After a one week hiatus I am back. This week we will be looking at the Valero Texas Open where things are always “unapologetically Texan.” While not considered the premier stop on tour it is still a quality tournament that usually consists of a quality field.
The Texas Open is played in San Antonio at the Greg Norman designed AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. The course will play to a length of 7,522 yards and a par of 72. Norman spent much time in creating that gorgeous track while keeping nature and environmental issues at the forefront of his mind. The end result is a quality PGA-caliber course. According to Norman:
“The topographic subtleties of the rolling Texas Hill Country terrain, framed by magnificent stands of mature live oaks, create a pristine natural setting that is as playable as it is beautiful”
Normally I spend some time breaking down the holes that can quickly become “turning point” holes in the event. AT&T Oaks at TPC San Antonio has a few of its own. Consider for example the ninth hole which is a daunting par 4 playing to 474 yards. Kevin Na, a quality PGA professional, managed to take 16 shots to complete this hole. That’s right, 16 shots. Is it that hard? No, but it ranked the toughest hole on the course. Overall the course is no cake walk. In 2012 the TPC San Antonio was ranked fourth hardest on tour playing an average of 1.989 over par. It was also fourth in 2011 as well. For a more “entertaining view” of the hardest holes check this out from Michael Collins of ESPN.
YouTube Video Courtesy of ESPN
Players in the field will be trying to but also have an eye on warming up for Augusta and the Masters right around the corner. On the who’s who list of players in this week’s Texas Open are World #2 Rory McIlroy, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel, Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Matt Kuchar, and even last week’s winner D.A. Points. Previous Texas Open winners in Justin Leonard (2000, 2001 and 2007), Tim Herron (1997) and Ben Curtis (2012) are also in the field.
It is not just the players benefiting from the Texas Open. There are, as always, charities benefiting from the cause as well. Throughout the history of the Texas Open there has been in excess of $76M given to charity. That is an incredible accomplishment. According to the Texas Open official site:
“Our commitment to giving back to the community is what drives us to make each year’s tournament so successful. Because the truth is that beyond the tournament play, beyond the fun and excitement of the event, we know that the real winners are the charities we’re proudly able to help each year.”
There have been some special moments over the year at the Valero Texas Open. To relive a few enjoy the video below. Try and tell me you do not remember some of these moments.
YouTube Video Courtesy of pgatour
Now we are reminded of what is coming this week but to better understand who some of the logical win candidates are let’s break a few down. Now this week it is not a list littered with the big names in golf, but someone will win.
Up Next: The Contenders: