Wednesday: The CJ Cup Byron Nelson Pro Am Starring NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith

For amateurs, a PGA Tour event pro-am is one of the greatest days of their golf lives. For pros, it’s an opportunity to get another look at the golf course. The 18th finishing hole at TPC Craig Ranch is a 548 par five playing into the teeth of the wind on Wednesday where it will take two good pokes from the pros to reach in two. Adam Scott plays his drive from the right rough and throws down another in the center of the fairway where he hopes to be on the weekend. His amateur partners have already walked ahead and are in the way—Scott waits a moment, gives a heads up, and smashes another three-wood over their heads.

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The typical charitable entry fee for a PGA Tour pro-am is around $10,000 and this one ahead of the Byron Nelson is a two-pro format. The NFL’s all-time leading rusher and Dallas local Emmitt Smith is in the field and plays with Cameron Champ on the front, and Matt NeSmith on the back. A deviation from the shot-making, tactical golf from two weeks ago at the RBC Heritage—this week at The CJ Cup Byron Nelson is for the bombers. Emmitt’s pro-am partner, Champ, a Texas A&M Aggie is the Tour’s leading driver with an average of 316 yards per smash—he’s one to watch.

This week’s winner will likely come from the Tour’s top 25 in driving stats which means that along with Champ, others to watch are Dallas native Pierceson Coody, CJ Group-sponsored Byeong Hun An, long-hitting lefty Garrick Higgo and our pick to win this week, Vincent Norrman. The Florida State Seminole arrives in Dallas with form after a nice 2023 where he won on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour—he currently ranks 10th in driving. And because Scottie Scheffler is not in the field, anyone can win.

Fan favorite Joel Dahman is his trademark bucket hat hitting putts on a Wednesday afternoon

Jason Day will defend his title against a full 144-player field from six continents. The par three No. 17 party cove is the tournament’s heartbeat and will hopefully be better behaved than its degenerate No. 16 Phoenix Open cousin. Organized by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, The CJ Cup Byron Nelson has raised more than $186 million for the Momentous Institute, benefitting children and families.





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