Two great events, two great courses separated by a tad under 5,000 miles.
You can find the PGA Tour in Fort Worth this week at its oldest non-major event. Used to be the Colonial Invitational, still is for the most part, they call it the Fort Worth Invitational this week and that’s okay too.
Across the pond the European Tour has its flagship event, the PGA at stately Wentworth.
Which brings us to this week’s question:
Which tournament has the better field?
Take a look at the European PGA. Huge event, first this season in their Rolex Series. They carry the larger purses on a tour that desperately needs larger purses. When you compare the European Tour to the PGA Tour, it’s pennies to dollars as far as total money per event.
Wentworth is a great setting but this year’s field is nothing to write home about — except for one player.
In Europe, Rory McIlroy drives the needle the way Tiger Woods does in this country. The tournament over there desperately needs for Rors to play well and he’s off to a great start. He’s the eighth-ranked player in the world and the class of this year’s field at Wentworth. They’ve got Paul Casey at No. 10 and Tommy Fleetwood at No. 12 and that’s basically it as far as big-name players.
Sure they’ve got Koepka, but it’s the wrong Koepka — No. 326 Chase, not No. 11 Brooks.
Now let’s take a look at the field assembled at hallowed Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.
It’s a tribute to the course and its history. They’ve got a great field.
How’s this: No. 3 Jordan (I can’t putt anymore) Spieth, No. 4 Jon Rahm, No. 5 Justin Rose, No. 6 Rickie Fowler and the “other” Koepka and that would be world’s No. 11 and defending U.S. Open champion Brooks.
Notice that two of Europe’s biggest names have foregone Wentworth in favor of Colonial and that would be Rose and Rahm.
Sadly, this may be the final year where Colonial draws a great field.
In the brave new world of compressing the majors, the Byron Nelson and Colonial are sandwiched around the PGA Championship, which means Colonial is now the week after the season’s second major championship. Take a bite of your crap sandwich, good people of Fort Worth because that’s what the tour’s new schedule has fashioned for you.
Hopefully some guys will honor the history of the event and show up.
One of the great things about Colonial is that it has not been rendered obsolete by today’s jacked-up golf balls and technology-charged equipment. You still have to carefully plot your way around Colonial and the “Horrible Horseshoe” (holes three, four and five) are still horrible if you get out of position on them.
Colonial still gives the non-bombers a chance, perfect evidence was Kevin Na’s 62 on Thursday, a shot off the tournament record of 61.
Look at their Wall Of Champions and you see a lot of the history of golf — Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Mickelson and Crenshaw.
Not sure if Tiger Woods ever showed up in Fort Worth.
This one is pure history, let’s just hope it doesn’t become past history.