The PGA Tour has swept through North Texas the past two weekend as the AT&T Byron Nelson and Dean & DeLuca Invitational drew huge crowds to see some of the biggest names in the sport on display on two very different golf courses.
Each and every year, the question comes up as to which event is better and although the two events are as different as Dallas and Fort Worth, let’s take a look and see if we can break things down scientifically, à la SMU graduate Nick Bakay back in the day on ESPN.
Jordan Spieth is the one of the biggest draws on the PGA Tour and he played in both the Nelson and Colonial. Spieth missed the cut at the Nelson, his first missed cut in his hometown tournament whose title sponsor AT&T is also one of his biggest sponsors. Spieth went into the Colonial as the defending champion and after missing three of his past four cuts, came within a single shot of making a playoff. His past three events in Fort Worth: 2nd, 1st and 2nd. ADVANTAGE: Colonial
Billy Horschel and Kevin Kisner were the winners of the respective events. Horschel’s win at the Nelson was his fourth on the PGA Tour. Horschel is a past FedEx Cup champion who came into the Nelson with four straight missed cuts. Prior to his win at Colonial, Kisner had one PGA Tour victory and six runner up finishes. ADVANTAGE: Push
The Nelson’s field featured four of the top six players in the world, including No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the player he dethroned from the top spot, Jason Day. The Colonial field was given a boost the week before the tournament when a late commitment from two-time champion Phil Mickelson boosted the interest in the event that also featured the first appearance from 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell. ADVANTAGE: Nelson
Colonial’s golf course is a classic venue that has hosted the U.S. Open (1941), The PLAYERS Championship (1975) and the U.S. Women’s Open (1991) in addition to the annual tour event since 1946. TPC Four Seasons in Las Colinas opened in 1983, the year after Jack Nicklaus won Colonial, and was built specifically to host the Nelson. 2017 was the last year that the Nelson will be played in Las Colinas as its 35-year run ended in favor of moving to the new Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas. While players mourned the loss of the Four Seasons Resort & Club and the surrounding Las Colinas locale, golfers praised the Colonial course and its history. Meanwhile, Colonial tournament officials are looking at a possible redesign of its course to make it a more challenging test. ADVANTAGE: Colonial
The scene at both tournaments is great, but the Byron Nelson appears to be roughly three times the scale of the Colonial on the social/party side of things. No. 17 at TPC Four Seasons is a grander version of the 13th at Colonial and the Nelson’s Pavilion can not be rivaled by the Champions Club. ADVANTAGE: Nelson
So when you step back and look at both events and compare the most important aspects from each tournament, the answer to the annual question of which tournament is the best is really a simple one: BOTH