Culp's Corner

Valero Texas Open Preview

by Josh Culp
Updated On: March 27, 2023, 5:07 pm ET

The PGA TOUR has already provided plenty of drama this season but we haven't even reached the first major of the year. 

It's likely a product of the new designated events as we're seeing so many more events with all the top names in attendance. 

This week's Valero Texas Open won't be one of those designated events but it certainly has some fantasy-friendly names that are trying to tune up their game ahead of the Masters or play there way into the event with a win this week. 

The Course

TPC San Antonio is the host course this week. It's a Greg Norman design that has been playing that role since the 2010 edition. 

Looking at the scorecard, we see a par 72 that stretches to 7,438 yards. 

Diving into the hole-by-hole view, we see four par 5s with three of them playing over 590 yards. Three of them have a birdie rate of 30 percent or less which is well below the TOUR rate for par 5s which is closer to 45 percent. So, there are no easy buckets at TPC San Antonio, despite it being a par-72 layout with four par 5s. 

Keeping the ball in play is of utmost importance because there is rocky terrain if you miss too far offline, which can lead to some big numbers if you don't play it safe. 

The deep greenside bunkers put an emphasis on short game. 

The greens are bermudagrass that were overseeded with poa trivialis. The Director of Course Operations did note that some warmer weather in the last few months has allowed for some of that bermudagrass to wake up early. That puts it in a gray area for all of the stat nerds trying to plug in performance on a particular grass type. 

Lastly, we are in Texas so Mother Nature is always one of the key defenses for the course. We'll check on that in a bit. 


Course Quotes

Sifting through some past quotes, let's try to break down the course to see how it will play.

Joel Dahmen in 2021: "You have to drive the ball in play out here. The fairways are somewhat wide, but if you miss the fairways you're in trouble."

Jordan Spieth in 2019: "Both sides of every hole has all those trees and cactus and rocks and stuff. When there's no wind like this, that's a pretty big miss, but when the wind starts to blow, that comes into play more."

Matt Kuchar in 2022: "The trouble that lies around here can really cost you a big number and hurt your round significantly. So I enjoy when accuracy is a little bit more of a premium than other places."

A position-based course with an emphasis on patience. 

Correlated Courses

Using historical data we can look at overperformance and underperformance at this week's host course and compare that to all of the courses played out on TOUR. Here are the ones that shared a lot of overlap: 

Waialae CC
Pebble Beach Pro-Am Rota
Innisbrook Resort
Colonial CC
Muirfield Village

These courses don't put a premium on power. 


The Weather

Thursday: Rain is possible with a high of 74 degrees. Winds at 13 to 18 MPH, gusts up to 30 MPH. 

Friday: Cloudy with a high of 79 degrees. Winds at 12 to 17 MPH, gusts up to 30 MPH. 

As you'd expect in Texas, the winds are set to arrive early and often this week. 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.