Dating back to 1922, the Texas Open is one of the oldest tournaments on the PGA Tour, past winners including: Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino.
It’s only seven months since the last Valero Texas Open as the tournament was held later in the schedule in 2008. It was the middle of last October when Zach Johnson closed with rounds of 62 and 64 to hold off the challenge of Charlie Wi, Tim Wilkinson and Mark Wilson.
This May, the Valero Texas Open marks the start of a three-week stay in Texas for the PGA Tour with the Byron Nelson Championship and the Colonial to follow.
La Cantera has hosted this event since 1995, but this is the last time the course will be used for the tournament.With views over San Antonio and the Six Flags Amusement Park, it’s a distinctive layout with changes in elevation, extensive bunkering (revamped in 1999) and a number of natural water hazards. In addition, swirling winds can make shot selection here challenging.
Having said this, at 6,896 yards, it’s one of the shortest courses on this year’s PGA Tour and it generally produces low scoring. It will almost certainly take four rounds in the 60s to secure victory this week.
Venue: La Cantera Golf Club, San Antonio, Texas
Date: May 14-17
Course stats: par 70, 6,896 yards
Purse: $6,100,000, Winner: $1,098,000
Defending champion: Zach Johnson (-19)
Thursday 14th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Friday 15th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Saturday 16th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Sunday 17th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Justin Leonard – A three-time winner of this tournament, Leonard is enjoying a solid season. He must be considered one of the favourites this week.
Brian Davis – The Englishman has been under par for his last 12 rounds on the PGA Tour. A tie for fifth at last week’s Players Championship should give him a confidence boost for this event.
Zach Johnson – The defending champion is currently sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. He’s the top ranked player in the field and will be looking to dominate a fairly weak field.
Key Hole: 1st. At 665 yards, this is one of the longest par-5s on the PGA Tour schedule. Although it drops some 125 feet from tee to green, it’s a definite three-shotter.
Skills Required: Putting. La Cantera is a layout where the pros seem to hole an inordinate amount of putts. Expect to see plenty of red figures on the leaderboard this week.