dicey for this week.  Despite the weather being good for the practice and Thursday rounds, things will grow worst on Saturday night with high winds and rain, Saturday and Sunday could be hard to finish.

 

 

 

Who to watch for at the AT&T Byron Nelson

Best Bets:

Dustin Johnson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T12 T8 T7 T20 T7 T4 T63

Are you or anyone else going to bet against him? His game is just too good right now, even at his worst last week at the Players he was still able to finish T-12th. In 7 starts at the Nelson been in the top-ten, 4 times.

Sergio Garcia

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
Win T20 T19 70 CUT T35

About the only other guy that I can see playing well this week, yes he wasn’t the best at the Players but should improve this week.

Brooks Koepka

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
2 T16 CUT

Makes a lot of birdies because he makes a lot of putts, bit worried that he may not hit enough greens but he almost won this last year. He is way overdue for the winners circle.

Best of the rest:

Charley Hoffman

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T12 T2 T8 T41 CUT CUT T23 T7 CUT T8

Has a great record at TPC Four Seasons, finishing four times in the top-ten including a runner-up in 2015. Has also been steady this year showing he is ready to win again in Texas.

Louis Oosthuizen

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T11 WD CUT

Watch out for him, played well at the Players on a course like TPC Four Seasons that you have to hit a lot of greens.

Tony Finau

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T12 T10

Like him a lot, course is good for him as he is 4th in greens hit this year and 17th in parbreakers. Yes he has missed his last two cuts but was T-3rd in Texas Open.

Jason Dufner

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T24 T8 T48 T33 Win T8 CUT

Always seems to make cuts and finishing well in this event, past champion that could do well again.

Bud Cauley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T4 CUT

Has played great of late, top-tens in his last three starts and was T-4th at TPC Four Seasons last year.

Solid contenders

Kevin Tway

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT

He is hot, hot, hot and I fell he will continue to be hot. He doesn’t have the stats in accuracy to do well this week, but he is on a roll and it should continue.

Jason Day

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T27 T9 5 Win

Showed early signs of playing well at the Players until he played his last 36 holes in which he was 9 over. Could he play well this week, yes. Don’t want to place much on him but you never know.

Matt Kuchar

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
3 T39 T7 T33 T15 T6 T39 T42 T39

Like Day has been very inconsistent this year. Perfect example is shooting 82 in the first round of the Players, then 81 in the final round wedge with rounds of 73-71.

Long shots that could come through:

Nick Watney

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10 T8 T31 CUT T61 CUT

His game has been coming around, in his last two Nelson starts was T-10th in 2015 and T-8th in 2011.

Ian Poulter

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT T35 T3

He is back in his element after finishing runner-up at the Players, was T-3rd in this event in 2007 so anything is possible.

J.J. Spaun

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Has all the key stats to do well this week, has never played in this event so matches a lot of others that have won here in the past.

May be the local favorite but a waste to bet on him this week:

Jordan Spieth

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T18 T30 T37 T68 T32 T16

Has never had a great finish in this event and he did miss the cut at the Players. But if he gets his putter in shape you never know what he can do but I just don’t see it happening.

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