The PGA Tour’s ‘Florida Swing’ is now over as the players, caddies, media and tour busses descend on San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. This is an important tournament for many players in the field who are heading off to Augusta in two weeks as they try to iron out any faults in their game in time for the first Major of the year.
The par-72 course was designed by Greg Norman with some consultancy from current PGA Tour player Sergio Garcia. It is a demanding 7,435 yards off the back tees but the distance challenge will play second fiddle to the task facing the players in terms of accuracy and course management. There are some formidable lies facing anybody who strays off line. Back in 2011, Kevin Na found himself in one of the rocky areas off the fairway on the par-four ninth and took a ruinous 16 shots to get down. Therefore, the winner is likely to have to remain patient, taking their opportunities at select points around the course.
One player who almost always remains patient is Zach Johnson. The eleven-time winner on tour has made the most out of a game that does not include great power. Instead he relies on strategy and a high count of both fairways found and greens in regulation. Johnson goes into this week at odds of 25/1 with Coral which is a very good price. Take that offer at each-way terms as a top five finish is well within his reach.
Another player who looks to avoid danger wherever possible is Matt Kuchar. Kuchar spoke recently about the work he has done with his swing coach Chris O’Connell. The pair have worked on keeping club face closed therefore reducing risk and eliminated all but one miss. Knowing where you miss is a huge advantage on tricky courses and will help Kuchar immensely this week. He will go off at 25/1 with BetVictor which is a very tempting price indeed.
Two of the most in-form players in the world at the moment are at the top of the outright market for the Valero Texas Open. Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson have won in recent weeks and are both in with a shot of adding to those wins this week. Johnson (10/1 with Bet365) has never played at TPC San Antonio before but his game is in such great shape that he will be confident playing anywhere. Spieth (8/1 generally) is a Texas native who has just become the third youngest player to win multiple events on the PGA Tour. They may not offer great value but a win for either would be no surprise.
The final player to look at this week is Jim Furyk. It has been too long since Furyk won on the PGA Tour although he has gone into a number on Sunday’s with the lead. Unfortunately for one reason or another those leads have disappeared, but Furyk has played well this season and has finished third and sixth in his previous two Texas Opens. Betfred are going 20/1 that Furyk will go better than that this week; taking him at each-way terms will guarantee profit should he finish in the top five.