The Valero Texas Open is just about a month away and already some big name players have committed to teeing it up in my hometown this year.
First, Phil Mickelson has decided to give TPC San Antonio another chance after pulling a muscle last year and withdrawing from the tournament in the third round. I’ve lost a lot of respect of Phil over the course of 2014. He didn’t play very well throughout the year and his bad season was capped off with a horrible Ryder Cup experience where he let the world know his displeasure with the captaincy. Either way, Phil Mickelson is a good draw and I’m glad to see him coming back, only because it’s great for San Antonio.
Other names included in the list are Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner and Martin Kaymer. While Jordan has played in San Antonio for the last few years, Jason Dufner has not been to San Antonio since 2008 and Martin Kaymer will be making his first visit to TPC San Antonio.
Along with these three, several other top-30 players will be making their way back to the Alamo City, including Matt Kurchar, Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Bill Horschel.
The Valero Texas Open is really shaping up to be a great event. With four weeks until the tournament kicks off, there’s also rumors of Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan possibly making their way down here, but they weren’t mentioned at the press conference today. Rory showed up two years ago and who knows if he’ll come back again. I know it’s a lost cause to hope, but if Tiger needs more reps before the Masters then maybe he’ll add the Valero Texas Open to his schedule, and we’ll have a big ole’ party down here in San Antonio.
Once again, I’ll be spending the week volunteering at the Valero Texas Open. This will be my fourth year on the course with the players working with the NBC and Golf Channel golf crew. It’s quite fun and I really enjoy getting out on the course each round.
Here’s the actual press release from the Valero Texas Open, with all the early commits to the tournament:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2015
SAN ANTONIO, TX – In conjunction with its annual Media Day this afternoon, tournament officials announced more player commitments including the return of Phil Mickelson, Texan Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, who last competed in San Antonio in 2008, and a first-time appearance by reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer for the 2015 Valero Texas Open, scheduled for March 26-29 at the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
Mickelson will be making his second consecutive start in San Antonio. Last year, the World Golf Hall of Fame member, made the cut on the number after making birdie on his final hole. However, during Saturday’s third round he had to withdraw after playing his 11th hole with a pulled oblique muscle.
“We are excited Phil is coming back to compete against what is quickly becoming one of the strongest fields in recent years,” said the tournament’s Executive Director Larson Segerdahl. “With the addition of Jordan, Martin and several other current TOUR champions there is a nice mix of players who have been here before and players who are coming for the first time. This is an exciting time for the tournament and the San Antonio community.”
Spieth, a Dallas resident, will be making his fourth consecutive start in the Valero Texas Open. The 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year finished 10th here last year and is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.
Kaymer, who won the U.S. Open in Pinehurst last year with a dominating performance, comes to the Valero Texas Open for the first time in his career. The German star also won the 2014 PLAYERS and 2010 PGA Championship and is currently one of four players in the field with multiple major championship wins, including Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington and Mickelson.
Earlier this month, the tournament announced commitments from Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Texan Jimmy Walker, reigning FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, first-timer Graeme McDowell and past champions Zach Johnson, Steven Bowditch, Martin Laird, Ben Curtis, Brendan Steele and Justin Leonard.
In all, there are 12 players in the field who are major champions: Ben Curtis (British Open), Jason Dufner (PGA Championship), Jim Furyk (U.S. Open), Retief Goosen (U.S. Open twice), Padraig Harrington (British Open twice, PGA Championship), Zach Johnson (Masters), Martin Kaymer (PGA Championship, U.S. Open), Justin Leonard (British Open), Graeme McDowell (U.S. Open), Phil Mickelson (three Masters, PGA Championship, British Open), Geoff Ogilvy(U.S. Open) and Mike Weir (Masters).
Tournament officials also announced commitments from two players who have had successful runs of late. Ryan Palmer, who has reached his highest world ranking at No. 28 will be competing in his 12th Valero Texas Open since his rookie year in 2004. Palmer has two top ten finishes in last four starts, including a T2 in Phoenix. Shane Lowry will be competing for the second time since 2013 and is currently ranked 42nd in the world. Lowry is a two-time winner on the European Tour and has accumulated numerous top ten finishes last year, including a 9th in the British Open. He will play in his first Masters Tournament, two weeks after the Valero Texas Open.
Here are the 12 players among the top 30 in the world who are currently scheduled to compete: No.7 Jim Furyk, No. 9 Jordan Spieth, No. 10 Martin Kaymer, No.11 Matt Kuchar, No. 13 Jimmy Walker, No. 18 Billy Horschel, No. 19 Phil Mickelson, No. 21 Graeme McDowell, No. 22 Chris Kirk, No. 23 Zach Johnson, No. 28 Ryan Palmer and No. 30 Kevin Na.
Players have until Friday, March 20 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time to commit to the Valero Texas Open.
Tickets are currently on sale. Please visit ValeroTexasOpen.com for all details.