The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Golf Tournament Experience:
First year played: 1946
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Colonial Country Club
The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is one of five invitational tournaments on the PGA Tour and has been held in Fort Worth, Texas, since the event's inception in 1946. The stroke play event takes place at the historic Colonial Country Club and boasts a purse of $6.4 million. The tournament was founded as the Colonial National Invitational and holds a unique place in the history of professional golf by offering its winners an official Scottish tartan plaid jacket. The Crowne Plaza Invitational is also a restricted field event, meaning that only the first 80 players on the previous year's money earnings list are guaranteed invites, which ensures a healthy dose of competition and attracts some of the biggest names on the professional tour. As one of the most important tournaments on the PGA Tour calendar each May, the Crowne Plaza Invitational continues to attract golf fans from all over the country.
The Colonial Country Club holds a prominent place in the history of professional golf, and aside from the Crowne Plaza Invitational, the course has hosted major events like the 1941 U.S. Open, the 1975 Tournament Players Championship and the 1991 U.S. Women's Open. In 2003, female professional golfer Annika Sorenstam made history at the tournament by becoming the first woman to play in a men's PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias in 1938. The club boasts a picturesque par-70 course that spans 7,035 yards, and is known for its series of difficult water obstacles that are found throughout the course. Both the aggregate record and to par record for the course were set in 2010, when two-time champion Zach Johnson posted a score of 259 for the tournament and an astounding 21 under par to set the single round record.
In addition to providing a world-class golf experience for participants and spectators alike, the Crowne Plaza Invitational has also started a tradition of giving back to the community that hosts the event each year. The tournament has worked with a variety of Fort Worth charities in the past, including Cook's Children's Hospital, Birdies for Charity and The First Tee Fort Worth. Along with the positive economic impact that the tournament provides for the region, the Crowne Plaza Invitational has been a boon for the Dallas-Fort Worth area and continues to play an important role supporting charitable causes for young people and the less fortunate.
On the golf course, many successful golfers have brought home the Scottish plaid jacket over the years and the tournament has seen many two-time winners, such as Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson, Nick Price and Kenny Perry, but golf legend Ben Hogan continues to be the gold standard at the Colonial Country Club. Hogan won the tournament five times over the course of the late '40s and 1950s, and his face is one of many that adorns the beautiful Wall of Champions that frames the first tee. With the event's robust history, a stacked field of competitors and unique Texan charm, it's no wonder that the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial holds a special place in the hearts of professional golfers and fans alike.