The First Look: Valero Texas Open
March 29, 2019
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- March 29, 2019
Inside the PGA TOUR
Valero Texas Open preview
Matt Kuchar, twice a winner in 2018-19, and Rickie Fowler spark a roster of more than a dozen players set to play one of the PGA TOUR’s longest-running events.
J.B. Holmes (Genesis Open), Adam Long (Desert Classic) and Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms) give TPC San Antonio five entrants with a win already on their season portfolio.
FIELD NOTES: Jordan Spieth returns to TPC San Antonio for the first time since 2015. He remains in search of just his second PGA TOUR win in his home state. … Hall of Famer Ernie Els and former major winners Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Jason Dufner are among those pursuing a longshot win for the final Masters spot. … Harrington is set for his first U.S. start since a broken wrist suffered over the Christmas break.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
STORYLINES: TPC San Antonio takes center stage, offering a different look from past Valero Texas Opens as fairways are widened and shorter rough. ... Fowler tees it up for the first time since THE PLAYERS Championship. … Defending champ Andrew Landry seeks to become the third man this century to win back-to-back in San Antonio. Justin Leonard did it in 2000-01, followed by Zach Johnson in 2008-09.
COURSE: TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks), 7,435 yards, par 72. Set among native oaks of Texas Hill Country, the 2010 Greg Norman design – with an assist from Sergio Garcia – seeks a balance between traditional tree-lined fairways and multiple strategic options. Native plants and grasses are used throughout the course, giving a minimalist look that generally follows the oaks’ canopy. The course offers just 100 feet of elevation change, with downhill holes playing into the prevailing wind and uphill holes playing downwind. The Oaks’ most memorable moment may have come in 2011, when Kevin Na carded a 16 at the par-4 ninth hole after a stubborn battle with rocks and underbrush. A year later, Na returned with a chainsaw for a good-natured publicity shoot.
For those visiting the San Antonio area, must-play courses include La Cantera GC (San Antonio), The Quarry GC (San Antonio) and Canyon Springs GC (San Antonio). Book your reservations via TeeOff.com.
72-HOLE RECORD: 254, Tommy Armour III (2003 at La Cantera). TPC San Antonio record: 271, Andrew Landry (2018).
18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Bart Bryant (3rd round, 2004 at La Cantera), Zach Johnson (3rd round, 2009 at La Cantera). TPC San Antonio record: 62, Trey Mullinax (3rd round, 2018).
LAST YEAR: Landry made his first PGA TOUR victory a home-state triumph, outdueling Johnson and Trey Mullinax for a two-shot win that made him the 19th Lone Star winner in the VTO’s long history. The native of Port Neches, Texas, separated himself with four birdies in his first six holes on the final day, posting a 4-under-par 68 that left him two shots clear of Mullinax and fellow Texas native Sean O’Hair. Landry’s winning score of 17-under 271 was the lowest since the event moved to TPC San Antonio. It was his second start following a seven-week layoff for the birth of his first child – daughter Brooks – though he lost a playoff to Jon Rahm four months earlier at the Desert Classic. Mullinax closed with a 69 for his best career finish; O’Hair’s birdie/birdie finish capped a 66 that gave him a share of second.
HOW TO FOLLOW
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-3:30 p.m. (GC), 3:30-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. (featured groups). Saturday, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (featured groups), 3:30-6 p.m. (featured holes). Sunday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (featured groups), 2:30-6 p.m. (featured holes). International subscribers (via GOLF.tv): Thursday-Friday, 12:30 to 23:00 GMT. Saturday-Sunday, 15:00 to 22:00.