This is the second of a 10-year agreement for the Valero Texas Open to be slotted in the week immediately preceding the Masters. Of the 144 in the field at TPC San Antonio and as of Tuesday afternoon, 23 are exempt into next week’s major.
The qualifiers include Phil Mickelson, famous in part for his annual pilgrimage to Texas when the Vivint Houston Open used to stride to the plate as the Masters assumed its position on deck. The World Golf Hall of Famer didn’t appear in San Antonio in 2019, so time will tell if this, too, will rekindle a familiar fortnight for the three-time Masters champion.
For all kind of reasons, TPC San Antonio cannot be set up in a similar fashion to how the Golf Club of Houston used to mimic specific aspects of Augusta National to attract Masters’ qualifiers to check in for a tune-up. So, while staying sharp is the primary objective, gamers will require a larger sample size to determine how this week’s performance correlates to next week’s. More on this then.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the Valero Texas Open (in alphabetical order):
Corey Conners (+2000)
Charley Hoffman (+3000)
Chris Kirk (+4000)
Ryan Palmer (+2800)
Scottie Scheffler (+1400)
Jordan Spieth (+1100)
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Abraham Ancer; Sam Burns; Doug Ghim; Lanto Griffin; Harry Higgs; Si Woo Kim; Cameron Tringale; Jhonattan Vegas; Danny Willett
Driving: Abraham Ancer; Keegan Bradley; Sam Burns; Doug Ghim; Andrew Landry; Denny McCarthy; Brendan Steele; Cameron Tringale; Jhonattan Vegas
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) … When we default to his class as permanent, it’s probably a backhanded compliment in the short-term. Indeed, there’s been a slow leak of his form and it’s primarily due to his putting, but he still can be relied upon to pop for a top 20 at least once a month if not more often. It’s an OK place to be for his full-season investors, but it introduces too much doubt for weekly gamers and especially in his tournament debut.
Andrew Putnam (+6600) … Because he had recorded consecutive top fives to punctuate a strong start to 2021, he looked good enough to populate my Power Rankings for THE PLAYERS Championship, but he missed the cut. So it goes in that tournament. He’s 3-for-3 at TPC San Antonio with a T8 in 2018 and his short game continues to dazzle.
Danny Willett (+6600) … Recovered from COVID-19 for a solo eighth at Corales. While he’s not on the most impressive of runs, he’s still connected seven paydays dating back to December. There are worse analytics than that to target in DFS and PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf.
Andrew Landry (+20000) … The 2018 champ is a flier because it’s essentially a home game. He’s more than comfortable when sniffing the top of the leaderboard but finding it continues to be the problem. Still, this is a comfort zone and he’s still one of the most accurate off the tee.
Brice Garnett (+12500) … If you covered his name and flashed his stats at someone who plays close attention to the sport, it’s unlikely that even his full-season owners are aware that he’s sixth on TOUR in fairways hit, 56th in greens in regulation, 16th in Strokes Gained: Putting and No. 1 in conversion percentage inside 10 feet. That’s getting it done. He’s also 4-for-4 at TPC San Antonio and has two top 10s and a T25 in his last four starts upon arrival.
Adam Hadwin (+8000) … Quietly generating a valuable 2021, most recently with a T8 at PGA National among six paydays. We’d like to see his irons return to a more familiar level of precision, but believe in this upswing, pardon the pun.
Charles Howell III
Odds sourced on Tuesday, March 30 at 5 a.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
Joel Dahmen (+8000) … Watching him seal his breakthrough victory at Corales felt a little like a contact sport. It looked and felt physically exhausting. Of course, it was all worth it, but it’s also entirely understandable if he needed this moment to decompress.
Rickie Fowler (+8000) … The only surprise here would be if there was a reason to endorse. He’s drifted into that steady stream of unrequited expectations we’ve experienced in recent years with the likes of Hunter Mahan, Bill Haas and Phil Mickelson. Yes, Fowler placed T17 in his only previous visit to TPC San Antonio in 2019, but he was inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking at the time. Today, he’s 94th. I almost never use the OWGR as a measuring stick, but it’s relevant in that context.
Ryan Moore (+6600) … As much as we’d love to trust that he’ll crash the leaderboard for the fifth time in as many appearances – he has three top 10s and a T18 since 2012 – the same could’ve been said at other places along the way in 2021. However, because you know me to be nothing if not transparent, I’m compelled to share that this analysis is generated from a similar position as Joel Dahmen as a Fade for Corales last week. I wrote this about the eventual champ: “Top 15s in both prior appearances, but he’s a trap for course-history buffs given the extent of his tailspin in 2021.” Granted, all of us always can default to, “because golf,” but in consecutive weeks?
Brandt Snedeker (+20000) … Fits the same profile as Moore. Sneds is 3-for-3 at TPC San Antonio with a solo fourth (2011), a T25 (2016) and a solo 15th (2018), but he has only one top-30 finish in the last 13 months.
Byeong Hun An (+10000) … Currently 145th in the FedExCup with only on top-30 finish this season. Placed T7 here in 2019 but his uninspiring form is concerning.
Erik van Rooyen
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Gary Woodland … First appearance at TPC San Antonio since 2015. Save a T16 at PGA WEST in January, he’s done nothing to suggest that his body is in a good place or, if it is, that he didn’t develop a bad habit while playing through injury last fall. This also is a warm-up for the Masters.
Doc Redman … TPC San Antonio sets up to be special for the 23-year-young ball-striker, but his form is nonexistent upon arrival. Since a T4 in Bermuda five months ago, he’s just 3-for-8 and without a top 60. However, his early exit from the Honda was as a result of a positive COVID-19 test and not a malady that otherwise would affect his swing. Give him a look in DFS.
Luke List … Called it quits at Corales before his second round due to vertigo. The good news is that he’s hopeful to try again at TPC San Antonio, but he’s 0-for-3 in the last three editions and he’s made only one of his last five cuts coming in (T63, API).
Sean O’Hair … Opened The Honda Classic with an 80, and then withdrew before his second round. An explanation wasn’t released. Every start is valuable, but he’s down to seven on his Major Medical Extension to earn 227.582 FedExCup points, so time is running out on that objective. Should he reconnect with a leaderboard showing again, he’d love to replicate the T2 in his last trip to TPC San Antonio in 2018, but gamers are not advised to invest in that possibility.
Vaughn Taylor … Couldn’t withstand back pain and withdrew from Corales before his second round. He had opened with 78, so he’d have needed a 67 to make the cut and only Michael Gligic (66) scored that low in R2. Now 45 years of age, Taylor likely is feeling some heat to perform sooner than later. He’s 152nd in the FedExCup at midseason. Rose for a T16 at TPC San Antonio with four rounds of par or better in 2018, so he knows how to navigate what often is treacherous property.
Dustin Johnson … The late entry opted out on Monday, citing a desire to focus on defending his title at the Masters.
Brian Harman … Seems that every year there’s one guy who’s on the bubble and delivers with his back against the wall, but the little lefty has done it twice! After getting into the Match Play with a T3 at THE PLAYERS, he withdrew early from the Honda. His T5 at the Match Play lifted him into the field at the Masters, so he’s sitting out this week as well.
Maverick McNealy … This is the first time that the PGA TOUR sophomore has withdrawn early after the commitment deadline. The Florida Swing beat him up, but at 53rd in the FedExCup, he’s in no danger in the long-term.
POWER RANKINGS RECAP – World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Patrick Reed T28 (1-1-1)
2 Paul Casey T28 (1-1-1)
3 Xander Schauffele T18 (1-0-2)
4 Billy Horschel Win
5 Justin Thomas T42 (1-2-0)
6 Bryson DeChambeau T42 (1-2-0)
7 Jon Rahm T5
8 Sungjae Im T42 (1-2-0)
9 Cameron Smith T28 (1-1-1)
10 Jordan Spieth T9
11 Sergio Garcia T5
12 Abraham Ancer T18 (2-1-0)
13 Will Zalatoris T18 (1-1-1)
14 Brian Harman T5
15 Dustin Johnson T28 (1-1-1)
16 Daniel Berger T18 (2-1-0)
POWER RANKINGS RECAP – Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Charley Hoffman T34
2 Thomas Pieters T13
3 Emiliano Grillo T6
4 Lee Hodges T63
5 Chase Seiffert T18
6 Brandon Wu MC
7 Brice Garnett T9
8 Hudson Swafford T6
9 Peter Uihlein T22
10 Tyler McCumber T18
Wild Card Charles Howell III T28
OTHERS TO CONSIDER – Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship
Thomas Detry T13
Kelly Kraft MC
Pat Perez T48
Justin Suh T28
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE GOLFERS ON THE PGA TOUR
March 30 … Sungjae Im (23)
March 31 … none
April 1 … none
April 2 … J.J. Henry (46); Rory Sabbatini (45); Shane Lowry (34)
April 3 … none
April 4 … Tyler McCumber (30)
April 5 … Henrik Stenson (45); Brendan Steele (38); Ryan Brehm (35)
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