The Byron Nelson is back. That’s the word from tournament officials, who are nearly giddy about getting back to full capacity after the pandemic caused the event’s cancelation in 2020 and severely restricted attendance in 2021, the first year at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney.
Jon Drago, tournament director, and Clay Duvall, 2022 tournament chair, announced details for this year’s event at the course on Tuesday.
They’re adding a lot of extras to bring back the party atmosphere for which the tournament became known when it was hosted at the Four Seasons in Las Colinas—and enhancing the fan experience for those who are serious about seeing great golf.
“The Byron Nelson has always been kind of like the rite of passage to spring,” said Duvall, executive vice president at Lincoln Property Co. “And that is what it is going to be this year. We’re going to have a huge crowd, and there’s going to be a ton of energy. I’m just thrilled to have as many people as possible come out and watch golf and have fun with us in McKinney.”
Forty-five private hospitality suites were added this year—and all have already sold out. General admission tickets are now on sale for $75 per day. It includes access to The Bunker on hole 9, presented by Garrison Brothers Distillery; Tito’s Stillhouse near the 18th green; the Cadillac Club near the 10th green, and all public seating areas around the course. Upgraded tickets include access to the ULTRA Club, Champions Club, and Choctaw Club.
Officials also are bringing back a tournament concert, with seven-time Country Music Award winner and Grammy nominee Lee Brice taking the stage on Saturday night across from the tournament’s main entrance. Tickets will go on sale March 1.
Much of the viewing expansion is happening around hole 17, which will feel more like a stadium, Duvall says, with double-decked skyboxes. About 300 general admission seats will be up for grabs, which may spark a fan rush like what happens at the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale’s famous 16th hole.
PRO TIP FROM JON DRAGO
We asked the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament director to share his thoughts on the best tournament viewing spot:
“There are a lot of great places to watch golf, but if you’re looking for the spot where you can see the most golf and hear cheers in a 360-degree area around you, if you stand between 10 green and 18 tee, you’ll have the 10th green, the 11th tee, the 12th green, the 13th tee, the 16th green, and then coming back to 17, the enclosed stadium hole that’s there, and then as players finish, coming down to 18. So, in any direction, you can see really great golf.”
Funds raised at the AT&T Byron Nelson benefit Momentous Institute, a nonprofit that helps build and repair the social and emotional health of children. A new initiative, Birdies for Mental Health, is modeled after the PGA’s Birdies for Charity program and allows for donation pledges for birdies made at the tournament. Pledges are being accepted through May 11.
Even with reduced attendance, the 2021 Byron Nelson Tournament netted $5.5 million for Momentous Institute, Duvall said. “The goal is always to do better,” he said. “We have our largest sales target ever this year, and I believe we will meet it. Getting the fans out and purchasing general admission tickets will play a big part.”
Drago said he expects the 2022 tournament to attract a strong group of players. “We had a really strong field last year, including a couple of players who hadn’t played us before,” he said. “We expect all our players to support us again, and we can’t wait for their second chance [at TPC Craig Ranch].
The fact that the AT&T Byron Nelson comes just a week before the PGA Championship should help, Drago added. “What we’ve learned is that no matter where you are on the calendar or what golf course you’re playing, there are going to be some guys who like it and some who don’t,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to create an environment that is welcoming to them and a competitive environment for them. Clearly, when the PGA Championships is just four or five hours up the road in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I think that is going to help us this year. We have a really good spot on the calendar, and we think it will help us get a couple of players who haven’t played us in the past.”
Click here for additional information on the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson.