The 2018 Valero Texas Open takes place this week, and it does so for potentially the final time in the wake of the Masters. This event is expected to move to the week before the first major of 2019, which should help improve future fields with stars who like playing the week before a major championship.
This year's edition will include Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele and Adam Scott and has a sneaky fun list of younger future stars for your viewing pleasure.
Let's take a look at this week's contest.
What: Texas Open | Where: San Antonio, Texas | When: April 19-22
Field and odds
- Sergio Garcia: 14-1
- Charley Hoffman: 18-1
- Luke List: 18-1
- Matt Kuchar: 18-1
- Adam Scott: 25-1
- Kevin Chappell: 25-1
- Xander Schauffele: 25-1
- Ryan Moore: 25-1
Field strength: C+
Garcia provides some pop, but this field is weak otherwise. It does however include a handful of golfers who are annual contenders at TPC San Antonio (more on a few of those shortly).
Three stories to watch
1. Charley Hoffman owns San Antonio: If you thought Hoffman was only a "first two rounds at major championships" kind of guy, you thought wrong. Hoffman owns this course. In eight appearances, he has three top-threes (including a win in 2016) and seven total top 15s. Seven!
Best cumulative score to par in the Texas Open since moving to TPC San Antonio in 2010:— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) April 16, 2018
1. Charley Hoffman -41.....
2. Aaron Baddeley -18
3. Ryan Palmer -17
2. Luke List's quiet rise: Wait, why is Luke List the third-highest favorite for this tournament? is a thing you might be asking yourself right now. What if I told you List, since missing two straight cuts to open the calendar year, has not finished outside the top 26 in a stroke play event in the last three months? He is No. 12 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained and has three top-seven finishes in his last five stroke play events. That's crazy!
"Hopefully next week," List said recently on when his first victory will come. "I'm getting better each opportunity, and I feel like my game has risen to the point where I expect to contend every week. So it's going to happen."
3. Sergio returns: After infamously making a 13 at the par-5 15th in the first round of the Masters, Garcia returns to the course this week at an event he hasn't played in nearly a decade (but did help design!). I'm really intrigued to see how Garcia rolls in a field where he's clearly the best player, especially in the wake of what happened at Augusta. I don't think it will really affect him at all, and neither does he.
"Obviously the Masters, it's massive, it's very important, but it's one week and you can't let one week ruin your whole year," Garcia said. "I am excited to go out and get playing again ... It's one of those things that happens and it's happened to me before and it probably will happen again in the future. That's the nature of golf. There at Augusta it can happen. So it's what it is. I guess at the end of the day I'm excited to come here and keep playing well like I've been playing pretty much all year and see if we can get on a good run."
That list is ... something.
Texas Open picks
|Winner: He's Hoffman-lite here (top five in three of the last five years), and he's coming off a top five at the RBC Heritage last week, too. He's been fairly lousy throughout the season (five missed cuts in 10 events), but I like his (very) recent form overall and history here. Odds: 30-1
|Top 10: I listed all the reasons for picking him above. It's actually somewhat wild that, even in a field that includes Garcia, Hoffman isn't the favorite. If there was ever a horse for a course, Hoffman at this event is it. Odds: 18-1
|Sleeper: A curious number at 45-1 considering he's finished in the top 10 in each of the last three years here. It's true that he's been up and down in 2018, but it would not be surprising whatsoever to see him contend here. Odds: 45-1