Featured Groupings – 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship
Round 1 – Thursday, May 17
1:30 p.m. ET
Matt Kuchar – Winner of THE PLAYERS last week sits sixth in the FedExCup standings
Vijay Singh – 2004 winner of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, one of nine wins that year
Padraig Harrington – Three-time major champion making first career start at HP Byron Nelson Championship
1:40 p.m. ET
Keegan Bradley – Defending champion leads TOUR statistically in All-Around Ranking in 2012
Rory Sabbatini – 2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship winner
Jason Day – 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship winner
Round 2 – Friday, May 18
1:30 p.m. ET
Phil Mickelson – New addition to World Golf Hall of Fame making first start at HP Byron Nelson since 2007
Ernie Els – 1995 HP Byron Nelson Championship winner making first start at the event since 2006
Adam Scott – 2008 HP Byron Nelson Championship winner making just sixth start of 2012 season
1:40 p.m. ET
Jason Dufner – Earned first TOUR win three weeks ago at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Jhonattan Vegas – T7 last week at THE PLAYERS
Louis Oosthuizen – Runner-up at the Masters making first career start at HP Byron Nelson Championship
The 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of tournament namesake Byron Nelson’s birth (February 4, 1912). Among the many activities scheduled this week is the awarding of the annual Byron Nelson Prize to LPGA Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez. The tournament will donate $100,000 in Lopez’s name to AIM for the Handicapped.
Past champion and Dallas resident Scott Verplank withdrew early this week from the HP Byron Nelson Championship due to a lingering left wrist injury that also forced a WD during THE PLAYERS. Verplank has made 25 starts at the HP Byron Nelson Championship -- just three players have more starts (28 -- Lanny Wadkinsand Tom Watson; 27 -- Ben Crenshaw) -- and he had not missed the event since 1993.
Keegan Bradley’s score of 3-under-par in 2011 was the highest in relation to par at HP Byron Nelson Championship since Bruce Lietzke’s 1-over-par score in 1981. Bradley’s winning score was the highest in relation to par in a “non-major” since David Duval’s 3-under winning score at THE PLAYERS in 1999.
Phil Mickelson is scheduled to play in the HP Byron Nelson Championship Pro-Am with University of Texas football coach Mack Brown and men’s basketball coachRick Barnes.
Highlights of Matt Kuchar’s victory at THE PLAYERS:
- Fourth career PGA TOUR title in 266th start at the age of 33 years, 10 months and 23 days;
- Earned 600 FedExCup points to move to No. 6 in the season-long points race;
- Five-year PGA TOUR exemption through 2017;
- Three-year exemption to the Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and British Open;
- Moved to fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking;
- Moved to third in U.S. Ryder Cup standings;
Statistical keys to strong performances at THE PLAYERS:
- Ben Curtis (T2) led the field in proximity to the hole olthe on approach shots (30 feet, 10 inches) and Strokes Gained – Putting (2.418 per round)
- Rickie Fowler (T2) led the field in Greens in Regulation (75.00 percent)
- Matt Kuchar (1) finished second in Strokes Gained – Putting (2.087) and led the field in putts made over 10 feet percentage (13-44/29.55 percent).
- David Toms tied for the lead in Driving Accuracy (76.79 percent) and tied for third in Greens in Regulation (73.61).
Rickie Fowler, who finished T2 at THE PLAYERS, was vying to become the first player to win his first two tournaments on the PGA TOUR in back-to-back weeks since David Duval at the 1997 Michelob Championship at Kingsmill and Walt Disney World Resort/Oldsmobile Classic. Fowler is No. 8 in the FedExCup standings and looking to qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time in his third full season on TOUR. He narrowly missed qualifying in both 2010 (32) and 2011 (43).
With his solo sixth-place finish at THE PLAYERS, Luke Donald remained at No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking behind Rory McIlroy. Donald needed a solo fourth finish or better at THE PLAYERS to move back to No. 1 after McIlroy missed the cut.
Since Tiger Woods’ PGA TOUR-record streak of 142 consecutive made cuts ended at the 2005 HP Byron Nelson Championship, no player has made 50 consecutive cuts. Steve Stricker entered THE PLAYERS with 49 consecutive cuts but posted rounds of 76-74 to miss the cut. THE PLAYERS winner Matt Kucharowns the current longest consecutive cuts made streak on TOUR with 17.
Ben Curtis, who started the 2012 season No. 310 in the Official World Golf Ranking, moved No. 72 following his T2 finish at THE PLAYERS as he continues his quest to qualify for the U.S. Open. The top 60 in the OWGR as of May 21 and June 11 are exempt into the U.S. Open to be contested in June at Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco. In his last four starts, Curtis has a victory at the Valero Texas Open and two top-10s (T5/Wells Fargo Championship and T2/THE PLAYERS) along with a T13 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Curtis, who missed The Playoffs completely in 2011, sits 17th in the FedExCup standings as he looks to qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time since 2008.
Sandy Lyle was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last week. As a Hall of Fame member, Lyle, who had limited status, can now commit to open, full field tournaments and will be included in the starting field of each co-sponsored tournament.
Mark O’Meara received the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund award for his lifelong contributions to the game in Boston. The Ouimet Fund will provide $5 million in scholarships to more than 300 young women and men in the 2012-2013 season. Also, former Ouimet honoree Arnold Palmer has agreed to serve as honorary chair of the organization’s centennial celebration of Francis Ouimet’s historic 1913 U.S. Open victory. The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund has awarded $25 million in scholarships to 5,000 students since its founding in 1949.
Hale Irwin is the recipient of the Denver-based Will F. Nicholson Jr. Award for lifetime contributions to the game of golf. After moving to Colorado as a teenager, his career in athletics began as a multi-sport standout at Boulder High School and then at the University of Colorado, where he became an all-conference defensive back and an All-America golfer. Irwin, a three-time U.S. Open champion, the Champions Tour's all-time victories leader (45) and a 1992 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, received the award last week.
Damon Green, who caddies for Zach Johnson and finished T13 at last year’s U.S. Senior Open, earned third-place at the annual “Caddie’s Contest” at last week’s PLAYERS Championship. The caddies have a nearest-the-pin contest on Wednesday of tournament week at No. 17. Green’s shot finished 5 feet, 10 inches from the flagstick. The winner was Brent Henley (Robert Garrigus) at 3 feet, 7 inches from the hole.
The Senior PGA Championship (May 21-27) will be played at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, designed by Jack Nicklaus in a beach and golf community on Lake Michigan about 100 miles east of Chicago.
The Principal Charity Classic presented by Wells Fargo (May 28-June 3) will feature “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, along with actor Steven Weber in the UnitedHealthcare Pro-Am on Wednesday of tournament week at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa. Harrison is making his first visit to The Principal Charity Classic this year. Weber is a returning guest after playing in the Pro-Am the last several years. Weber starred in several popular television series, including “Wings,” and has a direct tie to The Principal. He has been the voice of the company’s television commercials for the last seven years.
Even though Michael Allen has a 350 point lead over Bernhard Langer in the Charles Schwab Cup race, Langer might be the favorite to win the Charles Schwab Cup this year if you enjoy symmetry. If Langer wins the Cup this year it will follow his first win in 2010. All other multiple winners of the Charles Schwab Cup won their second Cup two years after their first – Hale Irwin (2002, 2004), Tom Watson (2003, 2005), Jay Haas (2006, 2008) and Loren Roberts (2007, 2009).
Michael Allen’s highest finish in the Charles Schwab Cup was 4th in 2010, 1,751 points behind the winner Bernhard Langer.
18 – The number of consecutive winners who have now come from the final group. Jeff Sluman (2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach) was the last player to win from outside the final group (3rd-to-last group).
Fred Couples and Michael Allen share the No. 1 position for scoring average this season with a 68.67 scoring average.
“I’m not going to say everything is perfect if it’s not because that’s not going to help him.” – Champions Tour professional Mark Brooks shares his strategy while caddying for J.J. Henry at THE PLAYERS Championship last week. Henry finished T40 after making the 36-hole cut on the number.
Matt Kuchar became the fifth Nationwide Tour alumnus to enter the "Circle of Champions" at TPC Sawgrass after winning THE PLAYERS on Sunday, joining David Duval/1999, Craig Perks/2002, Stephen Ames/2006 and Tim Clark/2010. It was alumni win No. 330.
Matt Kuchar has effectively experienced two tours of duty on the PGA TOUR, with a critical year on the Nationwide Tour sandwiched in between. From 2001-2005 he made 110 TOUR starts, with the high-water mark being his rookie year (Honda Classic win, 49th in money). The next four were considerably less productive (never finished better than 139th). From 2007-2012 Kuchar has developed into one of the game's most consistent and top performers (137 events, four TOUR wins, $17 million in earnings), highlighted by Sunday's PLAYERS title. In 2006, the former U.S. Amateur champion entered 21 events on the Nationwide Tour, resulting in a win in Richmond, VA, two runners-up and a return to the PGA TOUR after finishing 10th in earnings. Kuchar often credits his 2006 Nationwide Tour season as instrumental in the success that followed.
2012 Nationwide Tour winners Paul Haley II (Chile Classic), a Dallas native, and Andres Gonzales (Soboba Classic) have received tournament invitations to compete in this week's HP Byron Nelson Classic on the PGA TOUR.
This week's popular BMW Charity Pro-Am features 25 celebrities, including Golf Channel's Holly Sonders. Golf Channel will televise all four rounds live in its first Nationwide Tour telecast of 2012.
The 21st BMW Charity Pro-Am has a new venue in its three-course rotation. The highly-regarded Chanticleer Course at Greenville (SC) Country Club joins Thornblade Club in nearby Greer and Spartanburg Country Club.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am has raised $8.6 million for more than 150 charities since 2001.
Player and caddies will be wearing "Leuk the Duck" pins this week as a show of support for their friend Jarrod Lyle, who is undergoing chemotherapy in his native Australia after suffering a reoccurrence of leukemia in March.
Two years ago David Mathis won the inaugural Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open at the Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass. On Sunday he had the best finish (T15) among the 17 first-time contestants at THE PLAYERS on the Stadium Course.