Hat-trick seeking Johnson is bound to be the centre of attention, and as always warrants respect. This layout is completely different, though, and the course perhaps longer than ideal.
Another short-hitting Texas Open specialist with three titles to his name. For me, Leonard is under-priced as a consequence of those efforts on a very different course, and on the basis of ordinary 2010 returns.
Two factors make Garcia a contender, irrespective of the terrible year he’s having. Firstly, he is a co-designer of the course, offering a big advantage over the rest who are making their debuts. Secondly, at his best, a long game test of this nature would be absolutely perfect. Rumours of very difficult greens don’t advance his case, though.
JB is having a decent year, twice making the top three and only missing one cut. 13th at Sawgrass was another decent effort on a far from ideal layout, and his power should offer more of an advantage here.
Punters looking for a Texan candidate will surely consider Campbell, who whilst generally proving inconsistent over the years, does have an excellent win ratio. He’s really struggled with the putter recently, though, and is hardly a huge price at 40/1.
BO VAN PELT
After three consecutive top-five finishes, Van Pelt is the form pick. That is more than adequately factored into his 20/1 odds though, which make little appeal about a player with just one win to his name.
Rollins’ recent record of three top 25s from his last four starts must make him a candidate.
Big-hitting Hoffman has ruined his card with a poor final round in both elite events over the past fortnight. Nevertheless, he’s obviously in fair form and a good record in Texas also bodes well.
Henry ticks a few boxes, after top 15s at the Heritage and Quail Hollow, producing some promising greens in regulation stats in the process. He’s another with an awful win ratio, though.
Stadler made the shortlist, because prior to his last three disappointing efforts, he’d looked a very plausible winner. He has the length to thrive here, and has won in Australia before, albeit not on a sandbelt course.
It would be hugely frustrating were Ames to win having been such a regular pick this season. Nevertheless, he is hard to recommend on the basis of last week’s efforts at Sawgrass.
Jones is another Aussie worth considering, especially on the basis of top tens on his last two starts, making it four in total this year.
One more Aussie for the list. Leishman has a great record in Texas, making four top tens from five events in the state. Strangely though, his home record is less impressive.
Deleat, whose recent third in the Houston Open represented a career peak, ticks all the right statistical boxes in terms of distance and greens in regulation.
Hard as it is to fancy Singh after three missed cuts in elite events, I’m loathe to write him off. The emphasis on long game quality here should at least play to his strengths.
Preview: Valero Texas Open golf preview