Crowne Plaza Invitational
The tournament known in the past as The Colonial is all about tradition. It has been played at the same venue in the state of Texas since it was inaugurated in 1946. The winner has his name chiselled into the ‘Wall of Champions’ which features greats of the game such as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson. And Sergio Garcia (!!!).
There is a limited field of just 114 players and they qualify by winning regular tournaments and their relative positions in the Money List. Due to the tradition at the course and the relatively small entry this is one of the most sought after titles after the majors. However, Tiger Woods does not compete which is a surprise when you consider his desired legacy in the history of the game.
Tim Clark and Zach Johnson have the best course records in this year’s field. Both players struggle on wide open courses that require above average hitting. Johnson famously laid up on every par 5 in winning the US Masters in 2007. Clark’s only US Tour win was the 2010 Players Championship, played on the Sawgrass course that requires accuracy more than distance.
Henrik Stenson is an interesting contender as he leads the current Tour rankings for both driving accuracy and greens in regulation. He has reached number four in the world in the past but is now looking to get his career back on track after a spell of injury and a dip in form. The Swede made the payout places in the Players Championship two weeks ago, a good form guideline for this week’s test in Texas.
The tournament has a recent history of producing multiple winners. Since 2005 three champions have been recording a second win at Colonial, with Johnson the most recent last year. Ben Hogan is a five times champion and the only player to win more than two Colonials.
Over the last ten years the average winning score has been sixteen under which is relatively low for a par 70 course. That means every winner in that spell has broken 270 for the four rounds. Johnson’s 21 under return in 2010 is the lowest winning score in the history of the tournament.