PGA Tour Confidential: The Byron Nelson Championship

Jordan Spieth
Mike Ehrmann/SI
Jordan Spieth was within three shots of the lead on Sunday before drifting back into a tie for 16th place.

SPIETH, 16, STEALS THE SHOW
Godich: Even more telling was the confidence shown by the 16-year-old. He wasn't just talking about playing well; he was talking about winning. And he meant it. You had to be impressed by the kid's poise. He didn't look like a 16-year-old with the way he handled those interviews.

Gorant: He was better in front of the camera than some of the old pros. Maybe that's the sure sign that he's not ready yet: he gives too much to the media.

Shipnuck: Yes, the AJGA is practically as good a training ground as the Nationwide, and not just for the golf. These kids are polished in every way.

Godich: I called my son over to watch the telecast on Saturday and pointed out that Jordan was born the same year he was. He went right back to his Facebook discussion.

Van Sickle: Never seen another 16-year-old this smart. He was funny, realistic, and talked about not getting caught up in "the story about the 16-year-old." We watch 32-year-old veterans get caught up in leading tournaments and fall apart. His parents are in no rush to let Jordan stop being a kid. He'll go to Texas and play some college golf and have a great career. A breath of fresh air, for sure.

Evans: Jordan hasn't even made a college squad yet. After he breaks into the top five at Texas and plays the summer amateur events, we can say what kind of future he might have.

Godich: I'd say a U.S. Junior Am championship and back-to-back high school state titles in Texas are a good start. He can go for the three-peat next year.

Herre: Bet the Colonial would do anything to have Spieth in its field. The kid was great for the gate, and just what a sleepy Texas swing needed.

Van Sickle: Colonial has Phil. These days, that's good enough. But a side of Spieth wouldn't hurt.

Shipnuck: For those who are already getting carried away about Spieth's future, I have two words: Ty Tryon.

Stricklin: This kid is way smarter than TT ever was. He already batted down the going-pro-right-away angle. He told me he is looking forward to four years of golf at Texas. Jordan may not be the next Tiger or Phil, but he is way ahead of Tryon and Colt Knost.

Evans: Ty never tried to play college golf, never won an AJGA event. He got lucky in Q-school before he was ready. Spieth will figure it out at a slower clip through college and the summer amateur events.

STATE OF THE NELSON
Van Sickle: As our infamous Anonymous Pro texted me, the only way the Nelson would've had any stars would've been if the Dallas pro hockey team showed up to spectate.

Stricklin: PGA Tour tournaments truly go in cycles. Just eight years ago, there was no event at Quail Hollow, and the Byron Nelson was a powerhouse, attracting the top five players in the world at the time. Now Quail Hollow is a powerhouse, and the Byron Nelson is at low ebb. Bad date, dead legend and a so-so course equals trouble. Jordan Spieth saved this year's tournament. Next year? Who knows?

Shipnuck: Since Byron's death, the tourney has become B-list at best. Is this what awaits Bay Hill and Memorial, too, when their patron saints aren't around to guilt-trip players into showing up?

Herre: Yes, Bay Hill and the Memorial will be diminished when Arnie and Jack leave the scene. Mostly because their events might not be given such wonderful dates, and in the end, a non-major tournament's success is all about the dates — as much as anything, timing determine the strength of field. The Nelson was also hurt by the Players move to May.

Lipsey: Not too many years ago, Westchester was a beloved course and a kingpin event, so big it was put in the original FedEx Cup rotation. Now the event is dead. Nothing is sacred on Tour anymore.

Van Sickle: The Nelson's woes are directly tied to the Players and Wachovia moving to May, thus turning the succeeding weeks into the new Dead Zone. It wouldn't be any different if Byron were alive. The secret on Tour is to have a big-money sponsor who can buy a good date when one becomes available. Looked like Valero made a big move from the fall to May, but all they did was get suckered into the Dead Zone. See the Canadian Open (pre-FedEx Cup run) for scheduling pitfalls.

Godich: Weibring did a nice job with the redesign, but the golf course still isn't great. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of other options. Plus, as somebody who grew up there, I can tell you that hardly a year goes by without a weather delay.

Morfit: To some extent, tournaments are a big deal if Tiger and Phil say they are, and that dynamic will only intensify post Jack-and-Arnie. (Of course, by then the taste-makers may include Rory and Jason and Jordan and ...)

Stricklin: When Arnie dies, Bay Hill will only have an overrated course surrounded by old homes and Florida condos.

Gorant: That's the problem with building these things around a personality. They're often a tribute to ego anyway, so when that's gone maybe it's appropriate that the event goes, too.

Godich: Maybe so, but the Salesmanship Club raises a ton of money at the Nelson for charity. The Nelson isn't going away.

Van Sickle: The Nelson isn't going away unless HP decides it is. Could happen, but I hope it doesn't. The Nelson is now No. 1 as the best pressroom for media — clubhouse parking, great food, a lounge with couches, massage therapy chairs and masseuses, a Wii, Foosball table, ping pong, delivery pizza each night for dinner, loads of beer. There isn't a spot on Tour where the media get treated more luxuriously. I hereby volunteer for the '11 Nelson.

Evans: The Memorial is handled too well to have a Nelson-style decline, and Bay Hill is too nice a track to be overlooked by the pros, especially if it stays where it is on the schedule, a few weeks before the Masters. What kills the Byron Nelson is that it's played on a TPC course that's not even in the top 10 of the TPC courses.

Stricklin: You give Bay Hill way too much credit. TPC Las Colinas is a yawner, and Bay Hill is just underwhelming. Let's hope Arnie makes it to 92 like Byron.

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