Balancing a firm, fair test with expected weather conditions may challenge the tournament organizers of the Valero Texas Open more than any other PGA TOUR stop of the season. It's an imperfect science that the field of 156 can contain with a whole lot of imagination, or at least attempt to.
TPC San Antonio's Oaks Course possesses many defenses, not the least of which is the wind of south Texas. However, even when it's down, relatively speaking, the course holds its own. In its seventh spin as host last year, the par 36-36=72 surrendered its lowest scoring average, which was still 0.206 strokes over par. More on this beneath the ranking.
Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Kevin Na, Chris Kirk and 2013 champ Martin Laird are among the notables who will be included in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Last year, TPC San Antonio yielded tournament highs in both fairways hit (8.84 of 14 per round) and greens in regulation (11.09 per round). Its proximity-to-the-hole clip of 36 feet, one inch, also was a record, yet the field's propensity to capitalize on its scoring opportunities fell in line with history, averaging just over three per round, easily slotting the Oaks Course inside the harder half of all courses.
Meanwhile, the quartet of par 5s ranked third-toughest of any set all season with a scoring average of 4.86. They've ranked no lower than fourth since TPC San Antonio debuted in 2010. So, this week's champion will have likely scored well on the par 5s, which is almost always expected on a par 72, as well as found a groove on the (at-times tricky) greens. Tuesday's Comfort Zone will illustrate how this combination portends success on the 7,435-yard Greg Norman design.
This week's forecast includes a little bit of everything. After a warm open with daytime highs in the mid-80s, freshening winds will signal the imminent threat of rain and thunderstorms. With that extending into Saturday, a cooling will occur. It will set the stage for a glorious weekend overall. Residual energy will be felt in the form of moderate breezes.
ROB BOLTON’S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Comfort Zone, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and One & Done presented by SERVPRO
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks, which also publishes on Tuesdays.