For the PGA Tour, this week might be the shortest distance between tournament stops…just a driver, 3-wood and a wedge between events.
Actually, it’s 75 miles between last week’s stop in Austin, TX, and this week’s Valero Texas Open in San Antonio but with the distance the golf ball is flying these days, one never knows.
Well, that will be the distance for the Tour’s top players who teed it up last week in the WGC match play event who will be playing this week.
For those coming in from the off-field event at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, it’s a little different story. Their trip from the Dominican Republic is just a little longer…about 2,000 miles more.
2021 Valero Texas Open Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+2800|
The 144-man field will include around 10 players from last week’s 64-man WGC event and that will certainly give them an edge when it comes to travel times–and betting odds. Whether it gives them an edge in competition is to be determined.
The WGC players each played at least three head-to-head matchups against another player ranked in the top 64 in the world. The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship field faced a 72-hole event–if players made the cut.
Now, is the match play format more conducive to success this week than a straight-up regular event format?
That’s what we’re trying to figure out. And we’re having a tough time crunching numbers to come up with a winner.
And the reasoning is simple as this week’s field, while it’s not as packed with top-ranked players as the WGC event, features plenty of firepower.
If it sounds like we’re waffling, you got us.
Money And FedEx Cup Points Offer Incentive
Here we go. The winner will pocket $1.38 million as well as 500 FedEx Cup points and both of those numbers will have players salivating.
The 2019 winner, Corey Conners (the 2020 event was canceled because of the pandemic) was in last week’s WGC field and will be back to defend his title. It was his first–and only, so far–PGA Tour title but he’s trending in a very positive direction. It was also impressive that he won last year’s event as a Monday qualifier.
But, we’ve got our eyes set on a player who has had great success here.
Charley Hoffman’s Our Pick…Again
Yes, we know…we picked Charley Hoffman last week in the Dominion Republic and he came up short after faltering on Sunday. But Hoffman, at +3000, has great value this week even though he’s been out of the winner’s circle for a long, long time.
But here’s where it gets interesting. His last win came in 2016 at this same Valero Texas Open. Add in the fact he was second to Conners back in 2019 and we’re feeling like his game and attitude are in an ideal spot.
Scheffler And Kuchar Also Deserve A Look
Don’t overlook Scottie Scheffler at +1400 and Matt Kuchar at +5000. But, both come with a caveat of having played until late Sunday last week and coming up just short in search of a WGC crown. How much will they have left in the tank this week?
Scheffler is still on the hunt for his first PGA Tour win, losing to Billy Horschel in the title match of last week’s WGC event. He’s still going to be a crowd favorite (he’s a University of Texas alum) so if anything can get him fired up it will be playing in front of family and friends…again.
Kuchar’s value is solid and he had a couple of statement wins in last week’s WGC event and wound up third. He was T-7 here in 2019 after a so-so T-51 the previous year so he’s moving in the right direction in Texas.
Can Corey Conners Repeat?
Conners, at +2000 this week, didn’t advance into the top 16 at the WGC event but just making it into the event means you’re one of the top 64 players in the world.
To showcase that point, he’s spent the month of March on the first page of the leaderboard. He wound up third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and was seventh at The Players Championship.
Can he repeat? PGA bettors, don’t count him out.