Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What To Look For: 2018 Texas Valero Open

The Tour comes to San Antonio for the Texas Valero Open which dates back to 1922.

The Texas Valero Open is held at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio which plays at 1,100 feet above sea level. Combine that with the gusty winds in the area, this can lead to some monster drives on some tailwind tee shots.

That wind also reeks havoc on the players. The 3rd hole routinely has one of the largest deviations in score for any par-3 on Tour. It’s a very shallow green where the players have to hit over water and if the tailwind is blowing hard enough, it can be impossible to get the ball to stop. It plays 213 yards from the back tees, but often times the tournament officials move the tees up to roughly 150-160 yards because the hole can play so impossible that it will greatly slow up the pace of play.

The course is a Pete Dye design which comes up this time of year with Harbour Town last week, TPC San Antonio this week, then TPC Louisiana the following week and TPC Sawgrass coming up 2 weeks after that.

I’ve played some Pete Dye links style course (yes, this isn’t a ‘true links’ because it doesn’t have the ocean nearby). Most notably Kiawah Island and The Dye Course at PGA Village. They are not exactly fun to play, particularly when the wind is howling. It can be nearly impossible to hit the ball to the fairway and I carry it about 275 yards on average. And then you can hit some very good drives on tough driving holes and end up with a goofy lie in the middle of the fairway.

Most players don’t like those features either and that makes for a weaker field.

This course is mostly about long and short approaches. Typically the top finishers drive it well here, too. But, there’s some luck involved due to the wind gusts.



Luke List +2,200
Kevin Chappell +2,800
Adam Scott +3,000
Billy Horschel +3,000
Chesson Hadley +3,500


Zach Johnson +4,000
Keegan Bradley +5,000
Kevin Streelman +5,000
Ryan Palmer +5,000
Andrew Landry +15,000


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What To Look For: 2018 RBC Heritage Classic

The Tour comes back to Hilton Head for the 49th RBC Heritage Classic.

Harbour Town Golf Links was built in 1967 designed by Pete Dye with the help of Jack Nicklaus. Many people don’t realize that Nicklaus’ architecture mentor was Pete Dye.

The course plays to 7,099 yards at a par-71. It features very narrow fairways with some hazards, but dense trees lining the fairways as well as some oddly shaped greens. Harbour Town ranks as one of Dye’s best designs and is almost universally beloved by golfers of any handicap.

Personally, I’m undecided by Dye. I’ve played many of his designs that I thought were exceptional (Harbour Town, Old Marsh and Kiawah), many of them that I thought stunk (Pound Ridge) and many of them I found to be middle of the road (Dye Preserve and TPC Louisiana).

Dye’s courses often have very basic holes that were made due to him making the big splash with a few feature holes. That doesn’t quite bother me as in all likelihood, not every hole is going to be a home run and he can create a nice ebb and flow to the weaker designs compared to the feature holes. I tend to have a bigger issue with the blind tee shots to narrow landing areas where there is hazards on both sides and long of the landing zone. I think it’s very important to be extremely judicial with blind tee shots in golf and Mr. Dye certainly doesn’t share that opinion.

But, he designed a great one here and the players love it as well. The only issue is that it’s so tight that the bombers tend to stay away from it and it also comes right after Masters week, so the field isn’t the strongest one.

Most of the shots lost or gained will come from mid-approach shots and watch out for greenside bunker play as well if it gets windy and players struggle to find the GIR.

Projected Winning Score: -12


Paul Casey +1,200
Matt Kuchar +1,600
Webb Simpson +2,500
Cameron Smith +2,800
Tyrrell Hatton +3,300


Emiliano Grillo +4,000
Jason Dufner +6,000
Si Woo Kim +8,000
Charl Schwartzel +9,000
Davis Love III +40,000


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Berckman's Place at Augusta with Fried Eggs Golf

Before I get to the awesome video from Randy Smith from Fried Eggs Golf, I did have a couple of columns that I posted this week with regards to the Masters.

First up is my annual Players Who Can Win the Masters on GolfWRX:

The 24 Players That Can Win the Masters

Next up is my article for PGATour.com on Tiger's performance this year and how it stacks up against Tiger's performance from 2005-2009 as well as how well his top competitors performed in 2005-2009 vs. the top players in the world today.

Can Tiger Woods Win the Masters?

Here's the video from Fried Eggs Golf.  Just an incredible experience to hear about.