The defending Valero Texas Open champion describes how he won at a tough venue in 2011.
Valero Texas Open defending champion Brendan Steele's assessment of TPC San Antonio?
Indeed, Steele's description is backed up by last year's statistics, as the par-72 TPC San Antonio course had the highest scoring average of any PGA TOUR event (73.665), and ranked fourth highest in average strokes over par (1.665).
The course also ranked in the top five in such categories as toughest fairways to hit, toughest greens to hit, toughest approaches in several distances and lowest par-5 birdie or better percentage, and also ranked No. 1 in toughest putting course.
Steele won last year with a score of 8 under, with winds from the south offering little mercy for players.
"A lot of guys have talked to me about it," Steele said Tuesday. "They wanted to know what it was like. A few of guys talked to me and said, 'Wow, that sounds great, sounds like the kind of course I like' and they committed to the field this year.
"It's a really good course, very big challenge. ... It's so tough that a lot of guying are going to be walking away shaking their heads. I think it's a good test and it's a little different test than we see kind week-in, week-out."
Steele did make a point of saying the course was hard but not unfair.
"I don't think there's anything about the course that's unfair even when the wind blows that hard," he said. "It demands really good shots and if you don't hit them, you're going to pay the price.
"There's a difference between it being unfair and just being hard, and there's definitely nothing that's unfair about it."
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the Valero Texas Open below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|K.J. Choi vs. Matt Kuchar||These two technicians are each seeking first win of year|
|Brendan Steele vs. Johnson Wagner||Defending champion takes on No. 5 in FedExCup points|
|Justin Leonard vs. Harrison Frazar||These two Texans have played together for almost 30 years|
|Charley Hoffman vs. Kevin Chappell||These two finished a shot behind Steele here last year|
|Bud Cauley vs. Harris English||It's an SEC battle (Alabama vs. Georgia) between rookies.|
This week, the PGA TOUR goes to San Antonio, Texas, for the Valero Texas Open. Here are some of the features you can expect to see on PGATOUR.COM this week:
TUESDAY: LARRY DORMAN
Award-winning journalist Larry Dorman will file his bi-monthly column about the future of the Valero Texas Open, which has undergone significant changes in recent years. The event, one of the oldest on the PGA TOUR, has moved to TPC San Antonio. The Oaks Course is among the tougher venues on the PGA TOUR, especially when the Texas Hill Country winds pick up.
This week’s Top 10 Tuesday video will feature the top 10 native Texans to have played on the PGA TOUR. It's the timeless argument: Who will be No. 1? Ben Hogan or Byron Nelson?
Defending Valero Texas Open champion Brendan Steele will be our guest for this week's fan-based interview . Steele will answer your questions in our weekly feature, published every Wednesday. Click here to ask him a question.
Fantasy expert Rob Bolton provides his list of the top 10 players for TPC San Antonio -- and five players who didn't quite make the top 10 list. Published Monday afternoon.
Need help setting up your team for the Valero Texas Open? Rob Bolton does the homework, so you don't have to. From the A-listers to q-school grads, he breaks down who's most likely to excel at TPC San Antonio. Published Tuesday afternoon.
In 16 weeks this season, PGATOUR.COM experts have picked eight winners. The Valero Texas Open is a tough week to pick a winner, especially with the two-year-old TPC San Antonio in play. Check it out Tuesday afternoon.
As soon as the tee times are released, we will provide a quick list of the marquee groups at TPC San Antonio. Published Tuesday afternoon.
How did defending champion Brendan Steele roll to the win in the 2011 Valero Texas Open? What stats/skills stand out at TPC San Antonio? Published Wednesday.
LIVE INTERVIEWS: Each week at regular PGA TOUR events, PGATOUR.COM will carry live streams of pre-tournament interviews. Here’s the schedule for this week (please note: all times are tentative and subject to change)
Tuesday, April 17: Brendan Steele (3 p.m. ET)
Wednesday, April 18: Matt Kuchar (12:30 pm ET), Jordan Spieth (1 p.m. ET), Bud Cauley (1:30 pm ET).
Got a question for Brendan Steele? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a PGA TOUR pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats this week with the defending champion of the Valero Texas Open.
In a year loaded with top rookies, Steele's year was one of the bigger surprises. He kept his cool on a windy final day at TPC San Antonio to secure his first PGA TOUR win, then added two more top-10s to finish the year 52nd in FedExCup points.
Direct Connect video will be posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The early reports are in from the opening round of the Masters and as expected Augusta National is playing “soft.”
That’s not to be confused with easy, however.
“The greens are soft but the pins are in some tough positions,” said Brendan Steele, who was in the first group off at 7:50 a.m. ET.
Steele struggled in the first round of his first Masters, shooting a 4-over 76 that included a stretch of four straight birdies on the back nine. He went out in even par but closed in 40.
“It’s really easy for the round to get away from you,” said Steele, who turned 29 Thursday. “I don’t even really know what happened.”
Steele added that mud could be an issue and noted two mud balls he had, including on the par-5 13th, where after a good drive he decided to lay up because mud was on his ball. He went on to make bogey.
Tim Clark, meanwhile, is playing in his first Masters since 2010 after undergoing season-ending wrist surgery last year.
Likewise, Clark, who shot 73, thought Augusta National was playing soft and would favor the long hitters.
“I almost spun one in the water on 15, which I wasn’t expecting,” Clark said. “It’s going to play tough for the guys who lay up.”
As for Clark’s wrist, he said he feels good in what is just his fourth start of the season.
Clark, who missed the cut in his first two and was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard at Bay Hill two weeks ago, said he’s finally able to practice full time.
“Today was the first time I hit some decent shots and made some good putts,” Clark said. “Coming here is going to bring out the best in you.”
Today's grouping features five players who know what it takes to win on the PGA TOUR.
Below is a link to each of the 5 players who were revealed on Saturday. PGATOUR.COM will countdown the players for the rest of December, with No. 1 unveiled on Dec. 30.
Be sure to check out this year’s new addition of the Three Wise Men – Chris DiMarco, Arron Oberholser and Craig Perks, who offer their takes on each of the players on the list.
Let’s us know how you think these players will perform in 2012 and whether we ranked ‘em too high, too low or just right.
Six rookies combined for seven wins during the 2011 PGA TOUR season. Check out their accomplishments.
The six nominees for 2011 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year have been unveiled.
The awards are determined by a member vote, with PGA TOUR members who played in at least 15 official money events in 2011 eligible to vote. The winners are expected to be announced the week of Dec. 12.
Nominees for the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year are:
Now it’s your turn. Which player do you think deserves this year’s Rookie of the Year?
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- At 137th on the money list coming into the week, Garrett Willis needs to play well if he wants to climb into the top 125 and secure his PGA TOUR card for next season. That’s exactly what he did Thursday with a 4-under 67 to share the lead with Brenden Steele, Briny Baird ad Matt Bettencourt at the Frys.com Open.
The performance by Willis, and the others, was impressive given not only the circumstances but the weather.
“I didn't like it one bit,” Willis said of what was a cold, wet day with at times heavy rain. “The way that rain was coming down, it was pretty amazing they continued play, but I was just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it would either stop or they'd call play. It was about as tough of conditions I've ever played in.”
He barely showed it, making just one bogey on the day.
For Willis, it’s the second week in a row he’s opened strong. Last week he carded a 65 in the first round in Las Vegas before finishing in a tie for 34th.
But it’s only the first round and Willis is trying not to get ahead of himself and what a win could mean for him.
“I won't think about that,” he said. “I mean obviously if I'm in this position come Saturday night, I'll think about it, but like I said, this is a tough golf course. I'm glad I got this round under my belt, and like I said, I'm still grinding away trying to make the cut. I'm not even thinking about winning golf tournaments. I'm thinking about being able to play on Saturday morning.”