Players that have already qualified for spots in the field at The Masters have two schools of thought this weekend. The first is to play the Valero Texas Open and smooth out any rough edges while racking up some FedEx Cup points and some greenbacks. The second is to rest up, work with coaches, or fix things somewhere else on your own time.
Many players chose the latter.
A very weak field will be on hand at TPC San Antonio for the 2021 Valero Texas Open. Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are a couple of big names up at the top of the odds board, but most of the other household names that are frequently lined among the top 10 or top 15 players in a golf tournament are not in attendance this week.
It makes for a tough handicap, but we’ll sort through it all and do the best we can to find some players to pick and some potential head-to-head and group matchup considerations at BetMGM Sportsbook.
The Odds from BetMGM Sportsbook
(Editor’s Note: After posting, Dustin Johnson withdrew from the event.)
We won’t list every player in the field, but we’ll hit on some notables here. Dustin Johnson is the +650 favorite, followed by Jordan Spieth at +1200 and then Scottie Scheffler and Tony Finau at +1600. Reigning champion from the 2019 version Corey Conners is +2200 along with Hideki Matsuyama. Abraham Ancer is +2800.
Everybody else in this field is +3300 or higher. That includes winner and two-time runner-up Charley Hoffman at +3300. Andrew Landry won here in 2018, but isn’t being given much of a chance at another win with a price of +20000. Kevin Chappell is a past winner here with a big price of +12500. Another former winner is Jimmy Walker with a +30000 price tag.
Not a strong field and a lot of past winners here are not in any kind of recent form.
TPC San Antonio
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio is a Greg Norman design and the re-design came with input from Sergio Garcia, who is not in the field this week as the former Green Jacket winner preps for Augusta National. It is a par 72 that plays long and can play longer depending on the speed and direction of the winds.
When Conners won in 2019, his 20-under score was the best since 2003. Landry’s 2018 win came at 17-under. In the six years prior, the winning score was 12-under or lower, so the winds definitely do play a significant factor here.
These are really large greens. Strokes gained on approach seems like the paramount stat at virtually every golf tournament these days. It’s all about hitting your irons and getting the ball as close as possible to the cup for a one or two-putt to finish the hole.
Who Has Had Success Here?
The most successful player here has been Hoffman with a win in 2016 and two runner-up finishes in 2019 and 2011. He actually had seven straight top-15 finishes, a run that ended the year after his win. Last season’s runner-up makes eight in the top-15 for him, so he fits the bill as a Horse for Course type of guy.
Ryan Moore doesn’t play this event often, but he has finished in the top 20 all four times when he has. Brendan Steele’s price is awfully short this week, but he’s a past winner here with a couple more top-10 finishes. Kevin Streelman has a couple of top-10 outcomes to his name.
We’ll also see Zach Johnson, who has won here twice. Hoffman is a bit more relevant these days than ZJ, but this is definitely an event about managing the course.
Jordan Spieth is likely the biggest name to have had some success here with a runner-up and another top-10, but the native Texan’s price has no value this week.
Who Has Had Recent Success?
Keegan Bradley, who is my favorite pick this week at +6600, has finished in the top-30 in three straight events, including a top-10 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Conners is also in some very good recent form with a top-10 in the Arnold Palmer and some other quality finishes.
Adam Hadwin is a guy you might want to consider in matchups or to win. He’s been inside the top 30 three times lately, including a top-10 at the Honda Classic.
Between the strength of this field and the recent calendar, we have very few guys in top-notch form. We’ve had invitational events and WGC events and most of the guys in this field are either not in those or missed cuts with good fields and hard golf courses.
Valero Texas Open Picks
Keegan Bradley is definitely on the list as an outright pick and would be a good look in matchups as well. He’s eighth in SG: Tee-to-Green this year. The only player higher than that in this field is the tournament favorite, Dustin Johnson.
Hadwin is another guy to look at with his +8000 price at BetMGM. He’s a solid wedge player and has some of the best putting numbers of the guys in this field that are actually decent ball strikers.
A lot of people will bet Matthew NeSmith at +12500. He’s a lot like Corey Conners as a good ball striker, but a bad putter. Conners was a Monday qualifier into this event in 2019, so he had already played the course, but you’ll hear the correlation drawn. He’s not a bad bet, though I prefer the other two. In fact, at +12500, I’d rather look at Luke List instead.