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Rory McIlroy hits from the 4th hole tee during the third round of The Genesis Invitational golf tournament. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
March 30th, 2022
Twenty golfers slated to compete in next week's Masters will get one final tuneup at TPC San Antonio in the 2022 Valero Texas Open.
Among those 20 is Rory McIlroy, who will play a tournament the week prior to the Masters for the first time in eight years. The Irishman will enter as the +850 favorite among the 144-player Texas Open field and will be joined by defending champion Jordan Spieth (+1600), Corey Conners (+1600), who placed third in last week's WGC Match Play event, last year's Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama (+1800), and Bryson DeChambeau (+2500).
This year's Texas Open will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the event — the eighth oldest professional golf tournament in the world — and will mark the 12th year it has been hosted at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.
Let's further explore the TPC San Antonio design and look at key course notes as we make our best picks for the 2022 Valero Texas Open.
Opened in 2010, TPC San Antonio includes two courses: the Pete Dye-designed AT&T Canyons and the Oaks Course, which was designed by two-time major winner Greg Norman, in consultation with Sergio Garcia.
The par-72, 7,438-yard Oaks layout is long, with a mix of wide and narrow tree-lined fairways, forgiving rough, more than 70 bunkers, three water hazards, and Bermudagrass greens that average 6,400 square feet.
Putting the finishing touches on The Oaks course for next week's @valerotxopen. Thanks to the TPC San Antonio Agronomy Team! pic.twitter.com/0gs0G69tFg— TPC San Antonio (@TPCSanAntonio) March 22, 2022
Putting the finishing touches on The Oaks course for next week's @valerotxopen. Thanks to the TPC San Antonio Agronomy Team! pic.twitter.com/0gs0G69tFg
Weather can be a major factor at this event, which has played in calm winds in only four out of 36 rounds since 2012. The top wind speed in this weekend's forecast is 15 mph on Sunday, while Thursday and Saturday should see fairly calm, 8-to-9 mph winds.
The previous three winners ranked in the top three in strokes gained tee to green the week of their win and were top four in strokes gained approaching the green and top 10 in putting: birdie or better percentage.
Driving distance has proven more beneficial than accuracy at this tournament. Spieth ranked 49th in driving accuracy the week of his win in 2021, and five of the 11 golfers tied for the top 10 ranked outside the top 50 in that statistic.
Four of the five most recent winners at the Valero Texas Open finished in the top 30 the year before their win, so we'll look at experience at TPC San Antonio, in addition to strokes gained approaching the green, strokes gained tee to green, birdie or better percentage, and par-4 scoring to narrow down our best bets.
Based on the above criteria, one player to eye is Adam Hadwin (+3500), who placed 23rd at this tournament a year ago. The 34-year-old Canadian has been in top form lately, with a seventh-place finish in his most recent start at the Valspar Championship, and a ninth-place finish at The Players Championship.
Featured Groups for this week's @ValeroTXOpen:🏌 McIlroy🏌 Kuchar🏌 Day⛳️ Spieth⛳️ Conners⛳️ Hoffman🏌 List🏌 DeChambeau🏌 Woodland⛳️ Fowler⛳️ Palmer⛳️ Brehm🏌 Ramey🏌 Swafford🏌 Matsuyama⛳️ Finau⛳️ Ancer⛳️ Snedeker pic.twitter.com/daulMcuJv2— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 29, 2022
Featured Groups for this week's @ValeroTXOpen:🏌 McIlroy🏌 Kuchar🏌 Day⛳️ Spieth⛳️ Conners⛳️ Hoffman🏌 List🏌 DeChambeau🏌 Woodland⛳️ Fowler⛳️ Palmer⛳️ Brehm🏌 Ramey🏌 Swafford🏌 Matsuyama⛳️ Finau⛳️ Ancer⛳️ Snedeker pic.twitter.com/daulMcuJv2
Hadwin also ranks 16th on Tour in greens in regulation percentage, 25th in strokes gained approaching the green, and 32nd in strokes gained tee to green. With the winner of the Texas Open earning a spot in next week's Masters, if not already qualified, Hadwin will be especially eager to top the leaderboard.
An intriguing longer shot to watch is Luke List (+5500). The 37-year-old was forced to withdraw from The Players in mid-March because of a neck injury and will make his return to the PGA Tour at TPC San Antonio, where he landed 17th at the Texas Open in 2021.
List ranks first on Tour in strokes gained tee to green, fifth in greens in regulation percentage, 13th in strokes gained approaching the green, and 27th in birdie or better percentage.
If his health is back to full strength, he should be able to expertly navigate this course and improve upon last year's finish. While he's already in next week's Masters field because of his win at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, List will want to finish strong at TPC San Antonio to get his confidence back on track before tackling the first major of the year.
The winner of the 2022 Valero Texas Open will receive 500 FedEx Cup points and $1.386 million of a $7.9 million purse.
You can catch all the action on the following days and times:
2022 Valero Texas Open course notes and pick
2022 Corales Puntacana Championship course notes and pick
2022 Valspar Championship course notes and pick