Golfers on the PGA Tour move to Texas this week to play the Valero Texas Open from TPC San Antonio. The Texas Open is one of the oldest tournaments on Tour but has only been playing at TPC San Antonio since 2010. Any course history before that should be ignored. TPC San Antonio is a 7400+ yard par 72 with four par threes and four par 5s and was designed by Greg Norman is 2009. Supposedly Norman was going through a divorce at the time of making this course and it some what shows in his layout. It is a very long and difficult course. The par 5s are especially long with most being close to 600 yards. Last year it was the second most difficult non major course on Tour.
Off the tee golfers will face narrow tree lined fairways with bunkers in play and water on three holes. “Native areas” will play a big factor on missed drives as Kevin Na famously showed with his 16 on number 9 a few years ago. These “native areas” consist of desert, brush, trees, and rocks. Golfers will need to avoid these areas or get lucky when they do hit into them to succeed this week. The rough is thicker than the last couple of tournaments played but it should not be too much of a hindrance. On approach shots golfers will see average size greens that have multi tiers and a lot of undulation. Like Augusta National, the edges around the greens are closely mowed so many approach shots that just miss will lead to tricky up and downs from different collection areas or bunkers.
The speed of the greens are average with a stimpmeter rating of around 11 and the grass used on the greens is Bermuda grass. The weather usually plays a factor here as high winds are the norm. Looking at the weather forecast as of now, it looks like there will be a lot of rain this week in San Antonio but not much wind. This could make the course play even longer than it already is because of the soft conditions. Make sure to check the forecast as the week moves on to see if there will be any advantages in AM/PM tee times the first two days. One last tidbit on the course. A lot of Australians tend to do well here. In interviews many of them say that TPC San Antonio reminds them of courses back in their home country. This makes sense as Greg Norman designed the course and windy conditions are usually the norm Down Under. Just something to think about while you’re picking your golfers this week.
Looking at the course description above and trends for the course the last few years, a few key stats come to mind. I will be using these stats, current form, and course history to select golfers for my DraftKings lineups this week.
Key Stats For The Course
***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G), which are key stats every week.
Birdie or Better Percentage (BoB%):
Because of the difficulty of the course, bogeys are going to happen. There’s really no way to avoid them unless the weather conditions are pristine. Last year there were only THREE bogey free rounds all week. To counteract these bogeys, golfers will need to make plenty of birdies to contend. Looking at trends since 2010, BoB% is the number 1 correlating stat for golfers finishing in the Top 3. 24/36 that finished T3 or better were inside the Top 82 in this stat for the specific year they finished Top 3.
Par 4 Scoring (P4):
The par 5s are extremely long and even the bombers will have a tough time reaching them in two. This cancels out most of the advantage for golfers who usually play par 5s well. Looking at trends since 2010, it looks like good P4 stats are more important at TPC San Antonio. 26/34 golfers that finished T3 or better were inside the Top 82 for that respective year.
Driving Distance (DD):
If the weather forecast is correct, golfers are going to be looking at soggy soft conditions all week. This will make this long course play even longer. Golfers that hit it far should have a slight advantage. I know some experts will be looking more into Driving Accuracy than DD because of how tight the course is but if you look at the numbers from the Top 3 finishers since 2010 you will see that DD correlates more with a top finish than Driving Accuracy. The median DD stat ranking for golfers that finished in the Top 3 since 2010 is 83. The median Driving Accuracy stat ranking for golfers that finished Top 3 since 2010 is 101. I wouldn’t rule out short hitters as long as they have good proximity stats from 175 yards and up.
Green in Regulation From Off The Fairway (GIROTF):
Only about 55% of all tee shots at TPC San Antonio land on the fairway. This is a very low number. How a golfer does on his approach shots from places other than the short grass will be important this week since there will be a lot of missed tee shots.
***Due to personal time restraints, I will just be listing my favorite golfers for the next two weeks with no write up. I apologize about this and if you have questions about why I like or dislike certain golfers this week, just shoot me a message on Twitter.
High End Picks ($9000 and up)
Matt Kuchar ($10700)-GPP and cash
Brooks Koepka ($10400)-GPP only
Brandt Snedeker ($10300)-GPP only
JB Holmes ($10100)-GPP and cash
Bryson Dechambeau ($9800)-GPP and cash
Charley Hoffman ($9600)-GPP and cash
Jason Kokrak ($9300)-GPP only
Kevin Chappell ($9100)-GPP only
Mid Level Golfers ($7000-$8900)
Brendan Steele ($8800)-GPP and cash
Ryan Palmer ($8500)-GPP and cash
Freddie Jacobson ($8100)-GPP and cash
Chez Reavie ($7700)-GPP only
Si Woo Kim ($7600)-GPP only
Aaron Baddeley ($7400)-GPP and cash
Patrick Rodgers ($7300)-GPP only
Jhonattan Vegas ($7100)-GPP only
Low End Value Picks ($5200-$6900)
Ernie Els ($6900)-GPP only
Lucas List ($6900)-GPP and cash
Johnson Wagner ($6800)- GPP only
John Senden ($6700)-GPP and cash
Matt Jones ($6600)-GPP only
Andrew Loupe ($6500)-GPP only
Seung Yul Noh ($6400)-GPP and cash
Cameron Percy ($6400)-GPP only
Bronson Burgoon ($6100)-GPP only
Ryan Ruffels ($5400)-GPP only
That’s it for this week. For more PGA DFS knowledge check out my Podcast. It’s called Fantasy Golf Degenerates and you can find it on iTunes. I will also be co-hosting a web chat on Slurv.com every Tuesday at 1pm EST so if you have questions you can ask me there. You can also follow me on Twitter for more fantasy golf info! Good luck to everyone this week and hopefully you win big!