Four Seasons Employees Say ‘Goodbye' to Byron Nelson Tournament

Employees at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas are helping host the 35th and final AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament at the property this week.

"It's been such a pleasure to be able to host this many years," said Paul Earnest, director of golf at the Four Seasons. "We measure our tenure in a lot of ways and how many Nelsons. Not how many years of service—it's how many Nelsons."

This will be Earnest's 20th Nelson.

"This one's gonna be the best ever," he said.

And the Four Seasons employees are ready for it, from the kitchen to the golf course.

"This is the pastry kitchen where they do thousands and thousands of chocolate chip cookies during Byron Nelson," said kitchen employee Gilberto Perez.

"Right now we have the golf course just rearing to go. It's like holding back a thoroughbred," Earnest said.

They're embracing the final year, while also remembering the first in 1983.

"Oh yeah, none of these homes were here. It was just ranchland," said Buck Raines, while looking at an older aerial view of the Four Seasons property.

Raines helped finish construction before the first Byron Nelson tournament in Irving.

"We opened the club April of '83 and hosted the Byron Nelson in May," Raines said.

While some memories have faded, others are just as vivid as the day they happened.

"It was a birdie early on the card in the tournament," Earnest said, pointing out pictures of himself playing in the tournament in 1999.

There are also countless memories with the tournament's namesake, legendary golfer Byron Nelson.

"Oh, of course!" said locker room attendant Martin Oribhabor. "Before he passed away he was very close to us. And what a nice guy."

"He'd take us into the woodshop and show us what he was working on," Raines said.

Leading up to this final tournament at the Four Seasons, the long-time employees we spoke with said they are simply grateful for the opportunity.

"I think our club is going to miss not having the tournament, but we are so thrilled for 35 rich years of history," Earnest said.

"We just want to have good weather and have a great champion and go out with a bang," Raines said.

And as for the golfers competing, "We really create a good relationship with the players, and I will really miss them," said Oribhabor. "Hopefully I can go and visit them, instead of working for them, I can go and say 'hi!'"

They said the one piece of the tournament that will never leave is the memories, forever on the Four Seasons' Wall of Champions.

Beginning in 2018, the AT&T Byron Nelson will be played at the Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

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