Valero Texas Open 2022 Overview
We are just 9 more nights of sleep away from the most anticipated golf event of the year, The Masters. To warm up we have The Valero Texas Open, a tough long golf course to prep the players for next week.
Only 5 of the world’s top 20 are in attendance this week, mainly this is due to the aforementioned Maters taking place in just 9 days’ time. Is a gruelling test the best preparation for the first major of the year, many think not?
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio was designed by Greg Norman with Sergio Garcia’s help and opened in 2010. The fairways are narrow, tree-lined, and there are narrow pathways created through oak trees on the course. There are also a few holes with broader fairways that provide many possibilities for a mix of strategic and attacking play.
At TPC San Antonio, the driver is a crucial club, but strength does not always equate to victory, since there is a serious punishment for making mistakes on the Oaks Course. At TPC San Antonio, hitting fairways is tougher than the average PGA Tour event and the challenge doesn’t stop off the tee. Massive bunkers, long natural grasses, and limestone cliffs make it necessary to play from the fairway to access the greens, which are difficult themselves with undulations that lead to tight run off areas putting a premium on short game.
On the front nine, the toughest three scoring holes are holes 9, 4, and 1, which all have a bogey percentage of 25-26 percent on the Oaks course. The bogey rate on holes 12, 13, and 15 is likewise over 20%. Six holes have a bogey rate of over 20%, which gives you an idea of how difficult the course will be this week.
SG: Tee-to-Green is a key stat to look at when looking at Strokes Gained this week. Hitting greens is critical so as we will come onto GIR gained will be a key factor, another critical component this week is scrambling, with larger runoff areas and players finding it more difficult to make fairways, resulting in more greens missed. All in all, this is a tough week ahead for the world’s best players. Let find out what we separate those players come the back nine on Sunday.
6 Key Skills Set Required
- Driving Distance – A long and demanding test off the tee for the players this week. Playing from the fairways is an advantage any week on tour, however on this track of significant importance is length of the tee setting up shorter irons into this challenging green complexes. Distance also help on the long Par 5’s which range from 560- 620 yards.
- SG T2G – As with many of the difficult tests on tour it’s imperative you have your overall T2G game firing and this week is certainly one of those weeks we’re the whole bag of club from driver through wedge will need to cooperate. I will be searching for players who have there T2G game in good shape. It’s unlikely out of for, players will click into shape of this layout, in fact quite the opposite. Any weaknesses in the T2G will be exposed this week.
- SG approach 100-150yards – Plenty of approach shots will come from this distance and it’s worth noting that the Oaks course is one of the hardest on tour from inside 150 yards. Look for players who are particularly dialed in with the short iron in hand as when the scoring opportunities present themselves they must be taken.
- Sand saves – With the greens being particularly hard to hit this week for all players even the best T2G exponents it’s worth noting players who excel from the sand. This course has tight run off area and well placed bunkers. The bunkers are some of the hardest to get up and down form on tour. When looking to fine tune your portfolio for the week this could be one killer stats that helps narrow down your field.
- GIR gained – We can tell from the data, hitting greens in regulation here is significantly harder than the standard PGA Tour event. Look for players who pepper greens time and time again. Hitting a high percentage of GIR is the key to success here at the Oaks course.
- SG around the green – A long course with hard to hit greens means one thing. There will be plenty of scrambling needed from all the players this week and come the back nine on Sunday it will be those that have done it best that will be challenging for the title. Tough run off areas is the order of the day and tournament hosts try to replicate a similar feel to Augusta National for the players.