South Korea-based CJ Group will have its fifth straight PGA Tour event in a different city, only this time it’s staying put as the title sponsor of the Byron Nelson in the Dallas area.
The PGA Tour on Tuesday announced a long-term agreement for what now will be called The CJ Cup Byron Nelson. The South Korean global lifestyle company is taking over as title sponsor for AT&T, which had been the sponsor since 2015.
The CJ Cup Byron Nelson will be May 2-5 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. It will be the third “swing” event that will provide five spots into a $20 million signature event the following week at Quail Hollow.
That leaves Japan and the Zozo Championship in October as the only tournament remaining from the fall Asia swing. It previously included the CJ Cup of South Korea, the Zozo Championship and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
That changed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CJ Cup moved to Shadow Creek in Las Vegas in 2020 and the following year was held at The Summit in Las Vegas. And then in 2022, the CJ Cup moved to Congaree in South Carolina. Rory McIlroy is the two-time defending champion.
The defending champion of the Byron Nelson is Jason Day.
The Salesmanship Club of Dallas has run the Byron Nelson since 1968 and generated more than $185 million for charity. All proceeds benefit the Momentous Institute, which the Salesmanship Club has operated since 1920. It provides mental health services, education and professional training to children and families.
The Irish Open has moved from early July a year ago to early September, which ultimately has deprived the PGA Tour Champions event in St. Louis of its defending champion. Padraig Harrington wasn’t about to miss his national open.
But it’s not just the Irish Open that appeals to Harrington. This will be his seventh European tour event this year, and the Irishman is trying to find a comfort level that will lead to victory.
That’s a goal for the 52-year-old Harrington. He wants to be the oldest winner.
“There’s not a lot I could do in golf that would change my ceiling,” he said Tuesday from The K Club. “Like if I turned up in a major and finished fifth, wouldn’t even register. It’s great, but in the scheme of what I’ve done, it’s irrelevant. So what can I do that’s a little bit different, that can motivate me?
“Obviously if I can win a regular tour event, a European Tour event and become the oldest … it would be something different,” he said. “You’re always trying to find a goal.”
Harrington, a three-time major champion and former Ryder Cup captain, has missed only one cut this year on the PGA Tour, the European tour and the majors. That was in Dubai, his first tournament of 2023. He has two top-10 finishes, in Abu Dhabi and the Texas Open.
Attention seems to follow whoever makes a Ryder Cup team as a captain’s pick, good and bad. Darren Clarke was a pick in 2006, shortly after his wife died, and he delivered a 3-0 record for the week.
Then there was France, where three of the captain’s picks for the Americans — Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson — combined to go 0-9.
But now that each side has six picks, Justin Rose is among those who believe no one will stand out as much.
He was asked if being a pick brought additional pressure.
“Historically, yes. I think in this team scenario, no,” Rose said. “Because it’s half and half. Half the team are picks. I truly believe that there’s less pressure this time around on guys who have been picked.”
But there have been plenty of questions raised for Europe about leaving off Adrian Meronk in favor of Shane Lowry, who hasn’t had a top 10 since the end of February at the Honda Classic.
And there has been plenty of conversation about Justin Thomas, who didn’t reach the PGA Tour postseason for the first time, and Rickie Fowler, who has a 1-6-5 record in his three Ryder Cups away from home and was 13th in the U.S. standings.
STREAK WITH AN ASTERISK
Rory McIlroy ended the PGA Tour season with 10 consecutive finishes in the top 10, a streak that began with a tie for seventh in the PGA Championship.
That’s according to official PGA Tour statistics.
It includes the Tour Championship, where McIlroy finished fourth. McIlroy began as the No. 3 seed at East Lake, meaning he started the tournament at 7-under par, three shots behind. McIlroy’s actual score was 7-under 273, which put him in a tie for 11th.
The longest streak of top 10s on the PGA Tour dating to 1983 is 12 in a row by Vijay Singh (2003 NEC Invitational through 2004 Pebble Beach Pro-Am). Right behind was Tiger Woods with 11 in a row (2007 U.S. Open through 2008 U.S. Open).
The weeks go by and the players from LIV Golf keep plunging in the world ranking without access to any points.
The latest example is Dustin Johnson, who held the No. 1 ranking longer than any other since Tiger Woods. He was No. 13 in the world when he signed with Saudi-backed LIV Golf in June 2022. He fell out of the top 100 two weeks ago and now is at No. 110.
Johnson last was outside the top 100 in February 2009, right before he won at Pebble Beach.
The only access to the majors, except for past major champions, is through the world ranking. LIV has only two players in the top 50 this week — Cameron Smith at No. 11 and Brooks Koepka at No. 15 — and four others who are assured of playing multiple majors next year (Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Martin Kaymer).
If the Official World Golf Ranking finds a way to grant LIV ranking points, the field strength will be so low it will be hard to make up any ground.
LIV now has only seven players in the top 100. When the year began, LIV had 11 players in the top 50 and 22 players among the top 100.
And it’s still only September.
John Gough and Mark Power, part of the GB&I team at the Walker Cup, are playing in the Irish Open this week. … Canadian duo Corey Conners and Brooke Henderson will compete in the mixed-team Grant Thornton Invitational in December. The event takes over for the old Shark Shootout and features 16 teams made up of a PGA Tour and LPGA player. Tony Finau and Nelly Korda have committed to play, along with Rickie Fowler and Jessica Korda. … The PGA Tour Champions will have a new postseason event next year. The Simmons Bank Championship at Pleasant Valley in Little Rock, Arkansas, will start in October 2024 as the second of three Charles Schwab Cup playoffs tournaments. … Billy Horschel is adding to his fall schedule by signing up to play the French Open. Tom Kim also is playing at Le Golf National the week before the Ryder Cup.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Scottie Scheffler had an adjusted scoring average of 68.629, the eighth-best for a PGA Tour season dating to 1980. The seven averages ranked ahead of him all belonged to Tiger Woods.
“We certainly don’t underestimate them. They are going to be extremely tough opponents, but we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready for them.” — European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald.
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