Fort Worth Invitational Preview

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, May 26th, 2018

Dean-Deluca-Invitational-Colonial-CC
TOM WARD
TOMPWARD@SBCGLOBAL.NET

The 72nd edition of the Fort Worth Invitational should be a real shootout with defending champion Kevin Kisner returning to the site of his greatest victory. He joins a stellar field this week battling to win the coveted Tartan Jacket and name etched on the Wall of Champions at one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.
There has only been one back to back champion at Colonial since its inception and that was Ben Hogan who did it twice back in 1946 and 1947 and then again in 1952 and 1953. Kisner will give it his best effort to add another Colonial title to his resume, but he’s got some tough competition to deal with this weekend.
One of those players is the 3rd ranked and current British Open Champion Jordan Spieth who loves the Colonial layout having won the title in 2016. Spieth also tied for 2nd in his other two previous attempts in the past 3 years. He comes into this tournament disappointed with his performance last week at the Byron Nelson tying for 21st. So Colonial could be the perfect tonic to resurrect his game especially on the greens where he has struggled last week.
Webb Simpson is back in action after his dominating win a few weeks ago at the Players Championship, Sawgrass. Other past Colonial winners include two-time champion Zach Johnson, 2014 champion Adam Scott, Chris Kirk, Steve Stricker, Rory Sabbatini to name a few. Last year’s runner-up Jon Rahm is one of my pre-tournament favorites to get the job done this week.
Other top 10 ranked players to watch out for are Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose. Also, attending are 2017 U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, SMU Alumni Bryson DeChambeau, Brandt Snedeker, William McGirt, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, Harris English, Xander Schauffele, Patton Kizzire, Pat Perez, J.J. Henry, Bill Haas, Charley Hoffman, Si Woo Kim, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Brian Harman. Several of these players have come close to winning the Fort Worth Invitational in past years.
Other 2017-2018 tournament winners in the field are Ryan Armour, Patrick Cantlay, Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr., Brice Garnett, Satoshi Kodaira, Andrew Landry and Scott Piercy.
Another local player to keep a close eye on is Colleyville resident and Colonial member Ryan Palmer. Palmer finished tied for 3rd in 2016 and his caddie James Edmundsen is also a member and a multiple past club champion at Colonial.
The tournament runs May 21-27 at Colonial Country Club, with a $7.1 million purse and 121 players. The winner’s share is a cool $1,278,000.
Tickets for Daily Grounds (Wed-Sun) are $50, Weekly Grounds Badge (Wed-Sun) – $125, Champions Club Badge $235, Champions Club Daily (Wed-Sun) – $95, Youth (ages 13-17) – $15, Ages 12 and under – FREE.  Tickets can be purchased online at fwinvitational.com (use a MasterCard online and get 10% off grounds tickets and public parking). Public parking at Farrington Field and Rockwood Lane for $15 daily in advance; or $20 cash at the lot on day of parking. Wednesday – Sunday at Farrington Field, Thursday – Sunday at Rockwood Lane. Includes air-conditioned shuttle bus service to and from Colonial. Due to construction around Farrington Field, the Rockwood Lane parking lot Is highly recommend Thursday-Sunday.
The tournament was founded 72 years ago in 1946, and honors the history of golf by using an official Scottish tartan plaid jacket for its champions and top committee chairmen.
Another tradition feeding Colonial history is the Wall of Champions on the first tee, engraved with the name and score of each champion dating back to 1946, plus the U.S. Open in 1941.
The tournament is unofficially associated with Ben Hogan (1912–1997), the long-time Fort Worth resident who won the tournament five times, the most of any player. One of the top players in golf history, he won nine major titles, six after a near-fatal automobile collision in 1949 that kept him hospitalized for two months. Hogan’s final three major wins were consecutive in 1953; a statue of him is prominently displayed near the clubhouse.
LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sörenstam played in the 2003 tournament and became the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event in 58 years, since Babe Zaharias made three cuts as an amateur in 1945. Sörenstam’s participation drew high media attention, but she shot 71 and 74 and missed the cut by four strokes.
The Fort Worth Invitational is one of only five tournaments given “invitational” status by the PGA Tour, and consequently it has a reduced field of approximately 121 players (as opposed to most full-field open tournaments with a field of 156 players). The other four tournaments with invitational status are the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the RBC Heritage, the Memorial Tournament, and the Quicken Loans National. This year the event currently has no sponsor, but will be sponsored by Charles Schwab beginning in 2019.
So what are Kisner’s chances to pull of the rare repeat? I think he’ll be in the mix especially considering the last three times he played in the tournament he finished tied for 5th, tied for 10th and won last year. During his pre- tournament press interview Kisner said about coming back to Colonial,
“Well, it’s one of my favorite golf courses on tour, so I love coming back here. I love being able to compete at Colonial. Really remember the final hole there in 2017 with Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm both chasing me down, and being able to make that up and down was the highlight of the tournament for me.”
2017 runner-up Jon Rahm likes the fact that Colonial is an old-school golf course. Rahm said, “I believe in old traditional golf courses that give any kind of player a chance to win. There are so many different ways of playing it. You can play it like I do and hit drivers all over the place and be aggressive. You can play it more conservative. Hit irons off the tee, and make sure you hit fairways. At the end of the day, you need to hit greens on this golf course. I’ve got good memories here having won the Ben Hogan Award twice.” The Ben Hogan Award is presented annually to the Top men’s NCAA college golfer. It would seem fitting if Rahm is finally able to close the deal and win at Colonial given his brief history at the golf club and with his association of the late, great Ben Hogan.
Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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