Want to play blackjack while watching the PGA Tour? You can at the new AT&T Byron Nelson venue.

The par-3 17th hole at TPC Craig Ranch is quite the party.

Want to play blackjack while watching the PGA Tour? You can at the new AT&T Byron Nelson venue.

MCKINNEY, Texas – Scoot over, 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. The PGA Tour might have new royalty when it comes to golf insanity.

The 17th hole at TPC Craig Ranch, the new venue for the AT&T Byron Nelson, is enclosed much like the famous 16th at Scottsdale, but the area comes with a new twist — you can play a hand of blackjack or throw some dice while watching.

This comes courtesy of the Choctaw Club, a massive complex that sits alongside the 16th green with views of Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17, provided in association with a casino that sits just over the Oklahoma border. The games are simply for fun, however. Tickets start at $425 per day and include an open bar and “premium buffet.”

The club is one of many that line the closing stretch of holes during an impressive array of hospitality choices. Although players are scoring at will this week at the new course, the move was made largely because the Tom Weiskopf design could accommodate larger gatherings.

Developer and course namesake David Craig spent nearly 20 years telling just about anyone who would listen, that one day the AT&T Byron Nelson would be played at his TPC Craig Ranch golf course.

AT&T Byron Nelson: Leaderboard | Photos

As the golf-inspired, socially-infused chaos spread out before him on a sunny Saturday afternoon, even he had a hard time believing what he was seeing.

“It’s far exceeded my expectations. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. The site is great, the players are outstanding and the fans are having a good time,” he said from his perch of massive sponsor tents behind the 18th green.

If he needed any backup to his observation, he could ask the thousands of eating and drinking fans all around the shaded sponsor tents which backed both the 9th and the 18th greens and totally encircled the par-3 17th. All were sold out for 2021 and most inked to a five-year contract, with individual villas themselves going for an annual sum between starting out at $25,000 and reaching as high as $125,000.

Craig said weekend grounds passes for the Nelson, long since sold out, were going for $400 on the secondary market with rooftop spots with food and drink included going for $800, a first for the Nelson since Tiger Woods arrived here in 1997 fresh off his initial Masters win.

For the annual PGA Tour event, the all-time charity fundraising leader with $167 million raised since 1968, the tagline for this year was, “The Party is Back.” If that’s the case, consider it mission accomplished.

Bryson DeChambeau prepares to hit at the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch. The new facility is more fan-friendly.

The PGA Tour limited the Nelson to 12,500 fans, due to COVID regulations, but tournament director Jon Drago said the Nelson could have sold 100,000 tickets this week with no regulations due to the stellar field and new location inside an upscale development in the fastest-growing part of the region.

Craig added the par-3 17th, which he called a “Nelson cathedral of sound,” could hold 10,000. Craig said he and Tour officials, along with the sponsoring Salesmanship Club, agreed to a five-year deal at TPC Craig Ranch with a five-year option after that and he hoped the Nelson and Craig Ranch, plus the party atmosphere would be here for a long time to come.

“He told me almost every day, the Byron Nelson would be here and he could it bigger and better than anybody,” said former general manager Todd Harbour on hand to witness the spectacle. “He told everybody. It turns out he was right.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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AT&T Byron Nelson: Jordan Spieth in contention to win his hometown event

The Texan is T-3 and in position to earn his best finish at the Tour's stop in Dallas.

AT&T Byron Nelson: Jordan Spieth in contention to win his hometown event

A decade after his coming out party at the AT&T Byron Nelson as a 16-year-old prodigy, Jordan Spieth is in position to win his hometown tournament for the first time.

Or, if nothing less, perhaps record his first top-10 finish in his 10th attempt at this tournament where in 2010 he finished T-16. Amazingly, he’s never done better, but this could be the year. Spieth finished off a third-round 6-under 66 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, in dramatic fashion, sinking a putt from 31 feet off the green for eagle to climb into a share of third place at 17-under 199, three strokes behind leader Sam Burns (69) and two behind South Korea’s K.H. Lee (67).

“When it got on the green, I thought, ‘Wow, if it has enough, it’s going to get there and it’s going to be electric’ and 4 feet to go I thought it was going to go in,” said Spieth, who lifted his putter to the sky in early celebration.

AT&T Byron Nelson: Leaderboard | Photos

On the day of the Preakness Stakes triple crown race, Spieth was slow out of the gate, making par on his first five holes, including a three-putt par from 64 feet at the par-5 fifth. But then he made his move, recording birdies on four of his next five holes. Just when he seemed poise to make another of his patented Saturday charges, Spieth lost his footing, though he opted for a car racing metaphor.

“I was leaking oil the last few holes,” he said.

Two bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16 – the first when he hung his tee shot at the par 3 to the right and failed to get up and down and the latter the result of an uncharacteristic three-putt from 17 feet – dropped him back to 15 under and four strokes back at the time.

Spieth battled a misbehaving putter on Friday, losing nearly a stroke and half to the field on the greens. So, he made an adjustment in his setup for the third round, widening his stance and bending over slightly more. The results were mixed. He took 29 putts on Saturday and lost ground to the field again (-0.385).

“I opened up a little bit and got worried on a couple missing left, so I ended up pushing them right,” he said. “If I was putting as well as I do in tournaments that I win, we would have a number of strokes better right now. Hopefully I can make up for that tomorrow.”

He got a head start with the eagle at 18 after sending his second at the par 5 just over the green. Putting through the Zoysia grass had given him fits earlier in the round. Not this time. His latest magic act sent the hometown fans into a frenzy.

“Once it got on the green, it looked good,” Spieth said. “Started the putter raise and I wasn’t positive it was going in because the angle it was coming in at. I wanted to do the no look to the crowd, but, I mean, it was a really cool moment.”

Spieth’s eagle erased the two late bogeys in one fell swoop, climbing into a tie for third with Matt Kuchar (66), Sweden’s Alex Noren (70) and South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel (66).

Spieth still has ground to make up if he’s going to vault past Lee, who is seeking his first PGA Tour title, and Burns, who is trying to win in back-to-back starts. Burns followed up his sizzling 62 on Friday with a workmanlike 3-under 69, which his caddie, Travis Perkins, reminded him wasn’t too shabby at all.

“I told him, ‘Man, I didn’t really have my best stuff today’ and just left a few out there. He’s like, ‘Yeah, but it’s hard to follow up what happened yesterday. It’s important to remember that.’ ”

Spieth, who has won 12 times including three majors since his debut at the Byron Nelson as a teen sensation, knows he’ll have to keep going low to have a chance to win for the second time in his native Texas this year. (He won the Valero Texas Open last month.)

“It’s one of those rounds you want to control your own destiny,” he said of Sunday’s finale at TPC Craig Ranch, “but looks like I’ll be three back, and so you just got to go low or hope that Sam doesn’t go as low, right?”

About as right as his hole-out at 18.

Source : Golf Week More   

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