By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"Seven years ago we started with 50 people," Kirk says. "Now we're up to 500. I'm turning away girls trying to get in by flashing and guys trying to buy their way in. Best part is that next year I'm going to turn this thing into a donation to the Salesmanship Club."
For fleeting, magical moments, The Nelson is sometimes more about birdies than chicks. While Tiger and his disrespectful gaggle of golfers neglected the first Nelson without Nelson—What, we should stop celebrating the Fourth of July because, after all, Paul Revere long ago expired?—Byron's biggest fan showed up in pain and walked away in tears.
Dallas' own Scott Verplank, playing with a severe shoulder injury and without a win on the tour since 2002, wouldn't dream of dissin' Nelson or the tournament he's grown to love since his mom was an SCD volunteer in the '70s. When he sank the winning putt Sunday, he fell to his knees, looked to the sky and said, "Thank you!"
As he accepted Byron's fedora (Nelson. Tom Landry. Jack Ruby. Shouldn't Dallas mandate a Fedora Day?), a $1.1 million check and a hug from Peggy, Verplank whispered, "He was out there with me."
Cue the goose bumps. Print the 2008 invitations.
Byron Nelson is dead, but his tournament lives.