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.
PROJECTED WINNING SCORE: -12
Luke List +2,200
Kevin Chappell +2,800
Adam Scott +3,000
Billy Horschel +3,000
Chesson Hadley +3,500
3JACK’S DARK HORSE PICKS
Zach Johnson +4,000
Keegan Bradley +5,000
Kevin Streelman +5,000
Ryan Palmer +5,000
Andrew Landry +15,000