Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial preview

It’s the final week of the “Texas-swing” as the PGA Tour heads to Forth Worth for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. It’s one of the oldest events on the Tour schedule and one of the most prestigious titles.

Colonial Country Club

Lowdown: Since it’s inception in 1946 The Colonial has been played on the same course and the layout has changed little over the years. When Texas native Ben Hogan won the first Colonial Invitational the course measured 7,035 yards. This year the layout will play 7,204 (it’s been extended by 150 yards since last season.) Hogan dominated the early years of this event winning five times between 1946 and 1959. Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson have also lifted the title. There’s a strong British contingent in the field this week with some very realistic hopes of success. Brian Davis is enjoying an exceptional run of form – he’s been in the top five in each of his last three starts. Fresh off his PGA championship victory at Wentworth, Paul Casey will be looking for his second win in Texas in 2009. Luke Donald is also coming onto some good form and he loves classic layouts like Colonial. Last season, Phil Mickelson played one of the shots of the season on the final hole of the tournament - he blasted a wedge from heavy rough to set up a birdie that won him the title by a single shot from Rod Pampling and Tim Clark. Unfortunately, as Phil’s wife Amy was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, he won’t be at Colonial Country Club to defend his title.

Venue: Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas Date: May 28-31 Course stats: par 70, 7,204 yards Purse: $6,200,000, Winner: $1,116,000 Defending champion: Phil Mickelson (-14)

TV coverage: Thursday 28th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm Friday 29th - Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm Saturday 30th - Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm Sunday 31st - Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm Player watch: Kenny Perry – He’s won this event twice since 2002 and finished second once. He’s still playing solid golf and will surely feature come Sunday afternoon. Rory Sabbatini – The South African played brilliantly to capture last week’s Byron Nelson Championship and was a winner at Colonial in 2007. He’s a streaky player so will look to continue his good form at a course he clearly enjoys. Jim Furyk – Twice a runner-up at Colonial, the ever-consistent Furyk is overdue a victory. This tight, strategic course could be the place he ends the drought.

Key hole: 12th. At 445 yards, the hole has been extended by 30 yards for this year’s tournament. It played as the toughest hole on the back nine before it was lengthened so it might well pose some problems this week. The fairway is a dog-leg to the left and demands an accurate tee-shot. The approach generally plays into the wind and the green is well protected by bunkers.

Skills required: Ball-striking. Solid and accurate iron shots will be the key to success at Colonial both for position from the tee and to the tightly guarded greens.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?