By The Dallas Morning News
Here’s some helpful perspective as hundreds of thousands of fans travel deep into southern Dallas this week for the AT&T Byron Nelson at its new home at the Trinity Forest Golf Club:
While the tournament is the biggest thing to happen in what’s historically been a forgotten part of the city, it’s just that — a cool, fun happening. Even a string of PGA Tour events won’t convert directly into economic development and quality-of-life improvements that so many parts of southern Dallas desperately need.
But it would be foolish to think the Byron Nelson’s move is no big deal.
Mayor Mike Rawlings, who gave us a golf-cart tour of the Trinity Forest club last week, notes, “The decision by the heavy hitters behind this tournament — AT&T, the Salesmanship Club, the PGA — that this is where they want to be sends a powerful message about this part of our city and its future.”
Many naysayers said it would never happen. Yet the tournament tees off this week, on its 50th anniversary — a proof point for all the voices, including this newspaper, that believe in the southern half of the city and continue to focus on it.
The exposure from roughly 250,000 visitors over five days — not to mention those watching on TV — will help demystify a part of the city that boasts North Texas’ most beautiful topography and is home to outdoor recreational oases such as the Trinity River Audubon Center and the Great Trinity Forest trails.
The hope is that the Byron Nelson will have not just the halo effect of generating curiosity, especially among those whose knowledge of southern Dallas is limited to the State Fair of Texas and the Bishop Arts District, but also will create a constructive ripple effect.
Stakeholders are determined to not be another example of white privilege trampling on surrounding communities, which have been kicked around for generations. They acknowledge that they still have much to learn about finding ways to link with the area’s residents, businesses and institutions.
We couldn’t agree more. In fact, how that goal is accomplished is more important than even how much money the tournament raises.
The Salesmanship Club of Dallas operates the Byron Nelson tournament, using the event as its major fundraiser to power the Oak Cliff-based Momentous Institute.
Momentous, which has long been in the business of improving the social-emotional health of children and their families, has deep experience listening and partnering within neighborhoods. Its track record of plugging in on meaningful efforts, not fly-by initiatives, gives us confidence that those behind the Byron will live up to their promises.
Michelle Kinder, Momentous executive director, told us: “This move into southern Dallas represents stepping into the larger community picture, with more responsibility and more commitment. We talk about the need for Dallas to be as good a place for kids as it is for business. That can’t happen until we begin partnering with and elevating communities that today feel invisible.”
Well said. Once the inaugural southern Dallas tournament is in the books, we look forward to the next chapters.