Crowne Plaza Invitational preview

The PGA Tour remains in Texas this week for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Zach Johnson defends the title at "Hogan's Alley."

Zach Johnson defends Crowne Plaza Invitational (Getty Images)

Lowdown: The PGA Tour remains in Texas this week for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Zach Johnson defends the title at "Hogan's Alley."

Since it's inception in 1946, this tournament has been played on the same course and, in terms of length, the layout has changed little over the years. When Texas native Ben Hogan won the first Colonial Invitational the course measured 7,035 yards. It can now be stretched to 7,204 yards, but it generally plays a touch shorter than that.

Hogan dominated the early years of this event winning five times between 1946 and 1959, hence the course's nickname. Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson have also lifted the title.

Last season Zach Johnson conspired to throw away the victory but, despite a double bogey at the last, he was able to stay ahead of Jason Dufner who had suffered his own travails with a triple-bogey seven at the 15th.

Colonial is a testing course where the wind can play a factor, as it did last season. In 2012 the scoring average was over 71 - the highest it has been at Colonial since 2002.

This week the weather should be fair and the wind won't be overly punishing. Look then for some low scores to be recorded.

The tournament is an invitational with just 136 places available on the start list. The winner of the event is famously presented with a garish tartan jacket and a simply enormous trophy, as this picture of Zach Johnson confirms.

Venue: Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas Date: May 23-26 Course stats: par 70, 7,204 yards Purse: $6,400,000 Winner: $1,152,000 Defending Champion: Zach Johnson (-12)

TV Coverage: Thursday 23 - Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Friday 24 - Sky Sports 2 from 8pm Saturday 25 - Sky Sports 2 from 7pm Sunday 26 - Sky Sports 2 from 6pm

Player Watch:

Angel Cabrera - The Agrentinian is on good form following his playoff defeat at the Masters. He has three top-20 finishes to his name in his last five starts.

Charl Schwartzel - This might be his first start at Colonial, but he managed a third place on his debut at the Byron Nelson last week. He's an incredibly talented player and, when on form, can win anywhere.

Matt Kuchar - Mr Consistent. He's never missed a cut at Colonial and has made 16 straight cuts on the PGA Tour, he'll be looking for a good result here.

Key hole: 5th. This has played as the toughest hole on the course since stats began to be recorded 25 years ago. At 481 yards it's a long par 4 made more difficult by the ditch waiting to the left and a river on the right. The approach must be supremely accurate to a long, narrow target.

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. Those who can shape their shots to seek out the pins will go low this week.

Where Next? European Tour - BMW PGA Championship preview

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?