Sports Network Selections
- Pick To Win:
- Ian Poulter
- Danny Lee
- Last Week's Pick To Win - Zach Johnson
- Finished tied for 19th
- Last Week's Darkhorse - Robert Streb
The PGA Tour remains in the Lone Star State for one of the most storied events
on tour, as players begin gearing up for the U.S. Open Championship in
three weeks. Eight of the top 25 players in the world, including Masters
champion and Texas native Jordan Spieth are expected to compete. The purse
increased $200,000 from last year to $7.1 million, with the winner receiving
Spieth is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 2 in the world. He
finished tied for second last week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at
Colonial in Fort Worth. Spieth has two wins and three runner-up finishes this
season. He currently leads the money list with over $5.6 million in earnings.
Spieth finished tied for 16th at this tournament in 2010 as a 16-year-old
in his first PGA Tour event.
The 9th-oldest tournament on tour -- not including the majors -- the AT&T
Byron Nelson is one of only two events named for a player. The other event
is the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which was known as the Bay Hill
Invitational until 2007. Nelson has had his name attached to this tournament
since 1968. This will be the ninth staging since Nelson passed away at the
age of 94 in September of 2006.
This week, Brendon Todd will try to become the first player since Tom Watson
in 1978-80 to successfully defend his title. Only Watson, Sam Snead and Jack
Nicklaus have won consecutive titles, with Watson winning three in a row.
Previous winners of this prestigious event include: Snead, Nicklaus, Watson,
Ben Crenshaw, Payne Stewart, Nick Price, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods,
Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. International
players have had great success the past several years, winning seven times in
the last 13 seasons.
Last year, Brendon Todd carded rounds of 68-64-68-66 to claim his first PGA
Tour title. Todd ended at 14-under-par 266 at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas for
a 2-stroke victory over Mike Weir.
Todd became the 11th player to capture his first PGA Tour victory at this
event, joining Don January (1956), Charles Coody (1964), Mark Hayes (1976),
Neal Lancaster (1994), Robert Damron (2000), Ted Purdy (2005), Brett
Wetterich (2006), Jason Day (2010), Keegan Bradley (2011) and Sangmoon Bae
In 2011, Bradley parred the first playoff hole to defeat Ryan Palmer and earn
his first PGA Tour title. He became the first rookie to win this tournament.
Bradley shot rounds of 66-71-72-68 to get in at 3-under-par 277. Palmer rolled
in a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation to force the playoff.
Palmer's birdie on the 18th was one of just two on that hole in the final
round. Bradley went on to win the PGA Championship in 2011 in his first
appearance in a major and was named the 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
Bradley's 3-under-par total in 2011 was the highest winning score in relation
to par since Bruce Lietzke's 1-over-par total in 1981. It was the highest in a
non-major since David Duval's 3-under winning score at the 1999 Players
Rory Sabbatini grabbed the lead for good with a birdie on the 11th hole in the
final round, but needed four more birdies to secure his 2009 win. Sabbatini
closed with a 6-under 64 to finish with a 72-hole scoring record of 19-under-
par 261. He bested the old mark of 262, which Loren Roberts and Steve Pate set
in 1999. The win was Sabbatini's fifth on the PGA Tour. With the victory,
Sabbatini became the 14th player to win Nelson's and Ben Hogan's (Colonial)
tournaments. His final-round, 6-under 64 was the lowest final round by a
winner at this event since Peter Thomson fired a 63 in 1956.
In one of the most emotional victories on tour, Scott Verplank captured the
2007 tournament, as he fashioned four sub-70 scores to clip Luke Donald by a
shot. The Dallas resident, who had strong ties to the late tournament host,
overcame a 3-shot deficit during the final day to claim his fifth career win.
The victory came in his 21st appearance at the tournament, the most starts by
a winner claiming his first Byron Nelson title.
Verplank became the sixth player over the age of 40 to win here, joining Snead
(1957-58), Roberto de Vicenzo (1966), John Cook (1998), Roberts (1999) and
Woods missed the cut at the 2005 event. It marked the first time he missed a
cut on the PGA Tour since he withdrew from the 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National
Pro-Am, ending his PGA Tour record of 142 consecutive events in the money. In
nine appearances at this tournament, Woods has six top-5 finishes, including a
win in 1997.
Nelson won the first Nelson Championship in 1944 and went on to win the
season-long money title. There have been five other players to accomplish that
feat: Hogan (1946), Nicklaus (1971), Watson (1978-80), Woods (1997) and Singh
(2003). Watson, a 4-time winner, has finished in the top ten 14 times and
made the cut in 23 of 28 Nelsons.
The PGA Tour travels to Ohio next week for the Memorial Tournament at
Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, where Hideki Matsuyama will defend his
05/26 16:15:26 ET