04.19.17 | Kevin W.

The Course

Hosting the Valero Texas Open for the seventh year in a row is the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. The course was designed by Greg Norman in 2009 and the facility opened for play in 2010. The semi-private course averages around 30,000 rounds a year and is playable to the public if you stay at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort. The course will play at 7,435 yards to a par-72. The course is almost a whole par-four longer than Harbour Town. Besides the Oak Course, TPC San Antonio is also home to the Canyons Course designed by Pete Dye. The Canyons Course has hosted the AT&T Championship in the past.

The Super

Hosting the event this year is Thomas R. Lively, Director of Golf Course Operations, who has been at the course for nine years now. He is a transplant from Chicago where he got his start in the golf industry as a caddie before moving over to the maintenance department. Lively is an alumnus of Michigan State where he earned an associate degree in Turfgrass Mangement graduating in 1982. He manages 50 employees regularly and has an extra 15 come in as tournament volunteers. He previously worked as the Director of Golf Course Operations at Medinah Country Club, from 2001-2008, where he hosted the 2006 PGA Championship. He also was the superintendent at Ruth Lake Country Club from 1988-2001 and before that Ridge Country Club from 1986-88. He started as an assistant at Butler National Golf Club from 1981-1986. 

The Grass

Tees: Bermudagrass overseeded w/ Poa trivialis | 0.300" | Avg. 2,000 sq. ft.

Fairways: Bermudagrass overseeded w/ rye and fescue | 0.450" | 21 acres

Greens: Bermudagrass overseeded w/ Velvet bentgrass & Poa trivialis | 0.115" | Avg. 6,400 sq. ft.

Rough: Bermudagrass overseeded w/ rye and fescue | 2.5" | 35 acres

Other:  54 bunkers | 2 water hazards | well water | sand cap soil conditions | Stimpmeter 11.5'

The Tournament

The Valero Texas Open is one of the tour's oldest tournaments and was first played 95-years ago in 1922 which makes it the sixth-oldest event. The purse for this year's event is $6.2 million and the winner will receive a nice $1.116 million dollar payday. The players are not the only ones to benefit finically from the tournament which is the annual leader in charitable giving. The 72-hole scoring record is held by Tommy Armour III who set it at 254 back in 2003. Side note I once was a caddy in a ProAm group where he was the pro and he's a pretty cool guy, he also owns a Tequila company with George Clooney now. For the Arnold Palmer note of the week, he once had a three-peat at the tournament from 1960-1962. Two players have had two-peats at the event Bill Mehlhorn  (1928-29) and Zach Johnson (2008-09). The Valero has added the award of cowboy boots for the winner as have many tournaments in Texas in recent years.

The Favorites

Defending champion Charley Hoffman is back in action after his best effort ever at Augusta two weeks ago now. His record at the Valero speaks for its self 13-2-13-3-11-11-W. In total, he has nine top-15 finishes and has never missed the cut. He will start the tournament at +1,800 to win.

Kevin Chappell who had a quiet top-ten finish at the Masters has a good track record at the Oak course. He finished in fourth place last year and he was the runner-up in 2011. Chappell is still looking for his first tour win. He will open this week at +2,200 to win

Coming off a third-place finish at the RBC is Ollie Schniederjans, another young player still looking for a win on the big tour. He's a decent pick this week with odds at +2,800 to win.

One player, you should avoid betting on is Ian Poulter who needs a top-30 finish or better to make $31,000 so he can retain his tour card. He came up a stroke short last week when he shot a 73 on Sunday costing him the needed payday. Personally, he's not my favorite player but watching him struggle every week is better than sending him back to Europe. He opens at +7,000 to win.

Others: Kuchar +1,800 | Steele +2,200 | Koepka +2,200 | B. Grace +2,500 | R. Palmer +2,800 | K. Bradley +5,00

The Weather

Thursday | 77 | Partly Cloudy | 11 mph

Friday | 76 | Partly Cloudy | 13 mph

Saturday | 61 | Overcast | 19 mph

Sunday | 62 | Clear | 12 mph

The Coverage

Thursday & Friday | 3:30-6:30 Golf Channel

Saturday & Sunday | 1:00-2:30 Golf Channel | 3:00-6:00 CBS Sports