The tour rolls on and this week welcome to San Antonio Texas, the host city for the Valero Texas Open, where things are always “unapologetically Texan.” Four of the worlds, top-15 will be here including San Antonio resident, Jimmy Walker, as well as Phil Mickelson, making his first trip to the Texas Open in 22 years. The Valero Texas Open is played at the Greg Norman/ Sergio Garcia designed AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. The course will play to a length of 7,435 yards and a par of 72. the Norman/Garcia design kept nature and environmental issues at the forefront of the design. 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”
With the Texas wind, challenging design and fairly evenly matched field who is the most likely to win this week at the TPC San Antonio? It is never easy to pick the winner in a full field event but part of the fun is finding the player you think has a great chance. Do you back the local boy, Jimmy Walker? Do you take Phil Mickelson, who is here prepping for the Masters? A past winner up your alley? Let’s take a look at who I predicted has a great shot of causing some damage at the Valero Texas Open.
Thursday-Friday: Golf Channel-3-6 PM EST
Saturday-Sunday: Golf Channel-1-3 PM EST and NBC- 3-6 PM EST
$6.2 million total purse, $1.116 million winners share
Valero Texas Open Contender- Freddie Jacobson
Since the Valero Texas Open moved to its new home at the Tournament Players Club San Antonio, Freddie Jacobson has finished 15th in 2013, 18th in 2012, fifth in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2010. In fact, 13 of his last 16 rounds at the TPC San Antonio have been at or below par for a combined 23 under par.
His 2014 season is hit or miss making the cut in six of 11 events. When he makes the cut he is capitalizing on it with five top-20s and two top-10s including this past week’s tie for 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Actually his last three starts have all been quality finishing no worse than 20th. He appears to firing on all cylinders heading into an event that always returns fond memories.
Valero Texas Open Pick- Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson has played in nine events on the 2014 PGA Tour slate and made the cut in each of them. He started out the 2014 calendar year on fire with an eighth place finish at the Sony Open, a third place finish at the Humana Challenge and won the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. While making cuts his performance in his last four starts has not been exceptional but he did finish 16th at the Cadillac Championship. But he does love some ” unapologetically Texan” surrounding at the Valero Texas Open.
While he has not played in the Texas Open since 2010 and is not overly familiar with the TPC San Antonio, he is familiar with the weather and the idea of spring golf in Texas. In limited starts at the Texas Open he was a back-to-back winner in 2008 and 2009 at La Cantera in San Antonio. In fact, in the Texas climate in the lovely city of San Antonio , Zach Johnson has shot 64 or lower on three occasions including a 60 in 2009.
Johnson is having a solid season statistically as evident by his fourth place ranking in Birdies (per round), driving accuracy, putting (per hole) and eighth place ranking in Greens in Regulation. Johnson is healthy and returning to a city he enjoys playing golf in so what is not to like. Sure entering off of a win would be nice but then again there is not a reason to think Zach won’t be in contention come Sunday afternoon.
Who will win the 2014 Valero Texas Open?
- Other (45%, 15 Votes)
- Zach Johnson (36%, 12 Votes)
- Freddie Jacobson (18%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 33