The PGA Tour stays in the Lonestar State for the 90th edition of the Valero Texas Open – the final tune-up before the season’s first major at Augusta National.
The 28th event on the PGA Tour’s 2020-21 schedule, the Valero Texas Open is contested at TPC San Antonio, a Greg Norman-designed par-72, measuring 7,435 yards.
Due to its position on the schedule – sandwiched between a World Golf Championship and Major, the field in south Texas is fairly weak but will feature a pair of high-profile Texans in Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler.
Here are more details about this week’s PGA Tour stop in Texas.
Valero Texas Open
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Valero Texas Open
Dates: Apr. 2-5, 2021
Where: San Antonio, Texas
Course: TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
Distance: Par 72, 7,435 yards
Architect: Greg Norman
Format: Stroke play, 72-holes
Field: 144 players, 36-Hole Cut
Winning Share: $1,386,000
Defending Champion: Corey Conners
How to Follow
TELEVISION: Thu-Fri: 4-7 p.m. (GOLF); Sat: 1-3:30 p.m. (GOLF), 3:30-6 p.m. (NBC); Sun: 1-2:30 p.m. (GOLF), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC)
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thu-Fri: 8:15 a.m.-7 p.m. (Groups); Sat: 8:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Groups), 3:30-6 p.m. (Holes); Sun: 8:15 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (Groups), 2:30-6 p.m. (Holes)
Watch on Prime Video
PGA TOUR RADIO: Thu-Fri: 1-7 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 1-6 p.m.
(PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio)
Valero Texas Open History
Casual fans may not realize it, but the Valero Texas Open has one of the most extensive histories on the PGA Tour. As the third oldest tournament on the Tour’s schedule, the sixth oldest worldwide, and the oldest tournament where every edition has been played in the same city, the Valero Texas Open has a rich tradition of hosting elite-level golf.
This week’s event will be the 90th time touring pros have teed it up in San Antonio since 1922. For much of its history, the tournament had a reputation for surrendering exceptionally low scores, evidenced most by Mike Souchak’s winning total of 27-under par in 1955, and Tommy Armour III’s record-setting 254 (64-63-62-65) in 2003 – a Tour record that stood until Justin Thomas broke it in 2017 in Hawaii.
However, as the tournament has started to award larger purses, it was moved to TPC San Antonio, which early on proved to be a much tougher test. How tough? Ask Kevin Na, who shot a 12-over 16 on ONE HOLE in the 2011 edition. That may be an extreme outlier, but in 2012, one of the runner-ups had a round of 77 on their card. In fact, from 2011 – 2014, three of the four winners finished in single-digits under par.
The setup in San Antonio has generally become less penal over the past several years, culminating with 2019 winner, Corey Conners, finishing with the first 20 under (or better) since Armour’s aforementioned record setter nearly 20 years ago.
Over the years, the tournament has been contested at eight different venues with a who’s who of legendary names among its winners, including Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Chi-Chi Rodriguez, Hale Irwin, Ben Crenshaw, and Lee Trevino.
Palmer and Justin Leonard have the most Valero victories, with three a piece. Seven other golfers have won twice, including Zach Johnson (2008-2009) – the only active player among the group.
History: Tournament Names
2002-21: Valero Texas Open
2001-01: Texas Open at La Cantera
2000-00: Westin Texas Open at La Cantera
1998-99: Westin Texas Open
1995-97: La Cantera Texas Open
1994-94: Texas Open
1990-93: H.E.B. Texas Open
1988-89: Texas Open
1996-96: Vantage Championship
1972-80: San Antonio Texas Open
1970-71: San Antonio Open Invitational
1956-69: Texas Open Invitational
1922-55: Texas Open
History: Recent Winners
2019: Corey Conners (-20)
2018: Andrew Landry (-17)
2017: Kevin Chappell (-12)
2016: Charley Hoffman (-12)
2015: Jimmy Walker (-11)
2014: Steven Bowditch (-8)
2013: Martin Laird (-14)
2012: Ben Curtis (-9)
2011: Brendan Steele (-8)
Low Score: 254 Tommy Armour III (2003)
Under-Par: -27 Mike Souchak (1955)
Margin of Victory: 8 strokes Corey Pavin (1988)
3 – Justin Leonard (2000-01, 2007), Arnold Palmer (1960-62)
Defending Valero Texas Open Champion
Corey Conners shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday to reach 20-under for the week, the lowest winning score since the event moved to the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio in 2010, but his scorecard was nowhere near as pristine as one would expect after such a low score.
Coming off a brutal six-start stretch where he had five missed cuts and a T41, the 27-year-old from Ontario put on an impressive display of resilience on Sunday at the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio, jumping off to a large early lead, losing it, and then regaining it to pull off his first career victory, a two-shot win over 2016 Valero Texas Open Champion Charley Hoffman.
The Canadian finished his final day in Texas with four bogeys offset by 10 birdies to reach 20-under par, two clear of Charley Hoffman.
Making his feat even more impressive, Conners made the Valero Texas Open field as a Monday qualifier. This was the first time since 2010 that a Monday qualifier won any PGA Tour event.
Final Top-5 Finishers
Pos-Player-Score (Final Rd)
1. Corey Conners -20 (-6)
2. Charley Hoffman -18 (-4)
3. Ryan Moore -17 (-8)
4. Si Woo Kim -15 (E)
4. Brian Stuard -15 (-6)
Valero Texas Open Storylines
1. Last Chance for Rickie Fowler: The popular Fowler hasn’t won since the 2019 Phoneix Open, and is in real danger of missing his first Masters since 2010. His only way to punch his ticket to Augusta is to win in Texas. Fowler was once the best player without a major, but may now be the biggest name not to make the Masters.
2. Can Jordan Spieth Finally Bust Drought: Is this the tournament that finally gets Spieth to the winner’s circle, and breaks a nearly four-year long victory drought? The trend is clearly there. In his last six starts, the three-time major winner has posted five top-15s, including four top-10s and three top-5s. His only poor start was a T48 at The PLAYERS.
3. Scottie Scheffler’s Second Attempt on Home Soil : The 24-year old Texan came up a couple holes short last week in Austin, but Scheffler will give it one more try on home soil to score his maiden PGA Tour win.
Valero Texas Open Field
The field in San Antonio will be headlined by Texas native Jordan Spieth who will seek to bust out of his nearly four-year winning drought – on home soil, no less. Spieth is playing the best golf since the early part of 2018. He enters off four recent top 10s including three top-5s.
In four career starts at the Valero, Spieth owns a runner-up (2015), top-10 (2014), T30 (2019), and missed cut (2013).
The three-time major winner will be joined by fellow Texan Scottie Scheffler who enters off a runner-up in Austin at the WGC-Dell match Play.
A third Lonestar state product is Ryan Palmer who is playing maybe the best golf of his career at 44. The Amarillo, Texas native played on a medical extension in 2018, but since mid to late 2019 has played brilliantly, including into the 2021 season, where he owns three top-5 finishes, and three additional top-20s, in just 11 starts.
The highest ranked player in the field is Tony Finau (No. 13), who is enjoying another typical Tony Finau season with three runner-ups and a few more top 10s.
Another marquee name is Rickie Fowler who is in a career tailspin that has seen his world ranking fall to 94. For the first time in his career, Fowler failed to qualify for last week’s Match Play, and will need a win this week to avoid missing the Masters for the first time since 2010.
Corey Conners will return to defend, and will do so in solid form. The Canadian enters off a solo 7th- and 3rd-place in his two most recent stroke-play starts (7th PLAYERS, 3rd Bay Hill).
Abraham Ancer, Hideki Matsuyama and Charley Hoffman (the 2016 Valero winner) are among the top-10 betting favorites.
Other names to keep an eye on include Joel Dahmen, who enters off a win at Corales; Danny Willett (T8, Corales); and Sam Ryder who scored a backdoor T2 last week in the Dominican – his second-straight top 10 (T8 Honda).
Top-10 Betting Favorites
1. Jordan Spieth (10-1)
2. Tony Finau (16-1)
3. Scottie Scheffler (18-1)
4. Abraham Ancer (20-1)
5. Hideki Matsuyama (22-1)
6. Corey Conners (25-1)
7. Charley Hoffman (28-1)
7. Ryan Palmer (28-1)
9. Brendan Steele (33-1)
9. Cameron Tringale (33-1)
How the Field Qualified for the Valero Texas Open
Winner – PGA/U.S. Open Championship
Winner – THE PLAYERS Championship
Si Woo Kim
Winner – The Masters
Winner – The Open Championship
Winner – World Golf Championship Event
Winners of the Arnold Palmer, Memorial, Genesis (Last 3 Years)
Tournament Winner in Past Two Seasons
Charles Howell III
Ted Potter, Jr.
Career Money Exemption
Bo Van Pelt
Sponsor Exemptions (2018-19 FedExCup / 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Category)
Sponsors Exemptions – Members not otherwise exempt
Sponsors Exemptions – Unrestricted
Designated Sponsor Exemptions
PGA Section Champion\Player of the Year
Carlos Sainz Jr
Past Champion of Respective Event
Davis Love III
Top 125 on Prior Season’s FedExCup Points List
Byeong Hun An
Harold Varner III
Top 125 (Prior Season Nonmember)
Erik van Rooyen
Major Medical Extension
2018-19 Top 125 FedExCup/2019 Top Finishers Korn Ferry Tour (reordered)
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Up Next On Tour
The first major of the season is up next, as all eyes will focus on Augusta National for the 2022 edition of the Masters Tournament.
Carey Hoffman and Paul Daly contributed to this preview.