Tournament Dates: May 13th 16th, 2010
Where: TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) San Antonio, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
By Evergreen of Predictem.com
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Old meets new this week on the PGA Tour as the Valero Texas Open, one of the longest running events on Tour, makes it way to a new venue. The Greg Norman designed Oaks course at TPC San Antonio will host the event that started simply as the Texas Open in 1922 with some of the greats of the game among the winners of this historic tournament. Zach Johnson is the two-time defending champion of the event, but its anyones guess who will come out on top at the new track. Johnson will have to fend off a strong field to make it three in a row with Ernie Els and former three time champion Justin Leonard among those in attendance.
The Oaks course, like Texas itself, is big. The tournament officials have elected to let the course play at or very near to her full length of 7,522 yards to showcase the potential of the layout. Norman chose to make driving a key in playing well as many fairways are lined with trees as well as very large bunkers. The greens may be easy to hit given their size, but they are reportedly very undulated and the falloffs the chipping areas are like those you will find at any Major. Its hard to gauge just who has the advantage here on paper, but you have to give a nod to those who can find the fairway with at least good length and finding the right spot on the greens will also be key.
Each week, we take a look at the offshore sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we like to win it all. Well pick a short, middle and long odds golfer for the win and breakdown a couple head to head matches that you can find at most online bookies. Here are our picks for the 2010 Valero Texas Open.
Short Favorite: Ernie Els (11 to 1 odds to win)
Zach Johnson would own this spot if we were still at La Cantera but the change in venue makes Els nearly everyones favorite, including ours. The #1 player on the Money and FedEx list comes in with two wins already in 2010 with seven other finishes in the top-25 against only one missed cut. Ernie has always been long enough to handle but his 34th best GIR% looks good here as well. Els currently owns the 8th best birdie average per round and is 2nd in scoring average and will likely close it out if he is in position on Sunday with the 4th best final round scoring mark.
Middle of the Road: Bo Van Pelt (20 to 1 odds to win)
Bo is normally in the 30 to 1 or higher group but some hot play of late has earned him some respect with the oddsmakers. Van Pelt was having a pretty average season with a few top-25s as his best finishes but the last three weeks have seen him in the top-5 in each. Second in total driving and 5th in greens hit is a good recipe for success anywhere, but is almost necessary when the course in unfamiliar. Bo enters the week as the best ballstriker on Tour and knows how to score on a variety of holes with top-15 ranks in both par-4 and par-5 birdie or better percentages.
Longshot: Charley Hoffman (33 to 1 odds to win)
Its been a rough year for Charley to this point with just five made cuts in nine starts and even when he has made it, a final round scoring average of 74+ has eliminated any chance a good finish. His T22 at the PLAYERS last week was marred by a 77 on Sunday but there is reason to believe he can turn it around. Hoffmans 21st rank in driving distance will play big this week, but he is also solid in finding the short stuff and ranks 26th in total driving. A GIR% that is 56th on Tour is good enough for the 34th best ballstriking stat, making his tee to green game one of the most balanced on Tour. The putter has let him down so far, but the greens arent lightning fast at the Oaks which should help him give the birdies putts a run.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite online sportsbook for single round matches and prop bets.
Chad Campbell (-115) v. Sergio Garcia (-115) (Campbell)
The match makers found the two worst putters in the event and paired them here as neither player has had any luck on the greens this year. Garcia is struggling as bad as any point in his career making him a big name with a small game at this time. Campbell the mojo as a Texan and also outranks Sergio in fairways, greens, birdies and scoring average.
Brian Gay (-115) v. J.J. Henry (-115) (Henry)
Gay is one of the better control players on Tour with the 4th best fairways found mark, but Henry finds enough fairways and is significantly longer which cant be ignored this week. If the wind blows, that length advantage will be even more important and advantages for Henry in greens, ballstriking and scoring average sway the vote even more.
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