The PGA Tour travels to Texas this week for the Valero Texas Open. Martin Laird defends the title at the TPC San Antonio with just two weeks remaining until the U.S. Masters.
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.
Last year, Scotland’s Martin Laird produced a storming, course-record, final round of 63 to take the title by two shots from Rory McIlroy.
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio was designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye. Opened for play in 2010, it’s a natural-looking layout with huge bunkers and sprawling greens, many of the fairways framed by stands of mature oaks giving the course its name.
Although, the layout was made slightly easier for last season’s tournament, it’s still one of the toughest par 72 tracks on the circuit. In 2013 it averaged 72.74.
The wind tends to be a factor here and that looks set to be the case this week. There is also the threat of thunderstorms early in the event.
Venue: JW Marriott, TPC San Antonio, Texas
Date: Mar 27-30
Course stats: par 72, 7,435 yards
Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,116,000
Defending Champion: Martin Laird (-14)
Thursday 27 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Friday 28 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Saturday 29 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Sunday 30 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Jimmy Walker – The FedEx Cup points leader is coming into this event on the back of a break as he starts to ramp it up for the year’s first major. He was tied third in this event back in 2010.
Billy Horschel – Not on stellar form at the moment but showed glimpses last week at Bay Hill. He was tied third here last year.
Jason Kokrak – Tied 14th in the Valspar Championship and fourth last week, Kokrak’s results are heading in the right direction. He was tied 15th in this event last year.
Key hole: The par 5s. The shortest on the course is the 14th at 567 yards so, depending on the wind, any of them could play as a three-shotter. The longer hitters will have a distinct advantage on these holes.
Skills required: Finding fairways. At 7,435 yards, you’d think length was the most important factor at TPC San Antonio. But, with bunkers and huge trees lining the fairways, driving the ball straight is also essential.
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