Man-of-the-hour Sergio Garcia continues to hold the headlines as he defends his title at the AT&T Byron Nelson this week.
Just over a month after winning his first major at the Masters, the now world-number-five returns to Dallas as defending champion after overcoming a three-shot final-round deficit for a play-off win over Brooks Koepka last year.
In his first start since Augusta National last month, the Spaniard went well at THE PLAYERS Championship – including a well-enjoyed ace on the 17th during the first round – before a final-round 78 dropped him down to tied 30th.
Garcia, who also won this event in 2004, is not the only returning champion from inside the world’s top 10 as Jason Day (2010) and Adam Scott (2008) also make their way to Texas this week. Day is another who, defending his title, began strong at TPC Sawgrass last week only for a final-round 80 to ruin his card; whilst Adam Scott had a solid week finishing in tied sixth.
World-number-one Dustin Johnson, whose complete dominance came to an end with a tied 12th at the weekend, is joined by fellow world-top-20 players in Dallas-native Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oothuizen, Matt Kuchar and last year’s runner-up Koepka. The star-studded list makes up a surprisingly strong field immediately after golf’s ‘fifth major’.
It’s the swansong year for the host course, TPC Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas, as the event moves to the Trinity Forest Golf Club next year. Designed by the tournament namesake Byron Nelson and Jay Morrish, it’s a fairly average 7166 yards relative to its par of 70. However, there’s a tense finish for all players through the final two holes as the 200-yard par-three 17th builds an atmosphere to challenge the likes of the 16th at TPC Scottsdale and the 18th features green-side water guaranteed to spoil a few rounds.
On the back of one of the golfing calendar’s biggest events at THE PLAYERS, the AT&T Byron Nelson should be proud of the strength of field they have attracted and golf fans worldwide should be excited for a highly competitive week ahead in Texas.