Phil, Zach set for Texas tussle
The Texas Open is one of the oldest tournaments on the yearly PGA Tour schedule, dating all the way back to 1922.
Played at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course the last few years, the latest venue of many, and now billed as the Valero Texas Open, the event has a long and proud history.
Eleven-time major champion Walter Hagan lifted the trophy back in 1923, the likes of Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead dominated during the 40s and Arnold Palmer picked up three consecutive wins between 1960 and 1962.
Recent champions include Zach Johnson, who picked up back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009, Adam Scott, who won the following year, and Scotsman Martin Laird, who is this year’s defending champion.
Johnson and Laird are back in the field this year and will be ones to watch in a week where many of the world’s best are choosing to sit out.
Headlining the field is Phil Mickelson, whose attendance was gleefully confirmed by tournament organisers last week.
Mickelson hasn’t had too much success so far in 2014, but he’s still been installed as a joint 18/1 favourite week alongside two-time champ Johnson. He is coming off a top 20, but must contend with a course he hasn’t played since 1992.
Others to watch this week include Matt Kuchar (20/1), Jordan Spieth (20/1) and Jimmy Walker (22/1), while Texas native Ryan Palmer (28/1) is coming off a T8 at the Sony Open and runner-up finishes at the Humana Classic and the Honda Classic, and will be going all out in front of his home crowds as he looks to secure Masters qualification.
Veteran Jim Furyk (25/1) is also fancied. In his Texas Open debut last year, Furyk was under par for every round on the way to a T3 finish. He also has three top 25s to his name this season.
TPC San Antonio boasts two championship courses, the AT&T Canyons Course designed by Pete Dye, and the AT&T Oaks Course, designed by Greg Norman with Tour Player Consultant Sergio Garcia.
It’s the Oaks course that will host the action this week, a 7,435-yard par 72 that features four lengthy par-5s that players must try and use to their full advantage.
Problem is, they’re all tough birdie chances, and their greens are notoriously difficult to find in two. Part of the reason for that is the prevailing San Antonio winds which seldom offer players any respite.
The tournament should be treated to dry conditions and sunny skies for most of the week, though thunderstorms could make an appearance on Thursday.
Ryder Cup golfer Thorbjorn Olesen grabbed woman’s breast on flight, court told
Thorbjorn Olesen is said to have been drinking and taking sleeping pills on the flight from the US to the UK.
Collin Morikawa throws away big lead as Viktor Hovland wins Hero World Challenge
Hovland began the day six shots off the pace but carded a closing 66 at Albany to secure his third title of the season.
Rory McIlroy: Players want to know where they stand amid golf’s power struggle
The Northern Irishman was speaking ahead of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
Tiger Woods says he is ‘lucky to be alive’ after crash but has ‘long way to go’
The 45-year-old 15-time major winner was in pain throughout as he addressed his first press conference since February’s crash.
Tiger Woods rules out full-time return to golf after serious car crash
The 45-year-old required surgery on open fractures to his lower right leg after the single-vehicle accident in February.
Lee Elder, the first black player to compete in the Masters, dies aged 87
Elder joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an honorary starter at Augusta National just over seven months ago.
Suzann Pettersen lands ‘dream’ job as Solheim Cup captain
The Norwegian will be going for a hat-trick of Europe wins after taking over from Catriona Matthew.
Lee Westwood rules himself out of contention for 2023 Ryder Cup captaincy
Westwood says he cannot commit fully to the role while he is still competitive as a player.
Collin Morikawa wins Race to Dubai as Rory McIlroy’s frustrations boil over
The Northern Irishman appeared to rip his shirt open in the recording area behind the 18th green.
Tiger Woods shares footage of him hitting balls as rehab continues
Woods was injured in a car accident in February.