We are just one week away from the Masters, but the Valero Texas Open has a good field as players look to get one final golf warm up in before the first major of the year.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth is joined in Texas by the likes of Rory McIroy, Bryson DeChambeau and last season’s winner at Augusta, Hideki Matsuayama.
TPC San Antonio is a tough, and quite quirky course that can play very tough when the wind gets up. The scoring averages show that with the only players in the field to average under 70 are Spieth and last week’s third place finisher, Corey Conners.
— Reid Fowler (@reidtfowler) March 30, 2022
It can be a tough event to find a winner with eyes on next week and a course that can be very tricky. Driving the ball accurately is a must here with some tight fairways and a player that fits that bill is Abraham Ancer. He showed some very good form last week, including a demolition of Colin Morikawa in the last 16 and while his finishes have perhaps not been where he would want them, he has shown some flashes of his best. This is a course that should get the best out of him and 22/1 odds is a nice price if you fancy him to follow up last week’s nice finish.
Spieth is very tempting, but he has not been at his best to start 2021. To back Spieth you would be looking at his course form which is very good. He has a runner up and 10th place finish to add to that win and it is a course that sets up well for him, but his form including last week where he won just one of his three matches is not where it was a year ago. That win was the culmination of his turnaround in form after coming close seemingly every time he played for weeks before. 16/1 is a little too short to feel comfortable, but there will be plenty out there that will be backing Spieth to defend his title in his home state.
If you want to just back on course form, then it is hard to look past Charley Hoffman, who has a quite frankly ridiculous record around this track. He has a win, three seconds and a third around the Oaks course. There are not many players that have done so well at a tournament with the exception of maybe Tiger Woods. Some places just seem to rejuvenate a player and 70/1 is a decent price to take a chance on somebody if you are looking for a bigger price. His past two starts have seen him miss the cut so it would take some turnaround, but he has not always been in the best form coming to this event and it has never stopped him before.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth tees off on Thursday at 2:09 p.m. ET with Corey Conners and Charley Hoffman. 🔥
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) March 30, 2022
A lot of the real in form players like Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland are skipping this week to prepare for next week. But last week’s Corales Puntacana Championship winner Chad Ramey has been showing something. He is 125/1 to double up after getting a win with just his 16th PGA Tour start. It follows up a 5th place finish at the Puerto Rico Open and that event in particular has often been a good indication of form for this event. He played so well down the stretch and that is great to see from a rookie at this level. It is hard to follow up a win with another, but that experience can only help.
Rory McIlroy is the favourite this week, but 8/1 — half the price of the next player in the market — seems remarkably low. He has played fine in stretches through the early part of 2022, but has rarely put four rounds together as has so often been an issue for him.
Pre-tournament media stops for Rory McIlroy at the Valero Texas Open. pic.twitter.com/yjEidWFdMi
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) March 30, 2022
He has played here just once before and finished as runner up, but you would like to see some more strong points from such a short priced favourite. Tee-to-green he is playing well, but on the greens he is just giving too much away at the moment. He is a player that has always seemed to find a way to get hot on the greens on any given week, and he has shown before that he can win on this type of course, but there are other places that many will want to place their cash this week.
The tournament the week before the Masters can often feel like a bit of an afterthought, particularly with Tiger Woods looking likely to be at Augusta next week, but there are some players in this field that could do with four good rounds to get them ready to go for next week and this could be an important tournament when we start looking for a winner of that incredible tournament.