Top Storylines Heading into the HP Byron Nelson Championship

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIMay 14, 2014

Top Storylines Heading into the HP Byron Nelson Championship

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    Sang-Moon Bae won the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship
    Sang-Moon Bae won the 2013 HP Byron Nelson ChampionshipAssociated Press

    Byron Nelson won $2,000 from a total purse of $10,000 in 1944 when this event was called the Texas Open. Sam Snead won in 1945, and Ben Hogan won it the next year in 1946.

    This week, 156 players are vying for the $1.242 million check that goes to the winner from the total purse of $6.9 million.

    Byron Nelson's name was added to the tournament in 1968, and it has raised over $121 million for local charities since its inception.

    Tom Watson, a Nelson protege, is the only four-time winner, but Snead won on three different occasions, and Jack Nicklaus and Bruce Lietzke both won here twice. 

Patrick Cantlay Is Making His 2014 PGA Tour Debut

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    Patrick Cantlay is making his first PGA Tour start of the 2014 season.
    Patrick Cantlay is making his first PGA Tour start of the 2014 season.Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Patrick Cantlay had a phenomenal season on the PGA Tour in 2011 as an amateur.

    He was the low amateur at the U.S. Open that year, firing a back-nine 30 to finish T-21. One week later, he set the all-time record for a low round recorded by an amateur on the PGA Tour with a 60 at the Travelers Championship. 

    Cantlay became a professional in 2012 and earned his 2014 PGA Tour card via the 2013 Web.com Tour.

    This is his first tournament on the tour in 2014, after he was forced to endure back surgery at the end of 2013.

John Daly Is Added to the Field of the HP Byron Nelson Championship

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    John Daly is in the field this week in Dallas.
    John Daly is in the field this week in Dallas.Ricardo Arduengo/Associated Press

    Pat Perez, Scott Verplank and D.H. Lee were forced to withdraw from the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

    John Daly was one of the alternates added to the tournament to fill one of those vacancies.

    In six starts this season, Daly has made just two cuts and earned $39,625.

    Although he won two major titles, the 48-year-old has not won on the PGA Tour since the 2004 Buick Invitational.

Big Names Are in the Field This Week in Dallas

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    Padraig Harrington won the 2008 Open Championship.
    Padraig Harrington won the 2008 Open Championship.Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    There are some very familiar names in the field this week at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas.

    Padraig Harrington is just one of 16 former major champions playing in the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

    Mike Weir, Vijay Singh, Daly, Angel Cabrera, Retief Goosen, Ben Curtis, David Duval, David Toms, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Trevor Immelman, Martin Kaymer, Justin Leonard, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel will join Harrington. Collectively, they have won 23 major titles.

Players Champion Martin Kaymer Is in the Field

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    Martin Kaymer won the 2014 Players Championship.
    Martin Kaymer won the 2014 Players Championship.John Raoux/Associated Press

    Martin Kaymer, hot off his win at the Players Championship and with the $1.8 million check in his bank account, will try to make it two wins in a row.

    After his win at the 2010 PGA Championship, Kaymer became the top-ranked player in the world. He slipped down the rankings after changing his swing and is just now returning to form.

    He won 10 tournaments worldwide from 2008 to 2011, but until last week, he had not won since the 2011 HSBC-Champions in China.

    He is playing with a ton of confidence right now and could be a factor this week.

No. 5 Matt Kuchar Is the Highest-Ranked Player in the Field This Week

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    Matt Kuchar won the 2014 RBC Heritage Classic.
    Matt Kuchar won the 2014 RBC Heritage Classic.Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    The HP Byron Nelson Championship has a very strong field, and it includes some of the hottest players on the planet right now.

    Six of the top-10 players in the FedEx Cup are in the field this week. Jimmy Walker (1), Matt Kuchar (3), Patrick Reed (4), Dustin Johnson (5), Jordan Spieth (7) and Harris English (8) are trying to move up the FedEx Cup rankings.

    Ten of the top-30 players on the Official World Golf Rankings will also play in Dallas this week.

    Walker has three wins this season, and Reed has two. Kuchar won the RBC Heritage Classic and has eight top-10 finishes in 10 starts this year.

Sang-Moon Bae Will Defend

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    Sang-Moon Bae won the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship.
    Sang-Moon Bae won the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Sang-Moon Bae posted a final round 69 to slip past 54-hole leader Keegan Bradley to win the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship.

    It was his first win on the PGA Tour, and he became the fourth Korean-born player to win on the PGA Tour.

    Bae is looking for some positive vibes. He is ranked No. 102 in the FedEx Cup and has missed five cuts in 15 starts this season.

Jordan Spieth Is Playing a Home Game

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    Jordan Spieth made his first PGA Tour start at the HP Byron Nelson in 2010.
    Jordan Spieth made his first PGA Tour start at the HP Byron Nelson in 2010.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Spieth made his first start on the PGA Tour at the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship as a 16-year-old amateur. He finished T-16 and announced to the world that he could play with the big boys.

    Spieth has had some very close calls of late. He finished runner-up at the Masters and T-4 at the Players Championship last week. 

    The 20-year-old is No. 6 in the FedEx Cup standings and is the No. 8-ranked player in the world.

    Home cooking may be just what the Texan needs to get his first win this year.