This week is the renewal of the Valero Texas Open, one of the oldest stops on the PGA Tour, dating back to 1922. The 2020 tournament was canceled during the COVID-19 pause and wasn’t rescheduled. It’s played on the par-72 AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, the tournament’s site since 2010.
The event has been moved around on the PGA Tour’s spring schedule through the years and hasn’t always attracted great fields. This year it’s positioned a week before the Masters Tournament and is the last chance for players not otherwise qualified to earn entry into the calendar year’s first major tournament.
Due to that fact and the desire some players have to play their way into shape for the Masters, the field for the 2021 Valero Texas Open is actually fairly stout. The top player in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), Dustin Johnson, was a late addition to the field, though he withdrew from the field yesterday.
Betting Odds Leaders
Before he withdrew from the tournament, Johnson was the overwhelming favorite at +620. Jordan Spieth, who lost to Matt Kuchar 1-Up in last week’s Dell Technologies Match Play, has been playing much better in 2021 and is at +1200 odds.
Tony Finau, still looking to add to his lone Tour win in 2016, is next at +1300, followed by defending champion from 2019 Corey Conners at +1600. Last week’s runner-up, Scottie Scheffler, rounds out the top five at +1700. Among popular players in the field are Rickie Fowler at +5700 and 50-year-old Phil Mickelson at +7200.
In his only appearance in the Valero Texas Open, Spieth finished four shots behind Jimmy Walker for a runner-up finish in 2015.
Longhorns in the Mix
It’s almost impossible to believe that the winner of 11 Tour events and three major championships hasn’t recorded a victory since the 2017 Open Championship. Spieth has struggled for much of the past two years, but seems to be on the way back with three top five finishes in his last six starts.
In his only appearance in the Valero Texas Open, he finished four shots behind Jimmy Walker for a runner-up finish in 2015. The Texas native and former University of Texas standout is playing with renewed confidence and is poised to head to Augusta with a win under his belt.
Scheffler, another former Longhorn with a stellar amateur career, is in his second season on the PGA Tour and has yet to win a tournament, but it’s only a matter of time until he does. He came close last week, losing to Billy Horschel 2&1 in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play final for his first runner-up finish on Tour.
Forty-four-year-old Ryan Palmer, who was born in Amarillo, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M, has been knocking on the door in 2021. He has 10 consecutive made cuts with three top five finishes, including a tie for second at the Farmers Insurance Open. He’s worth taking seriously this week at odds of +2900.