Valero Texas Open Tournament Notes - 2014

image2014 Valero Texas Open pre-tournament notes
Dates: March 24-30, 2014
Where: San Antonio, Texas
Course: TPC San Antonio
36-36—par 72/7,435 yards
Field size: 144
2013 champion: Martin Laird
Purse: $6,200,000 ($1,116,000/winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Twitter: @valerotexasopen

Martin Laird at the 2013 Valero Texas Open

  • Martin Laird couldn’t manage to break 70 in the first three rounds (70-71-70), but following birdies on his last three holes in the final round, the Scotsman tied the TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) course record with a 9-under 63 to win by two strokes over Rory McIlroy.
  • With the win, Laird earned the final spot into the following week’s Masters Tournament, the first player to gain such entry since Johnson Wagner in 2008 when he won the Shell Houston Open the week before Augusta.
  • Laird’s win also snapped a streak of 16 straight by an American on TOUR, dating to Tommy Gainey’s win at 2012 McGladrey Classic. He also became just the third international-born player since 1970 to win the Valero Texas Open (Adam Scott/2010, Nick Price/1992).
  • Laird’s victory in San Antonio was his third on the PGA TOUR (2009 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational).
  • Following his win in San Antonio last year, Laird went on to claim T5 honors at THE PLAYERS Championship and T21 at the U.S. Open. Laird would make it through the first two events in the FedExCup Playoffs events and end the season ranked 74th in the standings.
  • In eight stroke-play starts so far this season, Laird’s only missed cut came in his first start of the season, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. His best finish entering the Arnold Palmer Invitational was a T19 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
  • Notes on the field
    • San Antonio resident Jimmy Walker, who has led the FedExCup points race for 17 of the 18 weeks thus far in 2013-14, collected his first three PGA TOUR wins (Frys.com Open, Sony Open in Hawaii, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) in just eight starts to start the season.
      • He became just the fourth player to win three times in eight or fewer starts to begin a season over the last 20 years, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval.
      • The Baylor graduate leads the race for the FedExCup title with 1,872 points, 529 points ahead of Patrick Reed. Walker will be making his ninth start in the Valero Texas Open this year, with a T3 in 2010 his best finish.
    • Forty-two time PGA TOUR winner and World Golf Hall of Fame Member Phil Mickelson will make his second start in the Valero Texas Open this week. Mickelson previously finished T47 at Oak Hills CC in 1992, just his 11th professional start on the PGA TOUR.
      • Among his 42 TOUR wins are four from the state of Texas (1996 HP Byron Nelson Championship, 2000/2008 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and 2011 Shell Houston Open).
      • Mickelson’s most recent win on TOUR is the 2013 Open Championship, his fifth major championship title.
    • The 2008 and 2009 Valero Texas Open champion Zach Johnson, who sits ninth in the FedExCup standings, will return to this year’s Valero Texas Open for the fourth time and first since 2010 (MC).
      • An 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Johnson has claimed four wins in the state of Texas (2010, 2012 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial).
      • Johnson claimed his 11th TOUR title the first week of January at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
    • 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth will make his third consecutive start in this week’s Valero Texas Open.
      • The former Texas Longhorn missed last year’s cut and finished T41 in his first start at TPC San Antonio in 2012 as an amateur.
      • En route to Rookie of the Year honors in 2013, Spieth collected nine top-10 finishes, three runner-ups and his first PGA TOUR win (John Deere Classic).
      • Spieth followed appearances in all four FedExCup Playoffs events with a Captain’s pick spot on the Presidents Cup Team, where he went 2-2-0. So far this season, Spieth has amassed three top-5 finishes in nine starts.
    • World Golf Hall of Fame Member Ernie Els is poised to make his second appearance at this week’s Valero Texas Open. Following rounds of 72-67-69-68—276 (-12), Els finished T3 in 2010.
      • The 19-time PGA TOUR winner makes a return to the state of Texas this week 20 years after claiming his only other Texas tournament title, the 1995 HP Byron Nelson Championship.
      • Els has made six starts on the PGA TOUR this season, with a fourth-place finish at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play
        Championship his best showing.
      • Els comes to TPC San Antonio this week in search of his first win since the 2012 Open Championship.
    • Jim Furyk joined an elite group at last year’s BMW Championship when he posted a second-round, 12-under 59.
      • The only others to post the elusive score on the PGA TOUR are Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby.
      • Furyk, who finished T3 in San Antonio last year, will be making his third Valero Texas Open start this week (T15/1994). Furyk comes to San Antonio this week in search of his first win since the 2010 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, which clinched the seasonlong FedExCup title.
    • European Tour members Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein. The former Florida State All-America Koepka has won four times on the Challenge Tour and plays full-time on the European Tour.
    • Uihlein, the former U.S. Amateur winner while playing at Oklahoma State, won the Madeira Islands Open in 2013.
    • Jeff Maggert became the 17th player to win his Champions Tour debut last week at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak, edging Billy Andrade by a stroke for his first win since the 2006 FedEx St. Jude Classic.

      Tournament notes

    • Players in the Valero Texas Open with Texas collegiate connections:
      • University of Texas – Jordan Spieth, Harrison Frazar, Justin Leonard, Jhonattan Vegas
      • TCU – J.J. Henry
      • Lamar University – Chris Stroud
      • Texas Lutheran University – Cameron Beckman
      • Texas A&M – Bobby Gates, Jeff Maggert, Ryan Palmer
      • Baylor University – Jimmy Walker
    • 2014 marks the fifth consecutive year of the Valero Texas Open being contested at TPC San Antonio Oaks Course. TPC San Antonio was designed by Greg Norman, with Sergio Garcia as design consultant.
    • Since 1970, there have only been three international winners of the Valero Texas Open, two of whom emerged since 2010. Before Adam Scott (2010) and Martin Laird (2013), one has to go all the way back to 1992 when Nick Price beat Steve Elkington in sudden death at Oak Hills CC.
    • Dating back to 1922, Valero Texas Open is the third-oldest non-major on the PGA TOUR calendar behind only the BMW Championship (1899) and RBC Canadian Open (1904). It’s also the longestrunning event on the PGA TOUR to be held in the same city.
    • Together with the Benefit for Children, the Valero Texas Open has raised $86 million for local and regional charities – $81.5 million of that since 2002 when Valero became the tournament’s title sponsor.
    • The Valero Texas Open has embarked on its “Drive to $100 million” campaign to help promote the tournament’s charitable giving efforts

      SOURCE: PGA TOUR

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