The Regions Tradition, the Champions Tour's first of 5 majors, enters its 8th year of existence and 30th year as the Tradition.
The tournament was played from 2011-2015 at Shoal Creek then was moved to Greystone Golf and Country Club in 2016. It will be played on Greystone's Founders Course. The course will play a lengthy 7,256 yards and is a par 72. Bernhard Langer is the 2 time defending champion at The Tradition at Greystone. He just won the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands Country Club in the Woodlands, Texas 2 weeks ago, so he'll be a tough one to defeat. Langer has the all time record for major wins with 10 having set that record last year when he was the victor at the Regions for major victory No.8 to match Jack Nicklaus, then added No.9 a week later at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and then No.10 at the Senior Open Championship later in the summer .
There are some other interesting contenders in a solid field. Tom Lehman, who won at Shoal Creek in 20111 and 2012 and is a 1996 Open Championship champion, should be a factor. Vijay Singh, who won 3 majors on the PGA Tour, the 1998 and 2003 PGA Championships, and the 2000 Masters, is now competing on both tours, and could be a force in the upcoming future. David Toms, who won the PGA Championship in 2001, is now competing on the Champions Tour. So some big guns who are squaring off with Langer for the Champions Tour's first major.
No.15, 609 yards, Par 5
A lengthy par 5 and a a 3 shot hole for the Champions' competitors. Accuracy is critical on the player's first 2 shots so he can get it close on his third shot and make a birdie. There is a creek running along the left side that comes into play on the second and third shots.
No.16, 443 yards, par 4
The tee shot needs to be well placed on the right central part of the fairway which will leave the competitor a mid iron to the green. The bunker in front of the green is a pretty certain bogey if the player hits it in there.
No.17 201 yards, Par 3
A really good downhill par 3. Club selection is important when the wind is blowing on this elevated tee though the wind looks like it'll be anywhere from 5-8 MPH, so not a tremendous factor. It's considered a hard green to read because of the slopes surrounding the green can make reading the direction of a putt tricky with hillier terrain affecting a putt. It's considered an easy par and a difficult birdie hole.
No.18, 526 yards, Par 5
An excellent finishing hole that requires 3 well placed shots, or for the bigger hitters, maybe a shot at an eagle though this green is small and there is water on the left side of the green, so hitting the putting surface in 2 will be challenging. If a competitor needs to catch the leader on Sunday, he may give it a rip. A creek borders the fairway on the right off the tee. If a competitor is trying for birdie, he need to hit it close and below the hole because putts above the hole are very quick and tough to hole. The leader, if he's in the last group and up by 2 shots, may want to play for the middle of the green and 2 putt for par. Pretty small landing area this green.
85-89 for the 4 days. Pretty hot on Sunday with a high of 89 and humid. Winds 5-8 MPH each day. Rain chances are 60% on Thursday and Friday, 20% on Saturday and 60% again on Sunday. But they've been threatening heavy rain all week and we haven't gotten much, so they should be fine.
TV (Central Time)
Thursday-Friday: Golf Channel, 11:30 AM-2:30 PM. Saturday, Sunday, GC, 2-4 PM.
Langer is the obvious choice. He's a total stud and he played with Saban today, so he probably got a motivational talk. But I'm going to choose a different player. I'm going with a player who is new to the Champions, but is quite an established PGA Tour player. He finished tied for 23rd last week at the Players Championship shooting -9, which is only 1 shot less than Si Woo Kim won the 2017 Players at (-10). So I'm going to take the 51 year old from Edgerton, Wisconsin.
Winner at the Kingsmill Championship
Defending Champion, Lexi Thompson
River Course at Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Virginia, 6,445 yards, par 71
TV: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 9:30 AM-11:30 AM CT; Saturday-Sunday, Golf Channel, 4-6 PM CT.
With the women taking center stage in 2 weeks at Shoal Creek in Birmingham in the U.S. Women's Open, a huge event for the city and the state, I'll predict this week's tournament. Will have a full rundown of the Open before the tournament starts that week. Will also go hole by hole with Shoal Creek head pro Eric Williamson later next week, and ask him what kind of player can win at this classic Jack Nicklaus course. This week at Kingsmill as the women gear up for the U.S. , I'll take the 20 year old Canadian, who just won the Lotte Championship in Hawaii last month.
AT&T Byron Nelson
Trinity Forest Golf Club, 7,380 yards, par 71. New course south of Dallas after TPC Four Seasons, on the north side of town, hosted it for several years. The defending champion at the Nelson is Billy Horschel. The Golf Channel will televise Thursday-Friday from 3-6 PM CT, and Saturday and Sunday from 12-1:45 PM CT, with CBS picking it up Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 PM CT.
I'm going to take the 37 year old from Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (Know that sounds redundant but that's how it's listed in Wiki). He finished tied for 11th at the Players last week shooting 69,68,72, 68, -11, 7 shots back of Webb Simpson, who was blasting the field until the 18th where he doubled but still came away with a 4 shot victory. This player has won 4 times in Texas, at the 2007 Shell Houston, the 2008 Byron Nelson, the 2010 Valero Open in San Antonio, and at the then Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth in 2014. Colonial will host the tour next week at the Fort Worth Invitational. The 37 year old has 13 PGA Tour titles and captured a Green Jacket in 2013. I'll go Down Under and take the Aussie.