The second leg of a fortnight in Texas finds The Tour in Fort Worth at Colonial Country Club,where Ben Hogan rules. Get our best golf picks inside, don't make a move before reading.
For the second week in a row we visit a course and a tournament associated with the name of a Texas golfing legend. Last week it was Byron Nelson and this week, it is a man who was Byron's dear friend, Mr. Ben Hogan. "Hogan's Alley" and the event formerly known as The Colonial, the second leg of the fortnight in The Lone Star State, has a new sponsor this season and is being called "The Dean & DeLuca Invitational." For our purposes however, I am going to stay old fashioned and call it The Colonial.. the way Mr. Hogan, a five time champion at the event, I believe would have preferred it. But while we have to put up with a new name, the golf course does remain the same for a record 70th time, the longest running non-major event on Tour to be held at the same venue.
The golf course is an absolute classic and is a very exclusive private club in Fort Worth, Texas but the problem with Colonial is that there is not much room on the property for expansion with The Trinity River bordering a large portion of the layout. So the course today is basically the same course that hosted the 1941 U.S. Open. With the strength, size, and ability of the modern player and the changes in equipment technology, the game has unfortunately outgrown Colonial and it has become much less of a test for today's PGA Tour pro than it was just some 20-25 years ago.
It is a shot makers paradise, a ball strikers dream,very "hogan-esque" if you will. Twelve of the holes are doglegs, forcing players to shape their shots around corners both left and right. The tournament plays to a par 70 and is not especially long by Tour standards. Driving Accuracy is at a premium and one will see many players hitting irons and fairway woods off of the tee this week. What you will not see are the likes of Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, and J.B. Holmes as this is no place for the bombers. Many, like Phil Mickelson, don't like to come back to play this tournament anymore because the course takes the driver out of their hands. Players with length have no real advantage here, so it becomes an accuracy, ball striking, short game, and putting contest.. just take a look at the list of recent winners at Colonial.. Steve Flesch, Corey Pavin, Phil Mickelson, David Toms, Sergio Garcia, Rory Sabbatini, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Boo Weekley, Adam Scott, and defending champion, Chris Kirk. Other than Mickelson, Sergio, and Scott, players of shorter length off of the tee, have been the more common occurrence to slip on the plaid jacket come Sunday.
Wind can throw a real wrench into the plan and it is supposed to blow but it looks as if rain may be the primary weather issue here this week. It is expected to get wet on Thursday and Friday and many are already figuring on a Monday finish.. so we will see if all of this spits out your typical type of Colonial winner - or if it will maybe be more of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational sort? Let's look for the best sport pick. All sport odds provided by Bet365
Jordan Spieth +600
When talking about Jordan Spieth this year, we turn to his unraveling on the back nine at The Masters but he did it again last week at The Nelson too. Going off on Sunday in the final pairing, he shot a dreadful 74 and finished 18th. He finished runner up here last year at Colonial but again, this season has been different.
Adam Scott +1200
A winner two times this year already, the Aussie comes in off of a nice week at The Players, and a Top-20 at The Wells Fargo before that, to yet another venue where he owns a victory. Interesting note, Adam Scott has won "The Texas Slam," at The Houston, The Valero, The Byron Nelson, and at Colonial.
Matt Kuchar +1200
"Kooch" is the hottest golfer going right now with two straight 3rd place finishes and has really upped his game in the last month. Despite missing the cut here in 2014, he is a great fit for the course and finished 2nd in 2013.
Zach Johnson +2200
The leading money winner in Colonial history has been struggling a bit as of late but he never seems to here in Fort Worth as he's won twice and has three additional Top-10's in the last seven years.
Chris Kirk +2800
The defending champion has an outstanding track record at this event.. of course winning last year and then going 14th-35th-5th-and 16th prior to that. He's also been in fine form now for about two months heading into his title defense.
Kevin Na +3500
Kevin Na has been "Na-King" on the door like crazy this season but has not been able to break through. He has an impressive four Top-5 finishes. At Colonial, he has three Top10's and another three Top-25's. A victory has to come his way soon, somewhere.
The Long Shots
Ryan Palmer +4500
Ryan Palmer is a member at Colonial and while his results here are not jump off the page stuff, he does have two 5th place finishes in the last four years. Rookies typically don't win this golf tournament and Palmer would be about the polar opposite of a rookie as a member of the club and twelve trips in his career at this Tour stop.
Colt Knost +4000
Maybe the only player hotter than Matt Kuchar, is Colt Knost. He is enjoying the best season of his career, having only missed one cut and he is coming off of a 3rd at The Players and a 4th at The Nelson last week. The SMU Mustang will not be unfamiliar with the site this week and he did turn in a 10th place here at Colonial last year.
Bryce Molder +8000
The Georgia Tech Yellowjacket's results here have been decent but very good considering he's only missed one cut in six visits and did have a Top-5 in his rookie trip. He drives it straight, putts excellent, and is a top notch scrambler.
Danny Lee +3300
Going with a little home cookin' here as the Irving, Texas resident has been on a very nice run in recent weeks. Starting with a 17th at The Masters, a 35th at The Players, a 9th at The Wells Fargo, and an 18th last week at Byron's place, Danny Lee also finished 10th here last year. He will be playing in the tournament for the 4th time. He drives it very straight, is a good ball striker, great scrambler, makes a lot of birdies and scores very well on the Par 4's. It may not be over until Memorial Day and I'm hoping Danny Lee is one we'll all be remembering.