It’s the final week of the “Texas-swing” as the PGA Tour heads to Forth Worth for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. It’s one of the oldest events on the Tour schedule and one of the most prestigious titles.
Since it’s inception in 1946 The Colonial 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. This year the layout will play just 169 more at 7,204. Hogan dominated the early years of this event winning five times between 1946 and 1959. Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson have also lifted the title.
It’s a relatively easy course – the 17th most straightforward on last year’s PGA Tour and there should be plenty of scoring in the low 60s. The course record is 61 but this is a layout where a 59 could be possible.
Last season Steve Stricker came through a playoff against Tim Clark and Steve Marino after Clark had blown a two-shot lead with just five holes to play. Stricker is back to defend his title despite uncertainty over whether his right shoulder is fully recovered from injury.
“I felt somewhat of an obligation to be back here,” he explained. “I wanted to start playing again, and I wanted to come here.”
It’s set to be another hot week in Texas and, although the threat of storms is limited, don’t be surprised to see a weather delay at some point over the four days.
As Steve Stricker displays in this picture, the winner of The Colonial receives a rather un-stylish plaid jacket and an absolutely enormous trophy.
Venue: Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Date: May 27-30
Course stats: par 70, 7,204 yards
Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,116,000
Defending Champion: Steve Stricker (-17)
Thursday 27 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8pm
Friday 28 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8pm
Saturday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm
Sunday 30 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm
Phil Mickelson – He’s twice a winner of this event and is on solid form this season. If he wins he can take the top spot on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Tim Clark – The South African should have won here last season and he’ll be looking to banish the demons of 2009. After winning the Players Championship he’s removed a great deal of pressure from his shoulders.
Jim Furyk – He’s always performed well in this tournament and it’s a course that suits his style of play. He’s already won twice in 2010 and he’ll be looking for a hat-trick here.
Key hole: 5th. This has played as the toughest hole on the course since stats began to be recorded 24 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. Look for a winning total around the -20 mark.