A new course. A new trophy. A new winner?
Jordan Spieth certainly hopes so.
All eyes will be on Spieth, North Texas’ top golf attraction, as the AT&T Byron Nelson gets underway this week at its new home at Trinity Forest Golf Club in south Dallas. In addition to the new location, the tournament is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Spieth’s best finish in his hometown tournament came as a 16-year-old in 2010 when he received an exemption and finished 16th. For whatever reason, the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas course never suited his eye or game.
Spieth missed the cut last year, and made a total of $181,069 in seven career starts when the tournament was held in Las Colinas. By comparison, Spieth has taken home at least $180,000 in five tournaments this season.
Trinity Forest is a different story. Spieth is a founding member at the club, and has become a regular at the links-style course because his instructor, Cameron McCormick, is based there.
Maybe that’ll be the right formula for Spieth to win the Nelson.
With that being said, here's a primer for this year’s tournament.
Tickets: $45 for daily grounds pass. Purchase on the tournament’s website, www.attbyronnelson.org or at Ticketmaster. Admission is free on Wednesday.
Parking: Free general parking is located at the State Fair of Texas Gate 15 parking lot (2100 South Haskell Avenue, Dallas). Complimentary shuttle rides take approximately 12 minutes.
For those using a ride-share app, drivers will drop off at lot 12 (7410 S. Central Expressway) and then it’s a 5-minute shuttle ride to the course.
Purse: $7.7 million ($1.386 million to winner)
Field 1.0: Spieth is the top draw with other top players such as Hideki Matsuyama, Sergio Garcia, Marc Leishman and Matt Kuchar in the field. Past champions include reigning winner Billy Horschel, Sang Moon Bae, Steven Bowditch, Brendon Todd, Rory Sabbatini, Adam Scott and Ernie Els.
Field 2.0: Notable exemptions into the field include 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Champion Will Zalatoris; reigning U.S. Junior Amateur Champion Noah Goodwin; and Chilean golfer Joaquin Niemann, who finished sixth in his PGA Tour debut last month at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
Field 3.0: A pair of 46-year-olds to watch who have had success on links-style courses? David Duval, the 2001 British Open champ, and Padraig Harrington, the 2007 and 2008 British Open champ, are each in the field.
Course summary: Trinity Forest used to be a landfill. That’s part of the beauty of the course with natural undulations and multiple ways to get around it.
As co-designer Bill Coore put it, "Trinity Forest is a golf course that asks questions with multiple answers."
That means it plays as a "second shot" course. Players will have options whether to fly the ball into the green, go with a bump-and-run or some variation. It’s not your stereotypical point-A-to-B-to-C course, as Coore said.
"The vision and ability to use the ground, the slopes, the wind and gravity will be a distinct advantage," Coore said. "It is our hope that the longest and shortest of hitters in the competition at Trinity Forest will see the course and think, 'I can win here.'"
Watching hotspots: The course offers multiple viewing spots where spectators can watch several holes. From the main entrance, you can cross the 13th fairway and find a spot to watch holes 5, 6, 15 and 16. Also, from the 16th green, you can see holes 16, 12, 1 and 17.
Our must-see hole? The shortest hole is the par-3 8th. This hole is expected to be played from a little more than 100 yards, which means the pros should be throwing darts at the pin all day. So, hey, don’t be surprised if there’s a couple hole-in-ones – which are always must-see.