It’s invitation only on the PGA Tour as golf returns this week with the Charles Schwab Challenge. A select field is set to compete, with this tournament one of just five invitational events on the PGA Tour.
The name was new in 2019, the latest in a line of sponsors to take over naming rights for the tournament, but this is an historic and popular event which golf fans refer to simply as the Colonial after the host course. Located in Fort Worth in Texas, the Colonial has held the event each year since it’s inauguration in 1946.
Colonial Country Club is one of the PGA Tour’s gems and it often attracts a top class field. Recent winners include Major winners Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Zach Johnson.
|Colonial Country Club||Fort Worth, Texas||7,209 Yards||$7.5 Million|
Charles Schwab Challenge Recent Winners
|Year||Winner||To Par||Winning Margin||Course|
|2021||Jason Kokrak||-14||2 Strokes||Colonial Country Club|
|2020||Daniel Berger||-15||Playoff||Colonial Country Club|
|2019||Kevin Na||-13||4 strokes||Colonial Country Club|
|2018||Justin Rose||-20||3 Strokes||Colonial Country Club|
|2017||Kevin Kisner||-10||1 Stroke||Colonial Country Club|
|2016||Jordan Spieth||-17||3 Strokes||Colonial Country Club|
|2015||Chris Kirk||-12||1 Stoke||Colonial Country Club|
|2014||Adam Scott||-9||Playoff||Colonial Country Club|
Colonial Country Club
Colonial Country Club is widely recognised as one of the best classical tests of golf on the PGA Tour. The 7,209 yard, par 70 course is fairly short by the usual stands of a PGA Tour venue but the classic design means this is not a course that players can easily overpower. Aside from this event, it has also hosted the US Open (albeit in 1941), which shows just what a test of golf it provides.
Whilst possessing power off the tee is never a bad thing, the bigger hitters are forced to rein themselves in somewhat at Colonial as it features some of the tightest fairways players of this calibre are likely to encounter over the course of a season. It can be difficult for golfers to escape the Bermuda grass rough at Colonial without damaging their score whilst those who stray too far off line are likely to find their route to the green blocked by the numerous trees which line the fairways.
The list of winners shows that this is a course for players who can plot their way around the golf course. Kevin Na did just that during his win in 2019. He topped the field for strokes gained approaching the green and was second for strokes gained from tee to green. As well as the best ball strikers, it can also pay to support short game specialists with Kevin Kisner and Jordan Spieth ranking very well for strokes gained around the green en route to their respective victories in 2017 and 2016.
About the Charles Schwab Challenge
The Charles Schwab Challenge is a prestigious annual PGA Tour event. The first edition in 1946, which was called the Colonial National Invitational, was won by the legendary Ben Hogan, who still holds the record for number of wins with five. In 2018, the event was known at the Fort Worth Invitational, changing its name the following year to the Charles Schwab Challenge for sponsorship reasons.
The Charles Schwab Corporation will remain the tournament’s sponsor until at least 2022. The event has also been known as the Southwestern Bell Colonial, MasterCard Colonial, Bank of America Colonial, Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
This tournament is an invitational event, one of only four on the PGA Tour along with the Arnold Palmer Invitational, RBC Heritage and the Memorial Tournament. At least 120 of the world’s best players take part in this annual PGA Tour competition. Note that this tournament should not be confused with the similarly titled Charles Schwab Cup Championship, which is PGA Tour Champions event for seniors (that is, those aged 50 or older).
Sorenstam Makes History
Annika Sorenstam made history in 2003 by becoming the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since Babe Didrikson Zaharias way back in 1945. Despite missing the cut, Sorenstam had a productive week in Fort Worth. At the time, the Swede was the number one female player in the world.
Hogan’s Five Wins
Only one man in history has won this Dallas tournament on more than two occasions. Several players have two wins to their name, including Lee Trevino, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson, but Ben Hogan’s record of five victories will take some stopping.
Hogan, who was a Fort Worth native, won the inaugural Colonial National Invitational, beating Harry Todd by a single stroke. ‘The Hawk’ followed that up by retaining the trophy a year later. Hogan also picked up back-to-back wins in 1952 and 1953. The last of his five triumphs came in 1959, when he beat Fred Hawkins in a playoff. Hogan was undoubtedly one of the game’s greats and sits joint fourth (with Gary Player) in the all-time list of major winners having bagged nine in total (he is behind Jack Nicklaus on 18, Tiger Woods on 15 and Walter Hagen on 11).
|Year||Ben Hogan’s Wins|
|1946||one-stroke win over Harry Todd|
|1947||one-stroke win over Toney Penna|
|1952||four-stroke win over Lloyd Mangrum|
|1953||five-stroke win over Doug Ford & Cary Middlecoff|
|1959||Playoff win over Fred Hawkins|
Watson’s Final Win
In his prime, the great Tom Watson was one of the best golfers the world has ever seen. During a stunning career that started in 1971, Watson would go on to win a staggering 39 PGA Tour tournaments, including five Open Championships, indeed he is just behind the aforementioned Hogan in the all-time major winners list with eight major victories in total.
The last of those five PGA Tour victories came in May 1998, when he won the MasterCard Colonial. At 48 years of age, Watson became the oldest winner at Colonial. Despite his best days being behind him, Watson played superbly well to fend off Jim Furyk to seal what was only his second success in 11 years.
Mickelson Secures Second Victory in Style
Phil Mickelson’s first win in this tournament came in the 2000 MasterCard Colonial. However, his second triumph in 2008 was arguably his best, as the American hit a shot to remember to secure crown number two.
Mickelson was level on the final hole, but he sliced a shot to the left, leaving the door wide open for his rivals to take advantage. However, in typical Mickelson style, ‘Lefty’ hit an outstanding wedge shot over the trees, sinking the resulting putt to beat South African Tim Clark and Australian Rod Pampling by a single stroke.
Garcia’s First of Many
Sergio Garcia is one of the most popular names in golf. Over the years, Garcia has picked up several tournament wins, but his very first was the MasterCard Colonial at the Colonial Country Club in Texas back in 2001.
At just 21, Garcia was the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since a 20 year old Tiger Woods did the business in 1996. Garcia was five shots behind the defending champion Phil Mickelson, but the superb Spaniard went on to beat the American ace by two strokes to take the trophy to Spain.
Spieth’s Important Victory in 2016
Shortly after narrowly missing out on the 2016 Masters trophy in Augusta, Jordan Spieth had “one of the most important days” in his golfing career when he prevailed at the 2016 Dean & DeLuca Invitational. Spieth hit back in style by beating Harris English by three strokes to get his hands on the trophy. He ended up shooting a total score of 263, which was 17 under par.
Speaking after his emotional victory, the Texas man said, “this day is a moment that will go down, no matter what happens in the next 30 years, as one of the most important days I’ve ever had.” At the time of writing, Spieth has picked up three more PGA Tour titles since his win at Colonial.
Impressive Score Aplenty
Spieth’s winning score of 17 under par was certainly impressive, but it has been bettered in this tournament on four occasions… and twice by a single player!
- 2018 – Justin Rose – 20 under par (260)
- 2010 – Zach Johnson – 21 under par (259)
- 2005 – Kenny Perry – 19 under par (261)
- 2003 – Kenny Perry – 19 under par (261)