The PGA TOUR is once again back in DFW and AVIDGOLFER will be along for the ride. The North Texas swing will have a little different flavor in 2019, as a scheduling change separates the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Charles Schwab Challenge. The Nelson will take place the week of May 6th through the 12th, followed by the PGA Championship the following week at Bethpage Black in New York. The newly titled Charles Schwab Challenge will follow the PGA the week of May 20th through the 26th. Many felt like the fields for both could suffer with the second major of the season pegged in between the two events, but despite that both fields are rock solid. The addition of Tony Romo to the Nelson field on a sponsor’s exemption adds intrigue and Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth give the field some star power. Colonial’s returning champ Justin Rose and young gun Justin Thomas give spectators a reason to head out to Colonial. Both events should be big hits for their respective cities. Don’t miss any of the action!
AT&T Byron Nelson 2.0 – May 8-12
What to expect at the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson
In 2018, the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and the AT&T Byron Nelson celebrated our 50th anniversary with our first event at Trinity Forest Golf Club. Come out and help us kick off our next fifty years this Mother’s Day weekend!
We are very proud of the results from our first year at Trinity Forest. This year we are upping our game to Plus Up the Spectator Experience:
• Shade structures increased around the course
• Ride-share drop-off location across from main entrance allowing spectators to walk right in
• Katy Trail Ice House Pavilion on the course
• Easy Spectator “Wayfinding” around the course
With that in mind…
What should you expect at the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson?
• Katy Trail Ice House Pavilion: The AT&T Byron Nelson is proud to announce a partnership with Katy Trail Ice House to offer spectators a brand-new pavilion experience. The Katy Trail Ice House Pavilion (open to all ages) will be located in the middle of the action at the corner of 4 green and 5 tee and remain complimentary with all tickets. The open-air, beer garden-style venue will include outdoor patio games, Katy Trail Ice House menu favorites with viewing areas to watch golf. The Pavilion will emulate one of Dallas’ favorite hot spots with nearly 20 giant trees from Fannin Tree Farm brought in to shade the patio deck.
• Shaded Golf Viewing Areas: MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Official Cancer Center of the PGA Tour and AT&T Byron Nelson, will provide additional public shade structures, covered stands, and free SPF 45 DRIVE sunscreen at eight stations throughout the course. Ten golf holes will have shaded bleachers or viewing decks near the action. Additionally, All spectator pathways will also receive an anti-dust treatment prior to the tournament.
• Ride-share: The ride-share lot will be located across from the main entrance. Spectators using ride-share services will be dropped off and picked up in a designated area, within a short walking distance to the main entrance.
• Wayfinding: New, large maps and directional signs have been installed, all tent structures are labelled on the gable end, and all TV towers will have large hole numbers printed on them, allowing spectators to easily find reference points for their favorite attractions.
In addition to the items above, complimentary parking and shuttles to all ticket holders will be provided to and from the general public parking at the State Fair – 2100 South Haskell Avenue, Gate 15 parking lot. An additional bus stop has been added from last year to reduce the walk to the bus line, the main entrance experience has been re-imagined, Kids Zone presented by Momentous Institute with a Mother’s Lounge is within a short walking distance from the main entrance. Make plans to bring your mom out on Mother’s Day as we have plans in place to honor all mothers in a special way as we crown our 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson Champion this year on Sunday. Golf has always been a family oriented sport and we can’t wait to celebrate with everyone’s family during this entire week.
Our player field is beginning to take shape. The commitment deadline for the field is Friday, May 3. Though the AT&T Byron Nelson sits in an earlier slot this year on the TOUR’s new schedule, you will clearly see more of the top-ranked international players come play at the AT&T Byron Nelson. In addition to Dallas’ own Jordan Spieth, world No. 3 Brooks Koepka, Ryan Palmer, Charles Howell II, Charley Hoffman; many international stars have either committed or are expected to do so in the coming weeks. These international players include; Ryder Cup stalwart and Olympian from Belgium Thomas Pieters, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, South African’s Brendan Grace and Justin Harding, Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard, Australians Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren.
The Trinity Forest Golf Club course layout is one of the easiest walks on the PGA TOUR as it lays out over a rectangular-shaped area that is approximately two and a half holes long by one hole deep. The course is built in the largest urban forest in the nation, the Great Trinity Forest, and surrounded on its edges by thousands of majestic hardwood trees. Most dramatically, it allows for spectators to watch multiple holes at the same time from a single location, and forces the players inside the ropes to think creatively about every shot as they work their way through the round.
Tickets remain on sale at attbyronnelson.org or ticketmaster.com.
We are proud to once again allow all fans 17 years of age and under, all active duty and retired military, and all first responder’s complimentary admission throughout the week.
More importantly, It’s More than A Game. Funds raised at the AT&T Byron Nelson benefit Momentous Institute and its education, mental health, research and training programs designed to build and repair kids’ social emotional health.
The Salesmanship Club of Dallas thanks you for your support of this tournament and for being a part of this caring community. We look forward to hosting you at the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson – May 8-12!
— JON DRAGO, AT&T Byron Nelson Tournament Director
Year one of the AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest wasn’t a complete success, but then again, it wasn’t a complete failure either. Schizophrenic weather and growing pains breaking in a new venue caused some problems, but overall, the facilities were met with positive feedback.
Trinity Forest, which is constructed on an old landfill in south Dallas, has plenty of room to grow and evolve into a top-notch facility for not only spectators, but for players alike.
As is the case with the Charles Schwab Challenge, the Nelson has been given the scheduling short end of the stick by the PGA TOUR. The Schwab is the week before the PGA Championship, and the Nelson now falls the week after the season’s second major. So, as with Colonial, officials aren’t certain what the field might look like the week after the world’s top players take a beating at Bethpage.
So, who is showing up to play at Trinity Forest?
Defending champ Aaron Wise will return after a record setting performance in 2018. Wise’s 23-under was the lowest score to par in tournament history and cemented the former Oregon standout as one of the best up-and-coming players on tour.
Joining Wise in the field this year will be multiple major champ and winner of back-to-back United States Open’s Brooks Koepka. The long hitting Floridian finished as the runner-up in the 2016 Nelson.
As of time of press the field also includes Dallas resident and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth. Although Spieth’s game has been a bit inconsistent over the last couple years, the 25-year-old is certain to have large crowds around as he navigates the links-style layout.
In addition, major winners Padraig Harrington and Jimmy Walker have committed to play, as well as young talent like Si Woo Kim and Beau Hossler. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention arguably the most notable participant in this year’s Nelson field, and that’s none other than former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and CBS lead color analyst Tony Romo. Romo was awarded a sponsor’s exemption for this year’s tournament and should draw new and curious fans to the venue to follow along with the 39-year-old. Romo, who carries a +1 handicap, was also given a sponsor’s exemption in 2018 when he played in the first edition of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship— previously the Web.com Tour event until it landed on the PGA TOUR schedule last year. Romo finished in last place, shooting a 15-over for the tournament, including a 10-over 82 in the second round.
Where are the best places to watch the action unfold?
Tournament organizers have retooled the spectator experience for 2019, after some criticism of the 2018 set-up. Many patrons felt there weren’t enough shaded areas or concessions readily available to help beat the heat. With no trees on the property, many fell victim to heat related illness during the steamy Friday round in 2018.
To help combat the lack of foliage, event organizers have added more shaded hospitality areas for 2019, additional public shade structures, covered stands, and misting systems have been added throughout the course. The last four holes will have shaded viewing areas near the rope line. All spectator pathways will also receive an anti-dust treatment prior to the tournament.
The Katy Trail Ice House Pavilion will be located in the middle of the action at the corner of 4 green and 5 tee. The open-air, beer garden-style venue will be complimentary with all tickets and include outdoor patio games, Katy Trail Ice House menu favorites, as well as areas to watch golf. The pavilion is open to all ages and should be a fantastic way to get out of the sun and still take in some of the action.
AT&T Fan Zone is the one-stop-shop for the ultimate-fan experience. Fans can enjoy the shade, keep up with the action on multiple video screens, and experience the latest products and offerings from AT&T. The Fan Zone will also offer extended concession and merchandise opportunities. Located at three different areas throughout the course, the AT&T Fan Zone is open to the public.
The Grey Goose 19th Hole is open to anyone age 21 years of age or older. This climate-controlled tent open to all spectators is located on near the 14th tee. Specialty cocktails are available for purchase.
The Lennox KidsZone is back for golf’s youngest fans at the event, and is a great place to let children enjoy some fun.
How much are tickets and how do I get them?
Single-day tickets are $45 per person, and provide access to the complimentary parking lots and the tournament grounds. All children 17 and under will receive free admission with a ticketed parent courtesy of Under Armour. Daily grounds tickets are not needed to board the complimentary shuttles as they may be purchased at the tournament’s main entrance gate.
As in years past, all current or retired members of the military are offered complimentary single-day tickets for themselves and one guest for each day of the tournament. This offers applies to anyone on active duty, those in the military reserve, national guard, military retirees and veterans. First responders are also eligible for complimentary single day tickets.
All tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster. Daily grounds tickets may also be purchased on site.
The 73rd edition of the PGA TOUR’s tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth will once again have a title sponsor. When DEAN & DELUCA told tournament officials late in 2017 they would be unable to meet their financial responsibilities, the tournament was once again left scrambling to find a title sponsor for the 2018 event. Thus, the tournament had a one-off year without a title sponsor and was simply called the Fort Worth Invitational.
The Colonial event was first held in 1946 and has been contested every year since 1950, making it the longest-tenured Tour event at a single venue. After several years of sponsorship issues, the tournament finally has a solid commitment from a new title sponsor and the future looks bright for the longevity of the event. Charles Schwab has stepped in and inked a four-year agreement to sponsor the event, renaming it the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Charles Schwab’s agreement to sponsor the event will run through 2022. The Charles Schwab Challenge is among the PGA TOUR leaders in charitable contributions, including generating a record $13 million awarded to various charity organizations in 2018. The tournament has generated $100 million for more than 150 charities over the past 20 years.
In addition, the tournament has a laundry list of greats on the Wall of Champions next to the first tee. Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson as well as Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth and 2018 champ Justin Rose, who went on to claim the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings in September 2018.
So, who’s going to be in the field?
In the past, the AT&T Byron Nelson and Charles Schwab Challenge being in back-to-back weeks always helped ensure that at least a few of the world’s top players will stay in town and play both. However, with the PGA making a drastic scheduling change in 2019, moving the PGA Championship to May, many felt like both tournaments may suffer as the Nelson falls the week before the world’s best head to Bethpage Black and the Charles Schwab might not see as strong a field as players recover from the grind of a major.
Despite the change, early commitments to Colonial have been solid. Including defending champ Justin Rose, 2017 champion Kevin Kisner, and 2016 tartan jacket winner and Dallas resident Jordan Spieth. Other commitments include major winners Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Lucas Glover, Zack Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, David Toms, Justin Thomas and Jimmy Walker.
There is also plenty of international flair in this year’s field, including Spaniard Jon Rahm, India’s Anirban Lahiri, South Korean Si Woo Kim, Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, and Tyrell Hatton of the U.K.
In addition, young guns Xander Schauffele, Cameron Champ, Beau Hossler and Doug Ghim will all tee it up at Hogan’s Alley.
What is there to do when we’re not watching golf?
Patrons will once again have multiple options to get out of the sun and take in some beverages or entertain the younger fans in your group.
The 5 Schwab Performance Center featuring the Fan Shop and Geico Golf Experience is open to the public and located near the putting green and short game area. This attraction is a great way to get out of the sun for a few minutes and enjoy some conditioned air.
In addition, the Colonial 1936 Grill is a fantastic place to catch some shade, some food and hit the Altos Official Margarita Bar.
The Ultra Club and the Champion’s Club are also options depending on what tickets you have. A Champion’s Club badge will set you back $250 for the week or $95 for a single day pass, but those who pony up for this perk will have access to the air conditioned tent with signature cocktails and food available for purchase, as well as a DJ and live telecast of the tournament action on a gigantic HD screen. If the forecast calls for stifling heat, a Champion’s Club badge is definitely worth shelling out the extra coin.
Throughout the week, children can interact with the PGA TOUR professionals at the D&M Leasing Autograph Zones near the warm up area next to the ninth green and behind the 18th green grandstands.
Sounds great! What about on the course … where should we go?
As it has been in the past, the main attraction on the course will again be the par-3 13th hole. It’s at this spot where things tend to get rowdy in the afternoons, as fans watch PGA TOUR players hit irons into this green. Take a few friends, grab some beverages and drop a buck or two on who you think will hit the green out of each group. It makes for a fun afternoon. Concessions are in abundance, there’s plenty of shade and restrooms are in close proximity, so if you choose, you could spend an entire day posted up at this spot.
Another great place to take in the action is behind the 11th tee box. The longest hole on the course (and the only par 5 on the back nine) is one of the few places you should see the pro’s really air one out.
If you’re looking for maximum action with minimal walking, then the area near the clubhouse is your best bet. All within’ a couple hundred yards, you can watch players tee off on No. 1 or 10, or watch them hit their approach and putt on No’s 18 and 9. Another short jaunt south of the 18th fairway, and you can see players hitting irons into No. 16 or teeing off on No. 17. Lots of action, and your feet won’t hate you when you get home.
If you’re looking to watch the toughest stretch of holes on the course, 3, 4 and 5 are known as the “Horrible Horseshoe.” A dogleg left par 4, followed by a tough 240-yard par 3, and another par 4 that runs along the Trinity River. After watching groups hole out on No. 5, walk a short distance back to the east and watch some of the later tee times warm up on the driving range.
Daily tickets are available at www.charlesschwabchallenge.com/tickets or at any Metroplex Tom Thumb or Albertson’s stores. Daily tickets are $50 with a weekly grounds badge available for $125. Champions Club Badges are $95 per day or $250 for the whole week. Youth tickets are just $15, with free access to kids 12 and under. Active, reserve and retired military will receive four complimentary daily tickets. Admission is free to all for Monday and Tuesday practice rounds.