HP Byron Nelson Championship To Leave Irving In '19 For Southern Dallas Location
The HP Byron Nelson Championship is “getting a new home in southern Dallas” after tournament officials “agreed to move the PGA Tour event to the Trinity Forest golf course in 2019,” according to a front-page piece by Bill Nichols of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The tournament is “contracted with Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving through 2018,” and the event has been played there since ’83. Landing the 10-year contract “is critical to the Trinity Forest project, which involves the city of Dallas, future Nelson title sponsor AT&T, Southern Methodist University and the First Tee of Greater Dallas.” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that although the contract “states that the tournament must relocate to Dallas by 2019, it could be sooner.” Rawlings “envisions the Trinity Forest course as a sort of Cowboys Stadium of golf.” Salesmanship Club of Dallas President Charley Spradley, whose group oversees the tourney, said that Nelson officials “have not discussed breaking the Four Seasons contract.” Losing the tournament “will strike a blow to Irving,” as the Nelson “accounts for tens of millions of dollars in economic impact each year” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/15). Nichols noted the Trinity Forest idea “was hatched on the belief that a bold championship course created by one of the world’s top design teams will lure the big-name players who have skipped the tournament since Byron Nelson died in 2006.” Golfer and Dallas native Justin Leonard said, “That’s the only way, honestly, to keep the tournament going. Not just to improve it, but to keep it going, because it’s a struggle with that golf course.” Golfer Bob Estes: “The golf course probably keeps some players from not playing the Byron Nelson. ... But building a new golf course and taking it away from the Four Seasons isn’t necessarily going to guarantee you the best field on tour” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/12).
THE FUTURE IS NOW: Tournament officials yesterday said that the Nelson “will maintain the same position on the PGA Tour schedule in 2014.” In Dallas, Nichols & Townsend note the Nelson “benefited from the European Tour’s BMW Championship being switched a week later this year.” Not conflicting with the European Tour’s “flagship event added some big international names to the field” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/15). But in Ft. Worth, John Henry notes just six "of the top 25 golfers in the world" are scheduled to play in this week event, with No. 7 Louis Oosthuizen the highest-ranked player with a tee time (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/15). GOLFCHANNEL.com’s John Hawkins noted the Nelson “used to be one [of] the true hotspots on the PGA Tour.” There were “huge crowds, great weather -- the first big gathering of top-tier players after” The Masters. But now “those days are gone.” Hawkins: “The biggest name in this year’s field is probably John Daly, which is saying something” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 5/13).