2021 Valero Texas Open Power Rankings

Charley Hoffman Valero Texas Open
Charley Hoffman reacts to his putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio on April 24, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The 2020 season did not see its first PGA Tour major held until August, but now in late March of 2021, we are just one week from The Masters. The field is mostly set for Augusta, but a spot could still be won for a player in this week’s Valero Texas Open, were they to win.

There is a notable list of such players at TPC San Antonio this week, at an event that was first held 99 years ago. The field also comprises many players qualified for The Masters, but looking to have their game in peak form going in.

The field might be lacking a little at the top, with just one top 20 player committed, but it is unquestionably deep. Here is who we like most:

15. Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama BMW Championship
Hideki Matsuyama plays his shot from the 16th tee during the third round of the BMW Championship on the North Course at Olympia Fields CC on Aug 29, 2020 in Olympia Fields, IL. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 29-year-old from Japan was mildly disappointing at last week’s WGC-Match Play, losing to Carlos Ortiz and Brian Harman, before rallying for a 4&2 victory over world No. 10 Patrick Cantlay. Matsuyama, though, has been solid in 2021, with seven finishes inside the top 25, and finished runner-up at the Vivint Houston Open in October.

This will be Matsuyama’s Valero debut, but he is always a threat in the weeks where his putter is less of a liability.

Field/World Rank: 3/25
Odds To Win the Valero: 18-1
Last Six Starts: 42, MC, 18, 15, MC, 42

14. Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar plays his shot from the third tee during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 16, 2019 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. Photo by Ross Kinnaird/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

Kooch was in the midst of one of his worst years on Tour, with nothing better than a T34 among his first 11 starts of the season. Then, the 42-year-old did what he seems to always do: dominate in match play, sweeping his brutal group in Austin of Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen, and defending champion Kevin Kisner.

He then took down Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman before becoming a victim of the Scottie Scheffler buzzsaw, but he did win the third-place match 2&1 over Victor Perez.

The good play in Austin should be helpful to Kuchar’s confidence, although we are unsure of how much confidence to have in him in stroke play. He has played the Valero every year since 2011, not missing a single cut and posting four top-15 finishes. He was T7 in 2019.

Field/World Rank: 7/43
Odds To Win the Valero: 40-1
Last Six Starts: 3, MC, 44, MC, 42, MC

13. Chris Kirk

Chris Kirk
Chris Kirk plays his shot from the 2nd tee during the third round of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course on Mar 13, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

His Sundays have been a problem over the past month, but his results have remained steady, with five top 25s in his last seven starts, including a T2 at the Sony Open, and a T8 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Kirk ranks 21st on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, 22nd in scoring average, and has risen from 522nd to 73rd in the world rankings since last June. He followed a T8 in the 2015 Valero with a T13 the following year.

Field/World Rank: 20/76
Odds To Win the Valero: 33-1
Last Six Starts: 25, 48, 8, 16, MC, 16

12. Si Woo Kim

Si Woo Kim Wyndham Championship
Si Woo Kim looks over the first green during the third round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield CC on Aug 15, 2020 in Greensboro, NC. Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images

The 54-hole leader here in the last edition played, was exceptionally disappointing in the final round, as his even-par 72 was the only score of worse than 5-under among those who finished in the top 6 (finished T4).

As usual, Kim is sprinkling in a few high finishes among a lot of horrible ones this season: in his last eight starts, he has a win at The American Express and a T9 at THE PLAYERS Championship, but also three missed cuts, a withdraw after first-round 80, a T50, and a T56.

A nice surprise this year has the 25-year-old actually in the positive on Tour in strokes gained: putting, albeit just barely.

Field/World Rank: 9/51
Odds To Win the Valero: 28-1
Last Six Starts: 56, 9, MC, MC, 50, MC

11. Brendan Steele

Brendan Steele Safeway
Brendan Steele tees off on the first hole during the final round of the Safeway Open at Silverado’s North Course on Oct. 8, 2017 in Napa, CA. Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

The 2011 Valero Texas Open winner also has a T4 and a T8 in his history at TPC San Antonio. It helps his chances this year that he is trending positively, as he has made the cut in all eight of his 2021 calendar year starts, most recently posting two rounds of 65 in a T3 finish at The Honda Classic.

Steele’s putting has been terrible this season, but he has been at least average in everything else, including ranking 42nd on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green. He is another notable player in this field not qualified for next week’s Masters, giving him extra motivation to improve on his excellent recent form.

Field/World Rank: 18/72
Odds To Win the Valero: 33-1
Last Six Starts: 3, 41, 18, 43, 34, 30

10. Cameron Tringale

Cameron Tringale
Cameron Tringale plays a shot from the 12th tee during the second round of the RSM Classic at Sea Island GC on Nov 22, 2019 in St Simons Island, GA. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tringale has been quietly good in 2021, with four finishes of T18 or better in his last seven starts, and also finished solo-third with a final round 62 at November’s RSM Classic.

He also has the 16th best scoring average on Tour currently, and is in the positive in all six strokes gained categories, including 34th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, which has frequently been a strong notifier of success.

The 33-year-old was T17 at the last Valeron held, and had a stretch in 2011-2012 where he went T5-T8 at TPC San Antonio.

Field/World Rank: 18/72
Odds To Win the Valero: 33-1
Last Six Starts: 56, 9, MC, MC, 50, MC

9. Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler waits on the 11th tee with his caddie Joe Skovron during the second round of the 2019 Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio Oaks Course on April 05, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Fowler has been mostly terrible in 2021, and in his last six starts, he has three missed cuts, a T20, a T65, and a solo-72nd. It is difficult to have much optimism about him right now, and normally we would not recommend him, but there is something important to consider with him this week: he needs this.

Currently, he does not qualify for next week’s Masters, a major he desperately needs for his legacy, and has posted five top 12s in his last seven Augusta starts. If he does not find a way to qualify this week, he would miss his first Masters since 2010, with the U.S. Open that year being the last major he did not play in.

The five-time Tour champion has played this event just once, finishing T17 in the most recent edition, with three rounds in the 60s.

Field/World Rank: 27/94
Odds To Win the Valero: 50-1
Last Six Starts: 65, MC, 72, 20, MC, MC

8. Corey Conners

Corey Conners
Corey Conners puts on the winner’s boots after winning the Valero Texas Open on Apr 7, 2019 at TPC San Antonio (TX). Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Valero defending champion came into the WGC-Match Play in tremendous form, finishing solo third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational followed by a solo-7th at THE PLAYERS Championship.

That is why it was so surprising to see him get absolutely housed in Austin, going 0-3-0 in group play with three-hole losses to Matthew Wolff and Jordan Spieth and a 5&4 loss to Matthew Fitzpatrick. We will chalk it up to him having so little experience in match play, as it is hard to overlook someone who had 10 final round birdies when he won here in 2019.

Currently ranks 12 on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

Field/World Rank: 6/41
Odds To Win the Valero: 20-1
Last Six Starts: 61, 7, 3, MC, 17, 37

7. Abraham Ancer

Abraham Ancer 2020 Masters
Abraham Ancer stands on the second green during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 15, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

After how amazing Ancer looked for the International Team at the 2019 Presidents Cup, he was a popular pick to make a deep run at last week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He rewarded that faith early, winning his first two matches in the group stage, but then squandered a late lead to a struggling Viktor Hovland to fall into a playoff that he lost to Kevin Streelman.

Still, the 30-year-old Texas native has finished T22 or better in eight of his last 10 starts. Ancer finished T42 in his only start at TPC San Antonio, opening the most recent version with a 67. He is currently second on Tour in driving accuracy and 14th in greens in regulation.

Field/World Rank: 5/31
Odds To Win the Valero: 18-1
Last Six Starts: 18, 22, 18, MC, 53, 5

6. Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson celebrates with is caddie after making a tournament winning birdie putt on the 18th green in a sudden death playoff during the final round of the 2009 PGA Tour Valero Texas Open at La Cantera Golf Club in San Antonio, Tx. (Photo by John Albright / Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There was a time where the two-time major champion was a lock for a high finish in this event, having won both the 2008 and 2009 versions. It may be time to consider the 45-year-old again, given that he has made the cut in all 12 of his starts this season, including a T8 at the Honda Classic the last time he teed up.

Johnson was also T6 in the 2014 event, and solo-fifth in 2018, the last time he played TPC San Antonio. At 11th on Tour in strokes gained: putting and all-around solid play, he is difficult to overlook this week.

If Zach does win, he would join Arnold Palmer and Justin Leonard as the only three-time Valero Champions.

Field/World Rank: 32/107
Odds To Win the Valero: 50-1
Last Six Starts: 8, 41, 49, 42, 62, 62

5. Ryan Palmer

Ryan Palmer
Ryan Palmer celebrates his putt on the 16th hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on Apr 28, 2019 in Avondale, LA. Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

The Texas native always seems to be money in his home state, and he is coming into the Valero in good form after going 2-0-1 in the group stage at last week’s WGC-Match Play, taking world No. 3 Jon Rahm to a third playoff hole.

From 2015-2017, Palmer went T4-T4-T6, and he currently ranks third on Tour in birdie average. Many would be surprised to see that the 44-year-old is 26th in the OWGR.

Field/World Rank: 4/26
Odds To Win the Valero: 25-1
Last Six Starts: 17, 17, 54, 42, 2, 41

4. Tony Finau

Tony Finau
Tony Finau prepares to tee off on the sixth tee during the third round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course on April 22, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Finau is not quite looking where he was earlier this year when he posted three consecutive runner-up finishes worldwide. He does deserve credit, however, for bouncing back at the WGC-Match Play last week from an opening 6&5 thrashing at the hands of Dylan Frittelli, the lowest seeded player in the field.

Finau tied Will Zalatoris and then beat a surging Jason Kokrak 2-up to finish the week 1-1-1. He has the sixth-best scoring average on Tour.

He has just one finish inside the top 60 in this event, but it was a T3 in 2017.

Field/World Rank: 1/13
Odds To Win the Valero: 12-1
Last Six Starts: 28, MC, 14, 2, 2, 2

3. Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler WGC-Dell Match Play Championship
Scottie Scheffler talks to his caddie on the 12th tee in his match against Matt Kuchar during the semifinal round of the WGC-Dell Match Play at Austin CC on Mar 28, 2021 in Austin, TX. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

Scheffler was an absolute revelation at last week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The young University of Texas product had never played the event before, but he advanced out of his group in a playoff after going 1-0-2, and then turned on another gear in single elimination, impressively taking out Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, and Matt Kuchar on his way to the championship match.

The 24-year old did lose that match to Billy Horschel, but Scheffler has shown the ability to get and stay hot before, which we especially saw late last season.

He was T20 at the 2019 Valero and has three top-7s in his last five starts. We see him staying solid in the tune-up to his first shot at Augusta.

Field/World Rank: 2/22
Odds To Win the Valero: 14-1
Last Six Starts: 2, MC, 5, 20, 7, MC

2. Charley Hoffman

Charley Hoffman Valero Texas Open
Charley Hoffman reacts to his putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio on April 24, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The 44-year-old from San Diego has shown a high level of comfort in San Antonio, winning the 2016 Valero and finishing runner-up in 2011 and 2019. Hoffman will need a good week, given that he is not currently qualified for The Masters next week, and has not had to sit out Augusta since 2014.

He was just three off the lead through 54 holes at Puntacana last week, but collapsed late on Sunday, closing bogey-quad and shooting a 5-over 77 to finish T34.

Even with that, though, he has three finishes of T17 or better in his last five starts, so he is still trending positively. His length has been tremendous for being in his mid-40s, which explains why he has been on more leaderboards lately.

Field/World Rank: 37/115
Odds To Win the Valero: 28-1
Last Six Starts: 34, 17, 10, 52, 7, MC

1. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth chases his ball on the 15th hole during day two of the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive CC in St Louis, MO. Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Things have sure turned up for Spieth in a hurry. After four top-15s in a five start span, the 11-time Tour champion suddenly became a favorite at last week’s WGC-Match Play when 15 of the 16 pool A golfers were shockingly eliminated.

Spieth advanced out of his group as the pool D golfer with a 2-0-1 record, beating Matthew Fitzpatrick and Corey Conners, and halving with Matthew Wolff in a match he led most of. He got knocked out later by Matt Kuchar, who is otherworldly in match play, but another top 10 got Spieth 40th in the FedExCup standings after finishing outside the top 100 last year.

The 27-year old had the second best odds of anyone in the field in San Antonio this week, and now has the first since Dustin Johnson withdrew. He is even getting lots of talk about being among the favorites at The Masters.

Can he keep the good play going? Probably, he’s usually a good bet in his native Texas. His best finish here was a runner-up to Jimmy Walker in the 2015 edition.

Field/World Rank: 10/53
Odds To Win the Valero: 10-1
Last Six Starts: 9, 48, 4, 15, 3, 4

Next Five: Joel Dahmen, Keegan Bradley, Sam Ryder, Lando Griffin, Danny Willett


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