The PGA Tour remains in Texas this week for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club. Boo Weekley defends the title at “Hogan’s Alley.”


The PGA Tour remains in Texas this week for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club. Boo Weekley defends the title at “Hogan’s Alley.”

Since it’s inception in 1946, this tournament has been played on the same course and, in terms of length, the layout has changed little over the years. When Texas native Ben Hogan won the first Colonial Invitational the course measured 7,035 yards. It can now be stretched to 7,204 yards, but it generally plays a touch shorter than that.

Hogan dominated the early years of this event winning five times between 1946 and 1959, hence the course’s nickname. Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson have also lifted the title.

Last season, Boo Weekley claimed his first PGA Tour victory since 2008, firing a closing 66 to overhaul Matt Kuchar.

Colonial is a course where the wind tends to be a factor. When it’s up, the layout can rank as one of the toughest on the PGA Tour – as it did in 2012. However, if the weather stays calm scoring is much improved. Last season Colonial played as the fourth easiest par 70 visited by the PGA Tour.

This week is forecast to be breezy rather than windy and temperatures will likely be fairly high. Expect a winning score around the 12-under-par mark.

The tournament is an invitational with just 124 places available on the start list. The winner of the event is famously presented with a garish tartan jacket and a simply enormous trophy, as the above picture of Boo Weekley confirms.

Venue: Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Date: May 22-25
Course stats: par 70, 7,204 yards
Purse: $6,400,000 Winner: $1,152,000
Defending Champion: Boo Weekley (-14)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 22 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Friday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 4 from 8pm
Saturday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player Watch:
Zach Johnson – Twice a winner, nobody has earned more money in this event over the years. His worst finish in his last five starts at Colonial is a tie for ninth in 2009.

Matt Kuchar – Second here last year, the super-consistent Kuchar is highly likely to contend again this season.

Ryan Palmer – A club member at Colonial, Palmer knows this course better than anyone in the field. Four top-10s this year and good recent form.

Key hole: 5th. This has played as the toughest hole on the course since stats began to be recorded over 25 years ago. At 481 yards it’s a long par 4 made more difficult by the ditch waiting to the left and a river on the right. The approach must be supremely accurate to a long, narrow target.

Skills required: Ball-striking. Solid and accurate iron shots will be the key to success at Colonial both for position from the tee and to the tightly guarded greens. Those who can shape their shots to seek out the pins will go low this week.