Watching the EDS Byron Nelson this past weekend, I wondered about the future of the event that television reporters were calling a “fifth major” (much, I am sure, to the dismay of the PGA Tour, which would like to think that’s the Players). Without Nelson’s august presence on the 18th, the event loses some of its luster and becomes just another stop on the tour—albeit one named for one of golf’s greatest men.
Whereas Nelson’s personal appeal brought the top players in, I would not be surprised to find that, in his absence, their numbers dwindle. Most famously, Tiger already has abandoned ship. I really don’t expect to see him back.
I’ll also predict that within ten years, the EDS Byron Nelson simply becomes the [insert name of corporate entity here] Championship. Nelson will be honored in some token pre-game ceremony, and television will do a quick feel-good essay, but that’ll be it. It’s the same thing that happened to the Crosby Pro Am, now known as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. And it’ll be the fate of the Hope.
All things must come to pass. Our memories are short.