HP Byron Nelson 2012 Leaderboard: Exciting Finish Good Sign for Golf

Tim KeeneyContributor IMay 20, 2012

IRVING, TX - MAY 20: Jason Dufner of the United States lines up a putt at the eighteenth hole during the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort on May 20, 2012 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

The HP Byron Nelson is far from a headlining tournament, but Jason Dufner, Dicky Pride and others managed to provide enough excitement to make it relevant.

And for golf's popularity moving forward, that's an incredibly positive sign.

Let's face it, ever since Tiger Woods went into a tailspin and started playing the most inconsistent golf of his career, golf suffered. Woods was the dynamic golfer who drove like Happy Gilmore and putted like Happy Gilmore after he went to the mini-golf course. 

He was likable, and he was talented. He drew a crowd, and he did it with ease. 

Without Tiger, golf was expected to take a hit, and it did for a while. However, it appears to be picking up steam again, and this tournament is yet another step in the right direction for one major reason—excitement factor.

With less than nine total holes to play for the last group, there were five golfers tied on Sunday at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving—yes, five.

The names were nothing special (unless you count Dicky Pride as a special name), but the important part is that the excitement and tension reached a high level, and it wasn't even a big tournament. I would have watched Charles Barkley and four random guys with equally terrible swings if they were all tied with just a few holes to play. 

To cap off this memorable Sunday, Dufner sunk a birdie on No. 16 to tie it and then another one on No. 18 to win it. 

I wouldn't be surprised if this weekend's tournament went largely unwatched, but it's how it finished and how much drama it provided that suggest good things for golf in the future. 

Combine this tournament with multiple other dramatic finishes this season and young, likable golfers such as Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler gaining steam, and golf is right where it needs to be.

If tournaments keep going like this, things will only get better.


Final Leaderboard


Golfer Score
1 Jason Dufner -11
2 Dicky Pride -10
T3 Joe Durant -9
T3 Marc Leishman -9
T3 Jonas Blixt -9
T3 J.J. Henry -9
T7 Ken Duke -6
T7 Phil Mickelson -6
T9 Robert Garrigus -5