This is it, folks – the final tune-up before the season’s first major, the Masters.
While everyone is eagerly anticipating another thrilling week at Augusta National, there’s business to take care of first at TPC San Antonio – AT&T Oaks with the Valero Texas Open. And for 128 players in the field not already exempt, a victory would mean a last-minute invitation to the Masters.
Andrew Landry returns as the defending champion, along with the likes of Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, and Jordan Spieth.
Our caddies on the ground have identified the players they expect to perform well in San Antonio. To protect their identity, the caddies have made their respective picks anonymously.
Here are the players they like in the Lone Star State…
- Jimmy Walker. “The 2016 PGA Champion at Baltusrol, Walker picked up the fifth of his six PGA Tour wins right here at the Valero Texas Open in 2015. It hasn’t been a great season for him yet, but when you look at his recent track record here – the win in 2015, T13 in 2017, fourth last year – it just feels right picking him here in his home state of Texas.”
- Joel Dahmen. “Dahmen can be a streaky player. Lately, that streak has been a solid one with two T12 finishes in his last three starts – The Players and last week in the Dominican. That little run started after four consecutive missed cuts. It looks like he’s on a roll right now. He’s the type of player you want to ride when things are good.”
- Austin Cook. “Played well at Valspar with a T9 and his game seems to be rounding into form. This difficult golf course seems to be one that could fit his game nicely.”
- Billy Horschel. “Oh, Billy boy! Having a nice season and putting solidly, on a course that requires toughness. He’s up high on the odds list and his Texan caddie will surely keep him pointed forward as usual.”
- Austin Cook. “Austin put himself in the mix a few weeks back in Tampa for the first time since becoming a father. He has proven to be streaky once he gets his feet under him and surely would relish following up his fellow Arkansas teammate and last year’s winner Andrew Landry into a pair of cowboy boots.”
- Seamus Power. “You’d make a small fortune if you cashed a winning Power ticket this week. Seamus has started to play better of late after a lackluster start to the season and the Irishman will welcome the windy and fast conditions at TPC.”
- Rickie Fowler. “It’s the final tune-up before what I believe will be a great major season for Rickie. He’s knocked on the door many times at majors with nine top 10s, including three runner-up finishes. San Antonio is a solid course for him to build confidence before taking that drive down Magnolia Lane. His outstanding ball-striking will benefit him around TPC San Antonio.”
- Abraham Ancer. “It’s a home-course advantage for a player who in the past 12 months has become a well-rounded complete player. In his last stroke-play event – The Players – I finished T12. I see Abe having a breakthrough win this week in front of family and friends.”
- Sungjae Im. “At this point in the season, he has proven that his stellar Web.com Tour season last year was no fluke. He’s the real deal and will be a top-10 player in the world within a year in my mind… I can’t see Sungjae having a bad week anywhere, especially at a course that puts a premium on the short game. Sidebar: His short game is the best I’ve seen on tour.”