There’s no doubt which grouping will attract the largest gallery during the first two rounds of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament this week.
Local standouts Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth will play alongside one another on Thursday and Friday in the PGA Tour event at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. They will tee off with defending champion K.H. Lee at 1:06 p.m. in Round 1 and 7:56 a.m. in Round 2.
Scheffler is the top-ranked golfer in the world after posting his first four Tour wins in a span of 10 weeks earlier this year, including a first major championship at The Masters in April.
The former Highland Park star will be making his fourth start at the tournament he first played as an amateur at age 17. That was in 2014, and Scheffler tied for 22nd place with his sister Callie as his caddie.
“We had a ton of fun. We had like half of our high school out there watching, so it was a good time for sure. We have great memories of this event,” Scheffler said after Wednesday’s pro-am event. “I’m sad [Callie] is not going to be able to be here this week. She’s going to have a baby here in about three weeks so she’s not allowed to travel, but she will be here in spirit.”
Spieth has a longer history at his hometown event, having played 10 times since his debut as a teenager in 2010. He’s had his share of frustrating finishes at three courses during that span. But he posted his first top 10 finish at the Nelson a year ago, when it moved to the Craig Ranch course for the first time.
“It’s got an opportunity to be a really fun week, and I always want to play really well,” Spieth said. “I think last year may have been my best finish, so maybe I can take a little confidence off the shifts in courses over the years and maybe this one’s the best fit for me.”
Plus, the former Jesuit star gained momentum by winning his most recent start at the RBC Heritage last month in South Carolina.
It will mark the second straight year that Scheffler and Spieth are paired together at the Nelson. They also were teammates on the winning U.S. team at the Ryder Cup last September.
“I’ve come here and played this tournament after winning The Masters and I’m kind of interested to almost be a little bit of a bystander in that situation and watch kind of the extra craziness surrounding Scottie’s return home after winning,” Spieth said. “But it will be a blast. Hopefully we can both kind of feed off each other.”
Scheffler and Spieth will each use the event as a tuneup for the second major tournament of the season — the PGA Championship next weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But first comes a welcome opportunity to play close to home and see some familiar faces.
“It should be a pretty fun environment for both of us. We were talking about it a few weeks ago. We figured we would get paired together at this event so we’re glad that we did,” Scheffler said. “Jordan’s an easy guy for me to play golf with and he’s fun to watch as well, so it should be a good time and hopefully we’ll draw a little bit of a crowd and make some birdies for them.”