Top Storylines Heading into the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship

Fred AltvaterContributor IIMay 14, 2013

Top Storylines Heading into the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship

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    Jason Dufner won the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship and will defend his title this week at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Course in Irving, Texas.

    It was his second win on the PGA Tour in less than one month. He went on to post eight top-10 finishes last year and earned $4.8 million.

    Coming on the heels of a drama filled and exciting finish to the Players Championship last week, the pros will be happy to return to the comfortable confines of the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Sergio Garcia/Tiger Woods Create Drama at the Players Championship

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    In a story that just will not go away. Sports Illustrated reported that the marshals working the second hole on Saturday did not say anything to Woods and Woods did not say anything to them.

    Much drama was created when Garcia claimed, during a rain delay, that Woods had disrupted his second shot on the par-5 second hole. Garcia eventually made bogey on the hole.

    It is yet another in a growing list of incidents between the two competitors.

    Could we hope for a Garcia/Woods singles Ryder Cup match in 2014?

Only Three International Players Have Won on the PGA Tour in 2013

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    International players have fared very well on the PGA Tour in recent years. Through 20 tournaments completed thus far in 2013 only three International players have made it to the winners circle.

    Martin Laird won at the Valero Texas Open, Graeme McDowell won on Hilton Head and Adam Scott won the Masters.

    With Europeans Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy all residing and playing on the PGA Tour, it is surprising that American-born players are having this much success.

Youth Continues to Be a Factor on the PGA Tour

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    Russell Henley started the trend of youngsters performing well on the PGA Tour this year when he won the first full-field event of the year at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.

    Billy Horschel posted four top-10 finishes before he won at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.

    Derek Ernst, who will be making just his ninth start on the PGA Tour, won the Wells Fargo Championship. He was on his way to play in a Web.com event in Georgia when he got the call that he got into the field as an alternate.

    Struggling, young golf professional to millionaire PGA Tour winner in four days.

    Dreams do come true on the PGA Tour.

Jeff Maggert Is in the Byron Nelson Field

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    Tour veteran Jeff Maggert had a fantastic week at the Players Championship.

    Maggert had missed four cuts in 13 starts in 2013, and his best finish was a T-46 at the Pebble Beach back in February.

    He was tied for the lead until his tee shot at the par-3 island green on No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass came up just a wee bit short in the final round. It found a watery grave and drowned his chances of collecting a win at the Players Championship. 

    Maggert is a native of Texas and is in the field this week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Henrik Stenson Is Returning to Form

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    Henrik Stenson was one of the best players in the world from 2006 through 2009. He won the 2007 WGC-Accenture Match Play and the 2009 Players Championship.

    He spent over 90 weeks in the Top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings, and was the highest ranked European for a time.

    His game mysteriously disappeared in 2010 and 2011 and he is just now regaining his world-class form.

    He was in contention last week in the 2013 Players Championship and tied for fifth. 

Where Have You Gone Rory McIlroy?

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    Rory McIlroy continues to be a mystery on the PGA Tour.

    After winning his second major title and collecting three other big checks in 2012, McIlroy has yet to win in 2013.

    He struggled with his swing and new equipment early in the year, and is slow to regain the form that helped to win the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours last year.

    He has found the Top-10 in three of his last four starts, however. Maybe he is on the cusp of a strong run through the rest of the year.

Tiger Woods Increases His Lead over Rory McIlroy in the OWGR

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    With his fourth win of the year coming at the Players Championship, Tiger Woods has stretched his lead in the Official World Golf Rankings to three points over No. 2, Rory McIlroy.

    McIlroy finished T-8 at the Players Championship and has not won this year.

    Golf fans want a Woods/McIlroy rivalry, but with the way that Woods is playing, no one is in his league right now.

    Neither player is in the field this week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, and we probably will not see them play until the Memorial Tournament in two weeks. 

Best Players Pass on the HP Byron Nelson Championship

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    The PGA Tour is rapidly approaching the heart of the season.

    With the top players just coming off a demanding week at the Players Championship and facing three majors, as well as the FedEx Cup playoffs scheduled over the next four months, they need to work some off-time into their busy schedules.

    The Texas Swing currently offers to draw the big names, but with the deep pool of young talent that is available on the PGA Tour, the event should still offer excitement and quality golf.