Lord Byron’s 100th Year Brings Out the Best in the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Field
In what would be Byron Nelson’s 100th year, the tournament that bears his name will have its best field in the last 5 years. The 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship from the Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Tx, will feature a few old champions as well as a couple of recent winners in a field littered with some of the game’s bigger names.
Keegan Bradley returns to defend the title he won in 2011 as the tour’s leader in the all-around category. After playing well in March, the month of April and May have not been so kind to Bradley who has missed two of the last four cuts and placed tied for 35th at THE PLAYERS Championship last week. Bradley played well in Houston at the end of March finishing tied for fourth. Before April, Bradley had finished no worse than 22nd in 2012 and as the returning champion this is a great opportunity for Keegan Bradley to get his game back to form. “It’s great to be back and see all of the guys in red and white,” said Bradley, noting the Salesmanship Club staff. “It’s a great tournament.”
The 2012 HP Byron Nelson will get some big names back in Ernie Els, Phil Micklelson and Vijay Singh. ”Having Phil and Vijay here to help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of Byron’s birth makes it even more special,” 2012 Tournament Chairman Robert Smith said in a release. “Phil and Byron had such a special relationship, and both of these champions have had a tremendous influence on the game.” Lefty will be playing the TPC for the first time since 2007, while Els is returning after his last appearance in 2006. The trio of Mickelson, Singh and Els tote 10 major championships alone so even though Tiger will again be missed, the 2012 HP Byron Nelson is not short on fire power.
Other names to watch out for this week at the Four Seasons are last week’s winner Matt Kuchar, 2010 Byron Nelson Champion Jason Day, three-time major winner Padrig Harrington and 2008 Byron Nelson Champion Adam Scott.
The 2012 Byron Nelson will welcome 2010 British Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen to the TPC for the first time in his career. Oosthuizen is ranked 11th in the world currently and is the one of 11 of the world’s top 40 golfers that make up this year’s field.
The field did lose a former champion in Scott Verplank, who won the 2007 Byron Nelson Championship. Verplank was forced to withdraw reportedly due to a sore wrist. The Dallas native will be missing the event for the first time since 1993.
There will be one local product with a chance in Colleyville’s Ryan Palmer. Palmer was born in Amarillo, went to college at Texas A&M and has played well in both Houston and San Antonio, only to have poor final rounds leave him out of the top ten. Palmer finished second to Bradley last year and could be a pick to click this weekend.
Todd Hamilton, Greg Owen and Mark Leishman will get things started at 7:00 am Thursday from the first tee while Chris Couch, Robert Gamez and Rich Beem will start things on the back nine. The group of the day has to be Mickelson, Scott and Els who will tee it up on number 10 at 7:30.