AT&T Byron Nelson tournament organizers remember the disappointing moment well.
“We run an outdoor event, so we plan on changes, we live our lives with flexibility and reacting to circumstances,” said Jon Drago, AT&T Byron Nelson tournament director. “But we’ve never, in the years we’ve been here, had a checklist for how to handle a global pandemic.”
And the way the AT&T Byron Nelson had to handle the news of COVID-19’s impact on the world was by announcing the 2020 tournament was canceled.
“We had to unwind a tournament that never happened,” Drago said. “So to be here a year later, and be a month out from being able to welcome back players, our sponsors, AT&T, and although not all of them, but some of our fans and this new site, it’s refreshing for sure.”
Refreshing to see the return of the golf tournament, but also, because of its new venue located in McKinney.
“The new location at TPC Craig Ranch is just a phenomenal venue,” said John Jenkins, AT&T Byron Nelson tournament chairman. “(Holes) 16, 17, and 18 are going to be phenomenal from a fan viewing experience. It’s going to be exciting, loud and everything you’d want to have watching professional golf.”
Professional golf that already has major commitments, like, the resurgent Jordan Spieth and another one of the top players on tour.
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“Dustin Johnson, number one in the world, committed to us last week,” Jenkins said. “We’re thrilled to announce Dustin is going to be here, and we think we’re going to have a great field.”
And the great field will once again, at least partially, experience the electric crowds the AT&T Byron Nelson has become known for, though with COVID-19 protocols in place for those in attendance.
“Everybody will have to be self-screened before they enter, our fans will be limited to 25% capacity, we’ll have hand sanitizing stations, you’ll see signage about social distancing,” Drago said. “Everyone will also be required to wear a mask when not eating or drinking.”
But even with safety a top priority, organizers believe, the party at the AT&T Byron Nelson is about to be back, giving North Texans an opportunity to celebrate an event that’s become so beloved, and for at least one weekend, forget the many disappointing moments experienced in the last year.
“One of the prevailing themes for 2021, is fun in ’21,” Jenkins said. “That’s what we expect it to be: a fun, great, exciting place for everyone that comes out.”
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