If you’re an avid golf fan you will probably remember last year’s AT&T Byron Nelson for one thing. Rain. The weather was absolutely horrendous during Steven Bowditch’s win at TPC Four Seasons last time, leading to some ‘interesting’ golf. It got so bad at one part of the course that the 406 yard par four 14th hole had to be shortened to a 104 yard par three for the last three rounds. There is yet more rain forecast this week but thankfully it’s not expected to be quite so biblical.
Presuming that large sections do not have to be cordoned off again, TPC Four Seasons is going to play as a par 70 that measures 7,166 yards. That’s a relatively short length, for a PGA Tour course at least, and that will prick more than a few ears up. A short course with wet greens? Sounds like a bona fide bombers paradise. The event organisers aren’t scared about players getting birdies but to try and make sure that it doesn’t get silly they have lengthened the rough this year to make accuracy a touch more important. Still, there are going to be some very good scores out there and there’s always the chance of somebody going on a charge on Sunday to catch the leaders up.
When you think of big hitters who are capable of taking advantage of a wet course to shoot a ridiculously low score, one of the very first names that pops into your head is Dustin Johnson. Thankfully, for all you DJ fans, he’s playing this week and the omens look good. The American has never missed the cut at this event and the 62 that he managed in the third round of last year’s tournament is as good a score as he’s ever achieved as a pro. Johnson is going to hit the ball further than the vast majority of his competition this week and if his iron play is good he’ll take some stopping at odds of 9/1 with Bet365.
Charley Hoffman finished in a tie for second in the AT&T Byron Nelson last season but since then he has finally ended his Sunday woes at the Valero Texas Open. He’ll relish the return to Texas at a venue where he has notched up four top 10 finishes. Hoffman is a big hitter who can dial it back on the tighter driving holes. He’s also very solid with his approach play so it could come down to how many of his chances he can take. 25/1 with Ladbrokes says he can take enough of them.
Charl Schwartzel was one of the very few players to give the Players Championship a swerve last week and his appearance in the field this week should let everybody know just how confident he is of winning in Texas. The South African is pure class and already has three worldwide wins this season. Schwartzel will not be able to keep up with Johnson in terms of distance but his ball striking will guarantee him plenty of birdie opportunities on soft greens and at 28/1 with Bet365 he cannot be ignored.
Also this week: Dubai Duty Free Irish Open