AT&T Byron Nelson Says Goodbye to Irving

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, May 20th, 2017

byronnelsoneanchorexaminercom

 TOM WARD
TOMPWARD@SBCGLOBAL.NET

This Sunday when the final putt drops and a new Champion is
crowned at the AT&T Byron Nelson it will end a successful 35 year
association with the city of Irving and the TPC Four Seasons. Next
year’s tournament will be held at the new Trinity Forest Golf Club in
Dallas.
Two PGA Tour players (Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth) have mixed
emotions when it comes to saying goodbye to a venue that has special
meaning to both of them. Defending Champion and current Masters
Champion Sergio Garcia spoke earlier in the week at his press
conference about coming back to defend the title.
Garcia said, “Obviously it’s great to be back here, back here as
the defending champion of the AT&T Byron Nelson and two time champion
so, it’s always — it’s a very special place for me, it’s where I
started my PGA TOUR career. So, it’s always fun to come back. And, to
do as defending champion, it’s even better. So, very excited about it,
hoping to be here on Sunday late afternoon it would be a nice thing to
have, nice feeling to go through again but, you know, it’s going to be
a long week and we had to prepare the best way possible and see what
we’re able to do out there.”
Garcia was asked if he would be sad to leave TPC Four Seasons
after this year?
Garcia replied, “Yeah, obviously I’m going to be sad to leave
here because it’s a place, like I said before, not only because I won
twice here and I’ve done well but it’s where I started my PGA TOUR
career as a professional. It’s always going to have something extra
special in me, this golf course. So, yeah, it will be a little bit
sad, no doubt about it. I’m sure the new place we’re moving to, it’s
going to be amazing, too, but there’s always going to be like I said,
you know, the opening ceremony of the tournament, a little piece of
heart is always going to stay here no matter where we go. But, we’re
excited about coming last week here and hope to make the most of it.”
Garcia who was born in Spain has quite a Texas connection having
won the Nelson twice as well as donning the plaid jacket at Colonial,
site of next week’s Dean & Deluca Invitational, a few years ago. Now
he’s engaged to a Texas girl and will be marrying into a Texas family.
He was asked if he and his fiancée Angela ever laugh about his Texas
connection and has he started to talk with a Texas twang yet?
Garcia chuckled saying, “Well, y’all — no.(which brought a big
laugh from the reporters in attendance). But, yeah, it is funny how
things work out. You don’t plan for these things but I’ve always had a
good connection with Texas for whatever reason that’s been, I’ve been
successful here throughout my career. Now, like you said, getting
ready to marry a Texan girl, Longhorn girl, so, yeah — but it’s all
great fun. We enjoy every minute of it and we’re excited to what the
future holds for us. So, you know, hopefully many more good things
will come out of Texas for us and, you know, we enjoy it here. So it’s
good.”
Local product and fan favorite Jordan Spieth would like nothing
better to win the last Bryon Nelson held at the TPC Four Seasons.
Spieth made a big splash on the golf scene seven years ago at this
tournament when he finished tied for 16th as a junior in high school.
Shockingly, it’s still his best result in six starts at the Nelson,
but the two-time major champion hopes all that will change this week.
Speith was asked to talk about his thoughts knowing that this is the
last time the Nelson tournament will be on this course…..a course he
always got to play as a teenager and kind of embark on a career and
dream.
Spieth stated, “Not only that it’s actually a course where we
hosted my foundation event every year. It’s a very special place for
our family and friends. It’s very bittersweet. Obviously fantastic
memories and looking forward to creating new ones this week and
hopefully the best ones yet, but also moving over to a course where
I’m a member as well. So, I’m really focused on this week and after
that, you know, obviously there’s a lot of people here at Four Seasons
Club that have just done a phenomenal job over the years. It’s one of
the best events of the year. It’s a busy one for us but it’s made so
easy by the staff here and it will be difficult to replace that level
and so it’s a bit bittersweet. I’m looking forward to creating the
best memories yet this week. I really like to get my name there by
Byron’s statue after coming out and looking at all those names for so
many years.”
Spieth and Garcia will have their work cut out for them this week as
World Number #1 player Dustin Johnson might have something to say
about who will hold that coveted trophy come Sunday evening.   Johnson
has had success at the Byron Nelson over the years with 4 Top-10s, and
6 Top-25s.
Johnson stated, “I’m starting to hit the ball a little better
than I have the last couple of weeks. That’s definitely a
positive. This golf course I feel like it’s — it sets up well for me
and I’ve liked it ever since I came here. The greens are really good,
so you can make a lot of putts if you’re hitting good shots. But,
yeah, I don’t know. I just always liked this course.”
You’ve obviously had a lot of success here as people mentioned
it earlier here in this news conference. What about this course will
you miss and do you have a favorite memory from all your years here?
Johnson replied, “I mean I like the golf course. Obviously I’ve
done well here so I’ll definitely miss that and then staying here
on-site, you know, you can walk to the range or to the locker room and
there’s a great gym here. It’s a pretty good set-up and, you know, I
like that. So, I’ll definitely miss that next year.”
The Nelson has a stellar field as Ian Poulter from England comes
into town having finished in a tie for 2nd last week at the TOUR
Championship in Florida. Of course there are the usual suspects that
should be a factor in determining who win will the final championship
held at TPC Four Seasons. Players like Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed,
Matt Kuchar, and former world number #1 Jason Day.  Also joining the
final field are past champions Steven Bowditch, Jason Dufner, Keegan
Bradley, Brendon Todd, Rory Sabbatinni, Vijay Singh, and Ernie Els.
There are a number of players who live in the area or have a
significant Texas connection worth keeping an eye on. Ryan Palmer from
Colleyville, J.J. Henry (Fort Worth), John Huh (Dallas), Martin Flores
(Dallas), Kelly Kraft (Dallas), and Hunter Mahan (Dallas) are some of
players to name a few. Having a Texan win here for the last time would
be a popular win embraced by the locals.
Regardless of who will go home with the prestigious trophy
bearing the legendary Byron Nelson’s name the big winner will be the
Momentous Institute, a nonprofit operated by the Salesmanship Club.
The organization serves 6,000 kids and family members directly each
year through mental health and education programs. The AT&T Byron
Nelson is hosted by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and has been a
premier PGA TOUR event for 49 years. The tournament has raised more
than $150 million since its inception in 1968, making it the most
financially successful charity event on the PGA TOUR. The AT&T Byron
Nelson is one of North Texas’ biggest sports attractions and most
anticipated social events of the spring.
So make sure you head out this weekend and checkout the action on
the links and enjoy all the other amenities available once you get on
the grounds as there are a lot of fun activities for everyone. To
order your tickets go to www.attbyronnelson.org

Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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