PGA Preview – Valero Texas Open, Odds, TV Schedule
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
The Masters is next week so many of the big names on the PGA Tour are taking the week off. That leaves the door wide open for a dark horse play to jump up and grab a win this week at the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. And, it looks like oddsmakers feel that Rickie Fowler will be the player to beat. Fowler enters the Valero Texas Open as the only player sporting a +1000 as everyone else behind him is +1600 or more!
Fowler, Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar, and Jordan Spieth top the list of favorites which is end-capped by Jim Furyk. As for taking the week off, Fowler says he’s fine with bucking the norm when it comes to playing before the Masters Tournament.
“I like playing competitively if I can leading up to majors or some big weeks,” Fowler said Tuesday during a press conference. “So for me, like I said, I played Houston in the past leading up to Augusta. I typically play the Scottish Open into the British (Open). Sometimes into the U.S. Open or the PGA (Championship)… I have definitely seen it be beneficial to play the week before. You know, you’re not far coming off competition when you tee it up Thursday morning in a major. It just makes me feel more comfortable, more confident.”
With Fowler riding the top spot the players behind him are all forces to be reckoned with especially Finau and Kuchar who are both at +1600. Here are the favored players through +2500 according to oddsmakers at Intertops.
Heading into the Valero Texas Open Fowler has one win in 2019 and three top-ten finishes. And he has not missed a cut this season. The 30-year-old Californian, and Oklahoma State player, has also moved to the tenth spot in FedEx points and enters the Valero currently ranked No. 8 on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).
His downside, at least as a fantasy or betting pick is that he’s coming off a rough spot of sorts. Since his win at Phoenix, he’s posted only one top-25 finish and that was the Honda Classic where he came in T2. But the other three events Fowler has played in were not examples of his best play. He finished T36 at the WGC Mexico, he carded a T40 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a T47 at THE PLAYERS Championship in mid-March. Fowler skipped last weeks WGC – Match Play event.
Andrew Landry pulled out the win last year at the Valero joining a list of famous golfers who have won the event which started in 1922. It’s one of the oldest tournaments worldwide, sixth as a matter of fact, and the longest running event at the same host city on the PGA schedule. Only a move from a Fall slot to an early Spring slot has changed.
One thing that has not changed is that the Valero Texas Open has always seemed to fall in the shadow of larger events. The tournament served as an alternative to the President’s Cup and Ryder Cup for years and now fall before the first Major of the season which is the Masters.
The good news is that now a HUGE emphasis is placed on players in the field without a win to go for the gusto. Last chance to earn a place at Augusta National! Only five past winners over the last eleven tournaments are in the field. Why eleven and not ten? Because I listed Zach Johnson twice due to the fact that he had back-to-back wins Valero Texas Open wins in 2008 and 2009.
2018: Andrew Landry
2017: Kevin Chappell
2016: Charley Hoffman
2015: Jimmy Walker
2014: Steven Bowditch
2013: Martin Laird
2012: Ben Curtis
2011: Brendan Steele
2010: Adam Scott
2009: Zach Johnson
2008: Zach Johnson
TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks Course
TPC San Antonio and the AT&T Oaks Course is not a player favorite. Actually, it’s the greens that seem to get under the nerves of many players. One features a bunker in the center of the putting surface. And that hole, the No. 16 Par 3, is considered the signature hole on the course.
Other than that The Oaks Course looks very playable with manicured Bermuda, a decent share of right and left doglegs with forgiving landing areas off the tee. But, many fairways are narrow and tree lined while the others seem wide open but guarded by massive bunkers. Almost all of the holes have tricky approach shots making it a “target golf” situation, if you’re off a bit then there’s a good chance you’ll find some sand.
The good news is that the AT&T Oaks is level compared to some courses on the schedule. There is only a 100-foot difference in height from the tallest point on the course to the lowest.
Founded: 2010 Designer: Greg Norman and Sergio García Yardage: 7,435 Par: 72 Rating: 76.6 Slope: 145 Greens: Bermuda Fairways: Bent Grass, Bermuda