The PGA Tour never takes a week off, even when they are coming off one of the largest events of the season. The Players Championship last weekend was thrilling from start to finish, with Jason Day the player who held off the chasing pack. Many of the big names who took part last weekend are taking a break this week, but there is still a solid field on tap for the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, Texas, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, May 17-20. The event will be held at the 7,380 yard Par 71 Trinity Forest course, which is a bit of a unique one given that it is a links style course much like we are more used to seeing in Europe. This is a going to be a test for all the players taking part, including the following bunch who are in as the favorites.
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This is a homecoming of sorts for the Texas native, and while he is sure to be the crowd favorite, as well as the player that the bookies like, he is going to need to be a whole lot better than he has been this season to get the win. Spieth has definitely not been at his best this season, and while he did make a run for a moment at the Players Championship last weekend, that run all fell apart on the final hole of the tournament where he carded a quadruple bogey. I am just not convinced that he is ready to break out and win this event.
It’s perhaps a sign that this is a weakened field when you have Matt Kuchar in as the second favorite. This is not to suggest that Kuchar is not a great player, it’s just that he hasn’t been on top of the leaderboard for quite some time. His best career year, when he had 2 tournament wins, came way back in 2013. He is certainly good enough to land in the top 10 in this field, but I would be very surprised to see him come out on top.
The Spaniard started this season in very good form, putting together 3 straight tournaments where he landed in the top 10. He has come back to earth with a resounding thud since then, though, missing the cut in three straight tournaments before making the cut at the Players Championship by the skin of his teeth. It can be argued that Garcia is the most talented player in this field, but his current form suggests that a win is still a long way off.
This is another player who is coming into this event needing a solid showing to get some confidence back. He has had back to back poor showings heading into this one, including a missed cut at the Players Championship last week. Matsuyama would need a bounce-back performance of epic proportions to land atop the leaderboard this week, which is why I am passing on him.
This is a tournament that routinely delivers unexpected winners, and I think we can expect more of the same this weekend. I am rolling the dice on Charley Hoffman. He finished second here last year and in the top 10 twice over the past 3 years of this event.