The tournament moved from Las Colinas’ Four Seasons and Sports Club, where its roots extended back to 1983, to the links-style course off of Highway 175 for its 50th season.
And while many big-named golfers competed for the $1.38 million first-place prize, the story of the four-day PGA tournament in May was the course itself, and how the athletes and spectators were adjusting to a new set of greens.
As is customary with a links-style course, the new Nelson tournament featured a slate of greens free of sand traps and water.
This also meant fewer opportunities for shade from the Texas sun, as both spectators and players alike felt the full power of the heat when temperature never dipped below 90 degrees.
Then the final day of the tournament was hit with a classic Texas two-step: a 30-degree drop in temperature and thunderstorms.
Play was delayed five times for a total of four hours, with golf officially restarting around 1:20 p.m. That pushed the final day’s proceedings past 8 p.m., with eventual champion Aaron Wise lifting his trophy under the night sky.
Jesuit’s Jordan Spieth fell out of contention early as Wise, Marc Leishman and Branden Grace pulled ahead quickly on Friday and Saturday. Spieth is a draw anytime he plays in his home state, but even his presence couldn’t hold a large Sunday crowd– normally, the largest of any major tournament.
Rain was certainly a reason, but many spectators mentioned disliking the new venue.
“It’s just too hot [in Dallas] to not have tree cover,” said Josh Roudlin, a Dallas resident. “The links-style courses are great in Europe, but it’s a stretch to pull it off in the summer in North Texas.”
Spieth, however, urged residents to give the new location a chance and mentioning several times post-play how much the other golfers enjoyed Trinity Forest.
“This is obviously a change of pace this year over here at Trinity Forest,” Spieth said. “Ahead of time, there was a lot of skepticism from players and caddies from last year regarding this place, but it’s been overwhelmingly positive over the last couple of days since people have gotten here. It’s really cool.”
“I asked a lot of guys and I didn’t hear one bad thing said,” he added. “A lot of guys said, ‘It’s grown on me day to day, I really enjoyed it as a change of pace, and I had a lot of fun playing this golf course.’”