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Mac Engel: New course won't keep fans from the Nelson, but date will

Fort Worth Star-Telegram — By Mac Engel Fort Worth Star-Telegram

May 16-- DALLAS-Leave it to one of the nicest men in golf, former Colonial champ Adam Scott, to swing his driver of cruelty at the AT&T Byron Nelson at the new Trinity Forest Golf Club.

"There are no trees to shade under, so no escaping the heat," Scott said Wednesday when I inquired about the course and our signature devil heat. "I am expecting a slow round, (like) 5{ hours in 100-degree heat is going to wear on you a little."

Wow. That sounds ... awful.

In walking the entire course on Wednesday during the Pro Am event, it's evident Scott is exactly right. Trees surround the place, but not a one is within the confines of the course. There are some tents, but fans can expect 98-degree heat as they watch Jordan Spieth attempt a 75-foot putt.

Moving the venerable tournament from Four Seasons in Las Colinas has caused quite the stir and ripples of fear among city leaders and event organizers. People are scared that fans and players won't like Trinity Forest and won't come back.

Ridiculous. The course is a wonderful return to the game's Scottish roots, and if enough players have success, they will return.

What is ridiculous is the date. The PGA Tour should rotate the dates of the Nelson with the Tour events in Houston and San Antonio, both of which are in April, and move its big Dallas event out of our infernal heat at least occasionally.

Asking fans to come on multiple days and stand for hours in near triple-digit heat is a perfect way to keep people away. And if they have kids, forget it.

Both the USGA and the PGA Tour routinely talk about "growing the game." While playing a course like Trinity Forest may do just that, asking fans to attend the Nelson this week feels more like a punishment.

If you plan to attend, be sure to prepare pack sunscreen, SBF 346,325.

Talking to Tour officials on Wednesday, however, it was apparent that when a tournament is played in Texas is not exactly high on the priority list.

The Houston Open remains without a title sponsor, and there are other challenges that are preventing the Tour from announcing its 2018 schedule until, likely, June. The schedule is normally announced by now.

Within Texas, there is room to move PGA Tour tournaments around to give fans in each region a more suitable weather date every other year.

Because of its relationship with TCU and the academic calendar, The Colonial's normal dates around Memorial Day weekend are essentially set. Plus, Colonial has trees. Plenty of them.

But the Houston Open, which was the end of March through April 1, can move around. The same for The Valero in San Antonio, which was April 19-22. And there is always the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, which was March 21-25, that could be switched.

There are other tournaments outside of Texas that could be moved too.

Forget fair, there is no good business reason to ask the Nelson to be a May date every year. The PGA Tour has put the Nelson in May every year since 1973, when it was still at Preston Trail.

Please, PGA Tour, give us a chance to watch this tournament in conditions that Satan himself might not find too warm.

The course is built on a landfill in a not-great area with remote parking, but Augusta National is also in a neighborhood that is less than ideal.

"It's going to take a few years for guys to work this course out," Tour veteran Geoff Ogilvy said Wednesday. "The word in the locker room so far from everybody is positive. It's going to be a good tournament."

What of the fear that PGA Tour pros will run in the other direction because the Nelson is no longer directly attached to the Four Seasons hotel and resort?

"That was one of the best setups was the hotel and the gym; it was great," Ogilvy said. "But it's a small part."

If guys shoot low scores and make good money, they will come back. It also helps when the game's biggest young name, Jordan Spieth, is a local who is committed to both the Nelson and Colonial.

The Nelson is in the same spot as most tournaments not named The Players, The Masters, The U.S. Open, The Open, or not having a direct affiliation with Jack Nicklaus.

There is no reason to complain about the new course at Trinity Forest, but this date deserves a change.

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