Byron Nelson organizers view tournament from different perspective

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 30 at 11:13 PM

IRVING - With helicopters circling overhead, the tower at D/FW International Airport in the background, and the familiar Byron Nelson statue down below, it was time to play golf.

“We usually hit shots 10-to-15 yards downhill, but I've never hit one 30 yards down hill,” said PGA golfer Ricky Barnes.

“The more outrageous, the better," said Byron Nelson Tournament Chairman Robert Smith. “It's amazing to see what these guys can do.”

Barnes had a bird’s-eye view from the roof of the TPC golf course at the Four Seasons Resort and Club. The target was the 18th green.
 
“It’s pretty awesome,” Barnes said. “We're usually down there hitting shots, and now I'm ten stories up, hitting to the 18th green here at Las Colinas."

Playing rooftop golf has become the latest rage.

Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway, used Jimmy Johnson to promote the fall race two years ago by hitting a driver off the speedway club. Callaway golf recently used the concept to promote a new set of golf clubs.

And now the Byron Nelson Golf Championship and the Golf Channel decided to add a new dimension to promote the tournament in Irving.

“Well I think golf, the 18 holes, is pretty straight forward - you hit fairways and greens,” said Allison Micheleti from the Golf Channel. “It's fun to kind of mix it up. You've got trick shots and the long drive guys. This is something a little bit different.”

“[Rooftop golf lets you] just change it up, have a little fun, letting your hair down a little bit, changing angles and showing a little personality in the sport,” said Paul Ernest, the director of golf at the Four Seasons Resort and Club.

It's a long way from the roof top of the Four Seasons down to the 18th green. It was measured at 205 yards.

Barnes had a great idea as he readied his seven iron.

He said if the Byron Nelson Championship ends in a tie here on May 20, the roof top is where the playoff should begin.
 
“I'm going to talk to Robert to get it done,” Barnes said.
 
Now that would change golf forever.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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