2012 Valero Texas Open Notes
Dates: April 16-22, 2012
Where: TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course)
Par/Yards: 36-36—72/7,522 yards
2011 Champion: Brendan Steele
FedEx Cup Points: 500 points to the winner
A look back at the 2011 Valero Texas Open
Brendan Steele converted an up and down from behind the green of the 72nd hole to earn the 28-year-old his first victory on the PGA TOUR making him the third rookie to win on TOUR in 2011. Steele completed his final round with 12 straight pars to shoot a 1-under 71 and finish one shot ahead of Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman.
A glance at the field
Seven major championship winners are in the field this week for the Valero Texas Open. Rich Beem (2002 PGA Championship), Ben Curtis (2003 The Open Championship), David Duval (2001 The Open Championship), Retief Goosen (2001, 2004 U.S. Open), Lee Janzen (1993, 1998 U.S. Open), Justin Leonard (1997 The Open Championship) and Shaun Micheel (2003 PGA Championship).
61 TOUR winners accounting for 150 wins led by 12-time winner Justin Leonard and 9¬time winner Stuart Appleby.
Six of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings through the RBC Heritage, includes Johnson Wagner (No.4), John Huh (No. 19), Matt Kuchar (No.21), Kevin Na (No.22), Robert Garrigus (No. 24) and Sang-Moon Bae (No. 25).
World No. 14 Matt Kuchar, No. 16 Jason Day and No. 27 Bo Van Pelt lead a group of five players currently inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Both runner-ups to Brendan Steele, Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman return to TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course.
Past champions of the Valero Texas Open (4): Brendan Steele (2011), Justin Leonard (2007, 2001, 2000),Duffy Waldorf (1999) and Tim Herron (1997).
Player Spotlights Brendan Steele
Brendan Steele’s win in 2011 meant rookies had won back-to-back events on the PGA TOUR (Steele/Valero Texas Open and Charl Schwartzel/Masters) for the first time since 2002 when Jonathan Byrd won the Buick Challenge and Luke Donald won the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
Steele was the 16th first-time winner in the history of the Valero Texas Open: Chick Harbert (1942), Tony Holguin (1953), Mike Souchak (1955), Jay Hebert (1957), Bill Johnston (1958), Harold Henning (1966), Deane Beman (1969), Ben Crenshaw (1973), Terry Diehl (1974), Ron Streck (1978), Bob Estes (1994), Duffy Waldorf (1995), David Ogrin (1996), Bart Bryant (2004) and Eric Axley (2006).
Dating back to 1970, Steele (2011), Eric Axley (2006), Terry Diehl (1974) and Ben Crenshaw (1973) are the only rookies to win the Valero Texas Open.
Steele’s best finish thus far in 2012 was a T5 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Johnson Wagner was voted the PGA TOUR Player of the Month presented by Avis for January thanks to a win at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Wagner also finished T2 at the Humana Challenge and T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Johnson is currently 4th in the FedEx Cup point standings.
Johnson’s best finish in the Valero Texas Open came last year as he finished T15.
Matt Kuchar has had a steady start to the 2012 PGA TOUR season. With a T5 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, a T8 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and a T3 at the Masters Kuchar is sitting at 21 in the FedEx Cup standings. Also Kuchar is currently ranked 14th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Making his first start at the Valero Texas Open Bud Cauley, a Jacksonville, Florida native, is hoping his good play will earn him a spot in the field for THE PLAYERS Championship in May. Cauley is currently ranked 36th in the FedEx Cup standings with finishes of T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T8 at the Shell Houston Open and T13 at the Farmer’s Insurance Open.
J.B. Holmes comes into the week with a few bright spots in 2012 since undergoing brain surgery in 2011 which removed a piece of his skull. Holmes has recorded two top 10’s a T8 at the Northern Trust open and most recently a T8 at the Shell Houston Open.
Holmes finished T11 in last year’s Valero Texas Open.
Current Texas Longhorn Jordan Spieth is in the field on a sponsor’s invite. Spieth is currently ranked No. 2 nationally among Division I men’s college golfers in only eight starts. His first individual collegiate win came at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational. Jordan was the only freshman to compete at the Western Refining All-American Classic where he finished T15.
Spieth, a member of the 2011 Walker Cup team and current member of the Texas Longhorn golf team, makes his Valero Texas Open debut. This will be his fifth career PGA TOUR start with his best finish coming in 2010 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship a T16.
Spieth is a semifinalist (10 players) for the Ben Hogan award, which recognizes the outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer of the year.
The Andrews, Texas native’s best finish of the year is a T26 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Residing in San Antonio, Jimmy Walker, has three top 10’s in 2012 including a T4 at the Northern Trust Open.
The Texas State alum and director of instruction at Onion Creek Club in Austin was the PGA Section Champion and Player of the Year for 2011 earning him an invite into the Valero Texas Open
University of Texas Longhorns
Jordan Spieth (Sophomore) Justin Leonard (1994 Business) Bob Estes
Of the 26 rookies in the 2012 class:
18 of the rookies are under the age of 30
10 of the rookies are 25 or younger.
The youngest rookie is Seung-yul Noh, who will turn 21 in May.
San Diego native J.J. Killeen was the 2011 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year highlighted by backto-back wins at the Utah Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission (last week of July)and the Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha (first week of August).
Double heart transplant recipient Erik Compton earned his PGA TOUR card for 2012 after finishing No. 13 on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2011.
The 26 rookies are divided as such:
Q-School – 11
Nationwide Tour – 12
2011 Non-member money list – 1 (Bud Cauley)
2011 Q-School/Nationwide Major Medical Exemption – 2 (Jamie Lovemark and Joe Affrunti)
TPC San Antonio Notes
For the third consecutive season, the Valero Texas Open will be held at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course. The course was designed by Greg Norman with Sergio Garcia serving as a design consultant.
In 2011 TPC San Antonio ranked 7th in toughest courses played on the PGA TOUR, including courses hosting major championships.
With a scoring average of 4.35 the 474 yard Par 4 9th was ranked the 19th toughest hole on the PGA TOUR in 2011.
Also the first hole was ranked 35th, making it critical to limit mistakes on the front nine at the Oaks Course with two holes on the front nine inside the top 50 toughest holes on TOUR in 2011.
Miscellaneous Valero Texas Open Notes
Since 1960, only Arnold Palmer (1960-1962), Justin Leonard (2000, 2001) and Zach Johnson (2008, 2009) have successfully defended their title at the Valero Texas Open.
In celebration of the 90th anniversary the Valero Texas Open will partner with San Antonio based C.H. Guenther & Son’s Pioneer® Brand to host the Pioneer® Brand Celebrity Cake-Off. There are six teams and each will design a 90th anniversary cake incorporating the tournament’s themes such as the Valero Texas Open’s logo, golf, charity, or the tournament’s three pillars: music, food, and military appreciation. The event will take place Saturday, April 21.
Celebrity Chef, Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes, Charm City Cakes), will serve as the featured Pioneer® Brand Celebrity Judge and will also design his version of the Official 90th Celebration Cake, which will be unveiled following the completion of the Pioneer® Brand Celebrity Cake-Off event on Saturday in the lower lobby of the JW Marriott Resort.
Source: PGA Tour