IRVING -- Friday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship is known to many as Dallas' unofficial holiday where thousands take a half-day at work and flock to the Four Seasons in Las Colinas for the big party with a little PGA TOUR action thrown in. Some would say the Nelson has lost its luster in recent years following the 2005 event that featured the top five players in the world. Others simply say, "Let's get the party started!"
With a crowd of 63,000 on the TPC Four Seasons golf course following Mickelson, Els, Scott, Bradley, Singh and others on Friday and the Pavilion packed with people enjoying the afternoon party scene, it certainly had the glory days feel in Las Colinas. As we maneuvered through the huge crowd of middle-aged men in visors and ladies clad in sundresses, the party seemingly grew by the minute.
Bars labeled "My Bar" and "Our Bar" had lines matched only by the lines to purchase coupons to trade in for said adult beverages. The actual golf tournament was being shown on the huge TV just outside the big tent, but most of the party-goers were oblivious to the fact that Phil Mickelson doubled No. 18 or that Jason Dufner had taken the lead with a chip-in on the finishing hole.
While I was certainly disappointed to see that former world No.1 player David Duval had withdrawn with a score of +8, it was great to see that the famed Friday afternoon at the Nelson had regained some if its momentum. In addition to the large gathering at the Pavilion, the marquee group of past champions Phil Mickleson (1996), Adam Scott (2008) and Ernie Els (1995) had a gallery of thousands following them around the course. And just like the good old days, the fans headed straight for the Pavilion to join the festivities.
Many of the big names in the field survived the cut and will be around for the weekend. With big names like Players Championship winner Matt Kuchar, Ryan Palmer, Vijay Singh and defending champion Keegan Bradley hovering around the top of the leaderboard, expect the great scene to continue throughout the weekend in Las Colinas.
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