Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Colonial Country Club
Ft. Worth, Texas
Colonial Country Club
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Bentgrass; 4,400 square feet on average.
Rough: Bermudagrass and fescue at 3”
Water Hazards: 3
Course Architect: Perry Maxwell and John Bredemus (1936
Winner’s Share: $1,152,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Boo Weekley pounded the fairways and greens into submission and even made a few putts as he defeated Matt Kuchar by one shot and Zach Johnson by two to don his first tartan jacket.
Dates: May 22-25
Notes: Colonial’s invitational field welcomes all defending champions regardless of current status on TOUR.
Recent History Lessons
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 21 of 27 events in 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes and Brendon Todd have won for the USA.
Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed four victories along with South Korean Seung-yul Noh and German Martin Kaymer. Mike Weir tried to add the Maple Leaf flag to that group this week!
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones and now Todd are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had eight in 27 events so far in 2014. #onpace
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. He has been joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia, Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua, Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson (35), joined them at Riviera. Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30) and Matt Jones (33), all first-timers, flew the flag before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Since the first major, Matt Kuchar (37) and J.B. Holmes (32) have also added to the Prime Timers.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer (29) and now Brendon Todd, 28, to the twenty-something party!
Australian John Senden, 42, won at Tampa Bay for the only W for the “Old Guys” this season. Canadian Mike Weir, 44, was second. When he briefly led last Sunday, this was the first time since 2007 that he had been in the lead on TOUR. #timeflies
Pay Attention: It’s FREE!
Colonial has been a TOUR fixture since 1946 making it the longest running event on TOUR at the same site.
The last player to win here in their first try was Sergio Garcia in 2001.
Garcia is the only first-time TOUR winner in quite some time on this track so experience will factor greatly this week for podium finishes.
In the last decade Rory Sabbatini (South Africa) is the only non-American winner.
Only three editions since the turn of the century have finished in extra holes on Sunday.
Boo Weekley became the fifth champion in a row to come from off the pace as Matt Kuchar was the 54-hole leader.
Ben Hogan is the only player to defend his title on these grounds. To the surprise of nobody, he did it twice (1946-47; 1952-53). #HogansAlley
The course record is 61, set last by Chad Campbell in 2004.
Zach Johnson destroyed windless Colonial in 2010 to the tune of 21-under-par 259.
The last winning score in single-digits-under-par (-8) was Olin Browne in 1999. #birdiesboys
Brand-new, World No. 1 Adam Scott is in the field this week and looks to become the first player in TOUR history to win all four Texas events in his career.
Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson are the only players on TOUR with multiple victories in the 2013-14 season. Only Texan Jimmy Walker has a chance to add to his haul of three titles this week.
This Will Win You a Bar Bet
Boo Weekley has three wins on TOUR. All three of them have awarded a tartan jacket as a prize (RBC twice, Colonial).
Past Champions Since 2000
2013 Boo Weekley -14
2012 Zach Johnson -12
2011 David Toms -15
2010 Zach Johnson -21
2009 Steve Stricker -17
2008 Phil Mickelson -14
2007 Rory Sabbatini -14
2006 Tim Herron -12
2005 Kenny Perry -19
2004 Steve Flesch -11
2003 Kenny Perry -19
2002 Nick Price -13
2001 Sergio Garcia -13
2000 Phil Mickelson -12
Inside the Ropes
Colonial shot on to the national scene in 1941 as it became the first golf club south of the Mason-Dixon Line to host a U.S. Open. Craig Wood was the victor that week and five years later Colonial joined the TOUR’s rotation. Since 1946 Colonial has hosted an event every year on TOUR making it the longest running event on the same course. It’s the 10th-oldest event on TOUR.
Colonial was designed by Perry Maxwell, an Oklahoman who studied at St. Andrews and worked with Dr. Alistair Mackenzie. Maxwell has plenty of design credits to his name but Colonial and Prairie Dunes, the host of the NCAA Men’s Championship this week, are his two most famous. His help in moving Augusta forward after the death of Mackenzie shaped that course for years to come.
Colonial also has the distinction of being the only course to host a U.S. Open and THE PLAYERS Championship (1975). It has also hosted a U.S. Women’s Open (1991).
Colonial is consistently lauded by TOUR members because its design has stood the test of time. Players never get tired of having to shape shots both ways and enjoy having their creativity rewarded. With fairways that are tree-lined and narrow, the course has the player’s attention from the first tee. As the round progresses, Texas wind can rear its head and greens that are only 4,500 square feet become more difficult to hit. With three inches of Bermudagrass and fescue, the rough could factor this week as well. Ben Hogan once said, “A straight ball will get you in more trouble at Colonial than any course I know.”
On the front side, Colonial lulls the player to sleep as the first hole is the easiest on the course and the second hole is third-easiest. That’s where the fun stops. The “Horseshoe” is right around the corner as holes Nos. 3, 4 and 5 play as the second-hardest, third-hardest and hardest, respectively. With only two par fives on the card, it will be imperative for the players to make up shots on those holes but the players who can make par-four birdies will always have the upper hand. Only two of the last four champs have played all four rounds in the 60s.
Recent Course Ratings
2013: 24 out of 43; -.105 strokes below par
2012: 13th; +1.129
2011: 22nd; +.082
2010: 41st; -1.459
2009: 34th; -.814
2008: 25th; +.328
2007: 41st; -.722
As noted, only Sergio Garcia in 2001 has won in his first trip around this classic track. The rankings above show that Colonial is not “hard” in the penal sense but is hard in the challenging sense. Players will be required to think, create, react and enact shots around the win, history, trees and small, quick greens. Youngsters have factored in the past in the top 25 but none of them have cracked the code to slip on the tartan jacket. Experience will be the order of the day this week for me.
Call to Order
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Jim Furyk (B): With back-to-back solo seconds in his last two, Furyk seems to have plenty of Five-Hour Energy in the tank on Sundays has he’s closed 65-66. These last two tournaments were not flukes as he entered those two events on the back of T6, T14 and T7. The only player that is hotter at this time is Matt Kuchar. Even though Furyk hasn’t won since the 2010 TOUR Championship his consistency and chances to win is exactly what gamers are looking for on a weekly basis. He’s 10-for-10 in cuts-made in 2014 and has made 17 on the bounce dating back to last year and is currently 12th in scoring. This will be his 10th consecutive start at Colonial and he has only seven rounds above par in that stretch along with three top 10s. This will be his 19th start and he owns seven top 10s.
Matt Kuchar (A): Speaking of players who never miss cuts, Kuchar is the author of that book as he’s missed only seven cuts since 2010. With nine top 10s in 13 starts I can’t leave him out and I’ll be out of starts on him before I know it in Yahoo! The last time I left him off my roster in Yahoo he won the RBC. Sigh. I’ve learned my lesson. He led here after 54-holes last year before losing to Boo Weekley by a shot. If shaping shots and low ball flight are on the cards, leave Kuchar out at your own risk! He’s seven-for-seven and has two top 10s.
Zach Johnson (B): How bizarre am I for leaving the guy with T9, WIN, fourth, WIN and third in his last five starts here to third-best? It was this point in the season last year that Johnson finally sparked to life so his “horse-for-courseness” is completely off the charts. He’s third this week because he only has two rounds in the 60s in his last seven tournaments. His best finish in that stretch is T6 at Valero. He only has two top 25s in his last nine since his T8/T3 start to 2014.
Dustin Johnson (B): I thought he would get it moving in the right direction last week and he didn’t disappoint finishing T7 with TWO doubles on the weekend. The more wind, the better and the smaller the greens, the better as Johnson has proved his mojo in those conditions more than once in his career. His splits, including being No. 1 in the all-around, are off the charts and when he’s in the mood, he’s awfully hard to beat. Another top 10 again this week would hardly surprise.
Adam Scott (A): Congratulations to the new World No. 1 as he ascends to the top of the rankings Monday morning. I like that Scott has added this event to his schedule because he hasn’t been sharp this spring. His 62 to open the API is by far and away his highlight of his early season but it was that same tournament that saw him close with 76 and finish third. That was the first of three (and the only three tournaments he’s played) events where he posted a score of 76 or better that has tempered gamers excitement. Scott has all of the tools to knock it around Colonial and should be focused to start his reign at the top of professional golf.
John Senden (C): With 12 starts under his belt in 2014, the Aussie has played in 11 weekends including his last nine events. He’s played 13 of his last 16 rounds at par or better as his putter has balanced out his excellent ball-striking. Senden was flying to the finish last weekend as he played the weekend 68-66. This will be his 12th Colonial on the trot and he has two top 10s to show for his effort.
Ryan Palmer (C): The Texan opened here with 62 en route to T14 to back up his T5 from 2012. After his T7 at Houston for his fourth top 10 of the year, Palmer cooled with MC at Zurich and T59 at THE PLAYERS. He showed signs of bouncing back last week with 67-68 at HPBNC before playing the weekend in one-over. He’s getting back on track. Palmer currently sits third in the all-around category and is a member at Colonial.
Chris Kirk (B): He’s played 36 of his last 40 weekends on TOUR, including all 16 in 2013-14. His last MC was at the Barclays last August so Kirk has been cruising along with a win at McGladrey and a second at Sony. His last time out was THE PLAYERS where he played the weekend 70-67 (seven-under) to finish quietly T13. He’s four-from-four at Colonial and that includes T16, T5 and T35 in the last three. Last year would have been even better except for 74 on Sunday that dropped him. He played holes Nos. 12 and 13 five-over for the week. He played the rest of the course eight-under for the week.
Jimmy Walker (C): He finished T37 last week to the chagrin of gamers but I’ll remind you all that his worst round was 71 on Thursday and Sunday. He found 68-68 in the middle so it’s not like he’s chopping it around. It was his worst finish on Sunday since last November so there’s no reason to panic. Yet. The book says guys who spray it here can’t succeed but WALKER SPRAYS IT EVERYWHERE! He’s 200th in fairways but is 26th in GIR. And he makes everything on the greens and racks up birdies for fun. I can’t see the downside, sorry. #WalkerGoggles
Jordan Spieth (B): Playing without status last year he came to Colonial and racked up another top 10 as he finished T7. Last week, as my OAD piñata, he threw up his worst finish of the year, T37, and only his second finish outside the top in 15 events this year. Putting limits or boundaries on this talent would be silly. His worst stretch this season has been T34-T20. The Dallas resident will have another large gallery this week and he should be eager to make amends.
Boo Weekley (C): The defending champ comes in on the heels of T5 in a so-called putting contest last week at Las Colinas. Boo also was ninth here in 2010 as he fired 63 en route to 14-under so he knows he wasn’t lucky last year. There’s nothing wrong with stocking the roster with a guy who hits this many fairways and greens. His last back-to-back top 10s were PRO and Valspar in 2013.
Charley Hoffman (C): His last eight rounds at Colonial have been par or better and have resulted in finishes of T13 and T18 last year. He’s five-for-five on this track and seven for his last seven in 2014 so form shouldn’t be an issue either. I like the fact that he rallied from an opening 77 at THE PLAYERS to finish 67-71-71 his last time out. His iron play sees him sit 12th in par-four performance and that will come in handy this week.
Graham DeLaet (B): In 2013 the Canadian was one of four players (Weekley, Chris Stroud and Matt Every) who sat one shot behind Matt Kuchar entering Sunday’s round. His final round 74 saw him plummet 20 places to T22 so he’ll have the feeling of unfinished business priming him this week. His 16 birdies in the first three rounds shows that his game fits this track. Gamers will see if he can buoy himself to his first win after his T7 last week and watching countrymen Mike Weir almost win.
Bill Haas (B): He’s turned into the classic gamer’s conundrum in 2014. Sure he’s 14 of 15 and has nine top 25s but he only has racked up two top 10s. His last top 10 was T6 at Doral in early March and he doesn’t have any finishes INSIDE the top 20 in his last five outings. After WD from RBC after an opening 72, Haas was T44 in Charlotte and T26 at THE PLAYERS in his last two. All of that being said, he sits inside the top 25 (22nd) in the all-around category.
Paul Casey (C): He entered the field on Monday afternoon after Patrick Reed WD. Gamers should be all over him this week based on his solid, steady current form. His last three have seen finishes of T18, T11 and T16 last week at Las Colinas. He fired 64 at Zurich in round three and tied the PGA record with 27 on the back nine last week on Friday en route to 63. In his first trip around Colonial in 2009 he fired 66-67-66-66 to finish fifth. He backed that up with three more rounds of 66 along with a 70 to finish T13 in 2010. He hasn’t been back since. Shhhhhhhhhhh
John Huh: After an AWFUL start to 2014, Huh has eliminated a few questions about his game by finishing T3 at RBC and T16 last week at HPBNC to complete three cuts in a row for the first time since last fall. Huh is two-for-two at Colonial with T5 in 2012 and T11 last year and seven of those eight rounds are under par.
Pat Perez: After three top 10s in four years Perez has cooled in his last three at Colonial with T62, T63 and WD last year. I like the fact that he’s made 14 cuts in a row even though his last two starts have been T44 and T48. That’s going to happen and the last time he had a tough run he finished T11 at Valero to snap out of it. Sitting at No. 41 in the FEC standings he has plenty (top 30) left to play for this season.
Kevin Na: His par-four performance and his putting skills translate most weeks on TOUR and maybe even a little better this week. Na has made 11 of 15 cuts this season and eight of them have gone for top 25s. Half of those have been top 10s. He missed out on seven straight at Colonial last year as he was treating his neck injury. In those previous six visits he played the weekend each time and had four T22s or better, including a pair of top 10s.
Rickie Fowler: The old “chicken or the egg” theory is in place this week as Fowler is sponsored by Crowne Plaza. He plays well because he’s a sponsor. He plays average because his sponsor duties steal his time/focus this week. His golf swing is slowly coming together under Butch Harmon but he has more rounds over par than under par in his last four tournaments and that includes T5 at Augusta. His only two rounds in the 60s during that stretch are 67 at Augusta and 67 at WFC. Yet, he’s four-from-four at Colonial with T5 in 2012 and T16 in 2011 so all is not lost.
Matt Every: One of the gang of four who were T2 heading into the final round last year, Every shot 69 to finish T4. In the last year he’s racked up seven top 10s, including his first win. His last two tournaments have seen him WD (Zurich) and MC (THE PLAYERS) but I’ll always find room for the No. 1 player in strokes gained-putting especially after his performance here last year. I expect him to bounce back into the top 25 this week and kick start his late spring.
Kevin Kisner: When pressed for a “long-shot’ last week I went with the wrong Georgia Bulldog that had not won on TOUR. Kisner has now made five cuts on the bounce and his last two efforts saw him finish T6 (career best) at WFC and T16 last week at HPBNC. In those five events, Kisner has only six rounds above par. His closing 66 last weekend should keep his momentum rolling along this week.
Kevin Chappell: He’s made seven of his last 10 weekends on TOUR and none of them have finished outside of T35. The bad news is that none of them have finished in the top 10. He’s close and his very solid ball striking will give him a chance this week and most others. He’s eight-over in his last two Sundays at Colonial so he should be quite familiar with what NOT to do if he’s in that position this weekend. I have no problem filling rosters with guys who are solid, if not spectacular and make cuts.
David Hearn: When we last saw the Canadian he was racking up his third top 10 in his last nine starts at THE PLAYERS. His excellent short game is the backbone of his success and he’ll need it around Colonial. He also hits plenty of fairways and greens which won’t hurt. He shot 65 in 2012 en route to T13 and MC last year with 64-78(!?!?!?!).
Brian Harman: He fired his lowest round of 2014 with 65 to close at HPBNC. He navigated a demanding Harbour Town earlier this spring for T7.
Rory Sabbatini: This will be his 15th start at Colonial and the 2007 champion has made five straight cuts on TOUR entering the week. After his T9, T17, T8 streak he bounced with T38 and T44 in his last two. In those five events he’s only played five rounds over par so his game has been more than steady. He loves a grind as well so if the winds pick up, so will is game.
Horses for Courses/Long Shots
Tim Clark: In nine events at Colonial he’s played the weekend eight times in his career. In seven of those weekends he’s finished T21 or better. He has two T2s and T7 last year. He has only five rounds over par on this track. Sadly, he’s only made three cuts from eight events in 2014 and has finishes of T78, T82 and T38 to show for the effort. His last round in the 60s was last November at Mayakoba. He qualifies for both HFC and Long Shot…
David Toms: The 2011 champ opened that tourney with 62-62. Read that again. He has another four top 10s in 16 starts in Ft. Worth so it’s obvious that solid driving and great putting work around Hogan’s Alley as well.
Chris Stroud: After a torrid winter, Stroud has cooled off in late April and May as his last four starts have not produced anything better than T48 (two MC as well). But, the Texan’s short game numbers are still banging and he loves Colonial. His last two visits have seen him post T13 in 2012 and T7 last year so the course fits his eye more than his current form.
Martin Laird: Another player who loves Texas golf, the Scotsman has played 12 rounds at Colonial and eight of them have resulted in the 60s. Back-to-back T10s in 2010 and 2011 are the best of the three tries which included T54 last year.
Brendon de Jonge: T59, T56, T41, and T22 in his last four suggest that he’s starting to figure out Colonial.
Bo Van Pelt: In 10 consecutive starts at Colonial, BVP has six T19s or better and has never MC.
Geoff Ogilvy: He’s played here in four of the last six years and has signed for T7, T52, T13 and T19 in those tournaments.
Rod Pampling: For those of you who like to scrape a little deeper, Pampling should check off all of your boxes this week. The Dallas resident has four top 10s in 11 starts but hasn’t played a full TOUR season since 2012. He did make the cut last week in Irving to finish T64.
John Rollins: The Colonial member was T4 last year for his first top 10 in 11 starts. That was last year when entered the week on eight top 25s. This year, in 19 events, he’s made nine weekends and has one top 25. What a difference a year makes.
Marc Leishman: I don’t get it either, folks, but I’m buying it. The three years he’s finished T12, T8 and T3 the previous week at the HPBNC he has followed it up a week later, less than 30 miles away, with T44, T57 and T46 at Colonial. All the bad rounds have been on the weekend as well so he sucks you into FALSE HOPE!!! It’s bizarre but I’ll let someone else snap this trend.
Jason Dufner: I’ve tried breaking him out. Now it’s YOUR TURN after back-to-back T48s. His record outside of his solo second here is not very good either in five tries.
Hunter Mahan: His last round in the 60s was the opener, 69, at SHO five tournaments ago. His next best round in that stretch is 71.
The Man with his Own Section
Louis Oosthuizen: When he’s healthy he can really play. Let me know when that is. He’s the Fred Couples of our generation. I have no idea what to do with him as it seems like he WD at the drop of a hat. He remarked last week at HPBNC that they really haven’t figured out what is the root issue of his problem either. That doesn’t help gamers one bit.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.
SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.
McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek
OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.
HTOC: Er, Jordan Spieth, solo second.
Sony: Hudson Swafford and Will Wilcox both finished T8. Both played on the Web.com Tour last year and are rookies on TOUR this season.
Humana: Patrick Reed won. He’s 23. You need to pay attention.
FIO: Ryo Ishikawa, 22, bagged another top 10 finish. That’s his sixth in his last 10 events on TOUR or the Web.com Tour. He’s an alternate this week as of Monday afternoon.
WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama is 21. In 11 events the last two years, he’s hit the top 25 in NINE of them, including T4 last week. #ALLRIGHTYTHEN
Pebble Beach: Er, Jordan Spieth, T4. Patrick Reed, 23, finished T13 and he’s won twice since August. Golf is good hands, again.
Riviera: Harris English won’t be 25 until July. He was T10; Spieth was T12.
WGC-Match Play: Victor Dubuisson is 23 and was second. Jordan Spieth was T5. #youthmovement
Honda: Russell Henley is now the fourth player on TOUR under 25 with two wins. He joins Patrick Reed, Harris English and Rory McIlroy in this very elite club of pups.
WGC-CC: Patrick Reed is 23. He’s now won three times in eight months on TOUR.
Puerto Rico Open: Rookie Chesson Hadley, 26, took home his first title on the big boy circuit.
Valspar: Chesson Hadley backed up his first win with T14 on a tough, tough Copperhead Course. Scott Langley, a second year player from Illinois (see above) was third.
API: The young Japanese lad Ishikawa racked up another top 10 (T8) this week. Yep, he’s still just 22.
Valero: He’ll be remembered for all of the wrong reasons but Andrew Loupe, 25, finished T4 in only his eighth start on TOUR. #slowgolfclap
Shell Houston: Russell Henley’s T7 shows him heating up before heading back for another crack at Augusta.
Masters: That Jordan Spieth guy was T2.
RBC Heritage: John Huh, T3, is a TOUR winner but is only 23 years old. Remember?
Zurich: The winner was 22-year old Seung-Yul Noh. He fits this column to a T.
Wells Fargo: Defending champ Derek Ernst was T30. He’ll turn 24 on May 15.
THE PLAYERS: That pesky Spieth was tied for the 54-hole lead and finished T4.
HPBNC: T16 was the best the youth could muster with John Huh, who turns 24 on Wednesday.
Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 5 ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at the CPIC and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.