Valero Texas Open with a view to the Masters
by ANDREA GUSSONI | VIEW 1253
The PGA Tour remains in Texas and moves from Austin to San Antonio where the Valero Texas Open will be played from March 30 to April 2. The event, which precedes The Masters (April 6-9 in Augusta, USA), will give away 8,900,000 dollars (with first coin of 1,602,000).
Big practically all absent at the TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) where, as far as the world Top 20 is concerned, only the English Tyrrell Hatton will be present, seventeenth.
Texas Open, schedule
Francesco Molinari returns to the field after two rounds of rest.
The only blue in the field, the Turinese will pursue a prestigious result and then present himself at The Masters, where in 2019 he came close to the feat, at best. The captain of the Europe team at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome, the Englishman Luke Donald, also saw him up close.
The title will be defended by the American John Michael Spaun who, in 2022, beat his compatriot Matt Kuchar (now looking for revenge) and the Australian Matt Jones (absent this year) by two blows. After his first exploit on the top US men's circuit, which arrived last week at the Corales Puntacana Championship, Matt Wallace will pursue a new success.
Chance also for the Japanese Hideki Matsuyama. For the winner, if not already qualified, the event will guarantee the last useful invitation for The Masters 2023. The tournament began in 1934 as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament on the initiative of Bobby Jones, who was also the designer of the course with Alister Mackenzie, and Clifford Roberts, a New York investor.
In 1939 the tournament changed its name to the current one and since 1940 it has been held every year in the first full week of April. The best professionals from all over the world participate, as well as amateurs who hold the title of champions of the United States and Great Britain.
The selection criteria are very strict, even more than other majors. This means that the number of participants is around 100, against the approximately 160 of the other major tournaments. In fact, in addition to the past winners of the Masters, the winners of the last five editions of the other majors, of the last three editions of the Players Championship, the first four classified of each major of the previous year (but the first 12 of the last Masters) are admitted.
, the top 50 of the previous year's Official World Golf Ranking and the top 50 of the current year (as of the week preceding the tournament), the qualifiers of the Tour Championship of the previous year and the champions of the Amateur tournaments.
Among the multiple winners of this tournament are Jack Nicklaus, who won it 6 times (most recently in 1986, at the age of 46), and Tiger Woods, who won it 5 times (first in 1997 , at 21 years and 3 months, thus becoming the first black player and the youngest to win in the history of the tournament).
In 2017 Sergio García manages, after having participated in 73 majors without a victory, to win the Masters by beating the English Justin Rose in the playoffs.