2022 Valero Texas Open Betting Preview


With only a week to go before the year’s first major, the PGA Tour assembles this week in San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. It is always an eclectic mix that makes up a field a week prior to a major — those looking to simply prep and create good swing thoughts in competition and those vying at a last opportunity to win and qualify to play at Augusta National. 


The tournament is played at TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course), which has been the host since 2010 and habitually plays as one of the toughest courses on the regular tour schedule (relative to par). It is a par 72 (7,435 yards), boasting one of the longest sets of par 5s on tour. More difficulty also arises due to the nature of Texas golf and playing in wind, combined with the large amount of native area golfers can find if they stray too far from the fairway. Couple that with the exceptionally long par 5s that reduce the normal number of birdies and you’re left with tougher scoring conditions. Three of the four par 5s regularly play to 600 yards, which leads to golfers facing more shots over 200-plus yards than average and making it difficult for shorter hitters to safely go for the green on what would normally be scoring holes at most courses. Going for the green on par 5s at the Oaks Course has one of the lowest rates all year, and often ranks inside the top-five most difficult to hit the green while doing so. All of this leads to more layups and pars instead of birdies but does give an advantage to the longest hitters in the field. 

Another advantage for distance off the tee is the minor difference in scoring from fairway to rough; the difference has only been +0.159 strokes over three years (not the native area/brush) as well as having the smallest difference in GIR% between fairway and rough. This isn’t to say distance is the ultimate game changer here, but it is preferred to accuracy OTT. 

Valero Texas Open Outrights

The field is a bit of a mixed bag, on the lighter side of top end talent — Rory McIlroy is the headliner as he continues his career experiment in prepping for The Masters, followed by last year’s winner Jordan Spieth, defending Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and a half-healthy Bryson DeChambeau. I’m not interested in the market numbers posted and would tend to lean more toward Abraham Ancer or Corey Conners, but their results last week were impressive, and the market reacted with openers that seem fair but I can’t back. Instead, I’ll skip down to back prolific winner, Keegan Bradley 40/1 (eyeroll). 

This will be my second time backing Bradley in three weeks, and if you’re not aware, an antonym for prolific would be a more accurate way to describe Bradley’s “winning.” There is nothing new to be said – you know what you’re getting with Bradley 99% of the time. Even factoring in his woeful putting, the 40/1 seems a small bargain. Over the last month, the putting hasn’t been as bad as usual and perhaps that’s a poor sign for things to come as I doubt after years of trying, he’s finally found the cure but his approach and driving play is as good as ever so the off chance he can continue to simply be average on the greens should put him in another spot on the leaderboard. Simply put, I have him closer to 25/1, which is a testament to field strength more than my love for Bradley. 


Perhaps Chris Kirk (40/1) didn’t capitalize on a chance to win during this most recent stretch of form, but even in his missed cut at The Players his iron play continued to shine while struggling on and around the greens. Like Bradley, Kirk seems allergic to winning on the PGA Tour, having not done so since 2015, (much has happened off the course since, and one win on KFT) this is one last shot at his form and skill. In all likelihood I’m probably giving him too much credit but again, I believe my numbers are more a product of this field. Not heavily factored in, his history here is appealing at least with two top-10s in his last three attempts, and overall having finished inside the top 15 in four of seven tries (dating to 2011). What he lacks in driving distance will have to be made up with iron play, which Kirk has been doing, and he is likely to clean up any missed greens with relative ease. It’s not a massive edge, but I do think he should be closer to 30/1 so we can take the 1% difference and cross our fingers. 

The last golfer who caught my eye on my initial run was Jhonattan Vegas 55/1. He was my favorite last week in Puerto Rico and finished with a respectable T4, however now moving to a course that may not suit quite as well, with a strong field, I still think he should be closer to 35/1 (compared to last weeks 14/1). Vegas has never had a great result at the Oak’s Course, with his best finish T30 in 2019, with nothing in particular standing out as to why. His distance and approach play should be an advantage but perhaps missing too many greens will cause him to stumble with his so-so touch around the green (and that is a generous description). Overall, he has the tools to be successful here, despite the results, and he will need to hit an above average number of greens to keep his chipping from sinking his ship this week. 

For all on my picks for the Valero Texas Open, as well as the LPGA’s first major, the Chevron Championship, head over to the Bet Tracker. Good luck this weekend.

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