One of professional golf’s constant challenges is maintaining reverence for its past greats while working (often in futility) to stay current. Byron Nelson is one of golf’s historical greats, perhaps best known for winning 11 straight tournaments in 1945. There is, of course, an enormous invisible asterisk attached to that streak – World War II was near its end in 1945, but it wasn’t over. So Nelson beat a lot of very good players during that streak, but he almost certainly didn’t beat all of them.
The Tour returns this week to Dallas, Texas, so let’s see where the value lies as we dive headfirst into our picks and predictions for the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch.
Furthermore…1945 was a very, very, very long time ago. Nelson’s last major title, his second PGA Championship, also came in that year. His other major titles were the 1939 U.S. Open, Masters victories in 1937 and 1942 (same WW II caveat here), and his first PGA Championship win in 1940.
All of this goes to say that Nelson, in 2021, is far more an unconstructed memory or a vague concept than is, say, Arnold Palmer (RIP) or Jack Nicklaus (who is still with us). Nelson’s legacy in 2021, really, is the tournament that is named after him. One could do worse, of course.
But it’s not impossible to imagine a time where AT&T or some other corporation decides to move on from Nelson and re-name the tournament after someone else or just decides to claim the full tournament title for itself. Time, as always, is undefeated.
Going down the rabbit hole, I just found that Scottie Scheffler won the nine-hole, coed, age 7-9 division of the Metro Area Championship by seven strokes with a 1-over 37 just after his 9th birthday at TPC Craig Ranch and, well, there's your course history tip for this week.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) May 10, 2021
AT&T Byron Nelson Odds
A look at the current odds for this weekend’s event:
|Si Woo Kim||+4500|
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VALUE PICK: SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER TOP 20 (-110)
Scottie Scheffler was born in Dallas and played college golf at the University of Texas, where he won the Phil Mickelson Freshman of the Year Award and was All-Big 12 First Team in 2015. Scheffler qualified for the U.S. Open as an amateur in 2016 and was selected for the 2017 Walker Cup team.
Scheffler was also the low amateur at the U.S. Open in 2017. Scheffler’s college career was pretty spectacular; only in the past year or two has his professional career begun paying off that early success.
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Scheffler has yet to win on Tour, but he has become a consistent earner and this week is, to an extent, a home game for Scheffler. Since February, Scheffler has made seven starts and has four top-20 finishes and only one missed cut in that time.
The even money odds here aren’t thrilling, but they probably account for Scheffler’s desire to play well before the family members and friends who will surely be watching him this week.
Ryan Palmer sporting more Texas A&M gear on Sunday. The Aggie PGA Tour veteran has a “Gig ‘Em” scorecard holder in his back pocket. pic.twitter.com/NCUFt91LsN
— Lawrence Smelser (@LawrenceSmelser) May 26, 2019
LONG SHOT PICK: RYAN PALMER TOP 5 (+750)
Ryan Palmer was born in Amarillo, Texas and played college golf at Texas A&M University. Are you sensing the theme here? Of course you are.
Anyway, the 44-year-old Palmer is not a huge name in golf, but try telling that to his accountant. Palmer has made his last 12 cuts in a row, including a second-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. At the last Tour event played in Texas (Valero Texas Open in April), Palmer finished 17th.
This tournament tends to produce high finishes from players no one thinks too much about. Aaron Wise won the event in 2018. Scott Piercy finished tied for second with Matt Every in 2019. Steven Bowditch won the tournament in 2015. Ryan Palmer posting a high finish here would fit nicely among this bunch.
Bryson DeChambeau makes most of costly early departure with big weekend in Wells Fargo Championship https://t.co/L3s4lIdxTQ
— Golfweek (@golfweek) May 10, 2021
AT&T Byron Nelson Pick: BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU (+800)
Bryson DeChambeau is a native Californian, but he played his college golf at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and lives there now. We know this in part because, after he thought he missed the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, NC last Friday, he flew home to Dallas that afternoon and had to return to Charlotte via private jet on Saturday morning.
DeChambeau made it back to Charlotte at 6:20 a.m. and got to the golf course at 7:00 a.m., just a little more than an hour before his 8:10 a.m. tee time. DeChambeau then shot 68-68 to go from on the cut line after round two to a 9th place finish, earning $228,825.00 and certainly covering his private jet cost.
If DeChambeau can do that on little sleep and with that sort of negative attention on him, a win in his backyard on full rest isn’t that big an ask.
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