The Valero Texas Open is one of the longest-running tournaments on the PGA Tour and has been contested since 1922. Last year’s event was postponed, then ultimately canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2010, the par-72 AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio has been the host for the tournament, which this year takes place the week before the Masters.
Its place on the schedule is significant in that players not otherwise eligible for the first major of the calendar year can still qualify with a victory in the Valero Texas Open. Also, many players prefer to play the week before the Masters to feel sharp heading to Augusta National, so it adds some depth to the field.
A good example this year is Dustin Johnson (though he has since withdrawn from the event). The top player in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) got bounced out of last week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play after a controversial loss to Kevin Na. After a torrid start to the season, the Masters champion from November has seen his game cool off. He has now decided to take this week off to prepare for the Masters with a little bit of rest.
The defending champion from 2019, Canadian Corey Conners, with odds of +1600, has been playing well and could easily contend again.
Billy Horschel, seeded 32nd, won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club with a 2&1 victory over Scottie Scheffler in the final match. The tournament bracket made March Madness look benign in comparison, as only one of the top 16 seeds made it out of the group stage.
With the 550 FedEx Cup points awarded for the title, Horschel moved up to seventh place in the FedEx Cup standings with his sixth PGA Tour win and his first individual victory since the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson, also contested in the state of Texas.
Betting Odds in San Antonio
As expected, Johnson was a big betting favorite at +620 before he withdrew from the event on Monday. Texan Jordan Spieth, who finished tied for 30th in this event in 2019 and was runner-up to Jimmy Walker in 2015, is next at +1200.
The former University of Texas player and three-time major champion hasn’t won since the 2017 Open Championship, but he’s playing much better of late with three top five finishes and no missed cuts in his last six starts. The 11-time winner on Tour has had trouble closing out tournaments, however, failing to break 70 in his last six Sunday rounds.
Tony Finau at +1300 is another player with a long victory drought, recording eight runner-up finishes since his only Tour win in the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. The latest was at the 2021 Genesis Invitational, where he shot a sizzling final round of 64 but was defeated by Max Homa on the second playoff hole.
The defending champion from 2019, Canadian Corey Conners, with odds of +1600, has been playing well and could easily contend again. Another former University of Texas standout and runner-up last week in the Match Play is Scheffler at +1700. There is little doubt that the second-year player will win soon and likely often on the PGA Tour.