This week the PGA Tour moves to Texas (specifically San Antonio), for the Valero Texas Open. With only two weeks until the Masters, anyone desperately wanting to get to Augusta will be desperate for a victory:
The Texas Open is one of the oldest events on the PGA Tour, dating to 1922. The defending champion is Martin Laird, who won by two over Rory McIlroy, when the event was played the week before the Masters. In 2012, Ben Curtis beat Matt Every (last week's winner) and John Huh by two, and in 2011 Brendan Steele beat Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman by one. Other recent winners include Zach Johnson and Adam Scott.
McIlroy is not playing this week, and nor is Scott or Every.
But of those who are, we recommend Johnson, who is always a solid pick no matter the location (OK, maybe not at massive U.S. Open courses). He already has a win and three top-10s this season. He's - as usual - third in driving accuracy and 10th in greens in regulation. He's also sixth in all-around ranking.
Who is Playing
The event has attracted a great field, including Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed.
We do not recommend Mickelson, whose game continues to be all over the place. But we do recommend Walker and Reed, both multiple winners on the PGA Tour this season. Walker is third in strokes gained-putting and 13th in scoring average, while Reed is 29th in strokes gained-putting and ninth in all-around ranking.
Brooks Koepka - Koepka, a European Tour regular, shot a Sunday 69 that moved him up 26 spots to a T26 finish. This week is crucial for Koepka as he is trying to earn enough FedEx Cup points to get special temporary membership. He has 239 points, which puts him 31 shy of the mark of his target (150th on last year's list).
Danny Lee - Lee is one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour after finishing second at the Puerto Rico Open a couple weeks ago. A Sunday 70 at Bay Hill moved him up 20 spots to a T31 finish. For the week, he ranked first in driving accuracy.
Luke Guthrie - Guthrie, who has also played well at times this season, shot a Sunday 71 in really tough conditions at Bay Hill to move up 17 spots to a T35 finish. He ranks 12th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained-putting and 26th in birdie average.