The Confidence Factor: Valero Texas Open

Welcome aboard.

I’ve changed some stuff up this week and going forward.

I don’t care if you like it or not.

I hear San Antonio rocks and would love to check it out and this event.

Valero Texas Open

TPC San Antonio

AT&T Oaks Course


Oaks Course Cheat Sheet

Yards 7,435
Par 72 (36-36)
Greens Champion Bermuda (bent/poa over seed)
Stimpmeter 11.5′
Rough Bermuda and Rye, 2 inches
Bunkers 54
Water Hazard 2
Architects Greg Norman & Sergio Garcia
Purse $6.2 million/$1.116 winner/500 FEC Points
Defending Champion Kevin Chappell



  • 156 players; stroke play; top 70 and ties play the weekend.



2017-18 Winners

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*


The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM and contains plenty of angles on the track and those who have aced this exam.


Previous Champions

*-there has never been a playoff in eight tournaments at AT&T Oaks Course.

Year & Champion Winning Total
2017: Kevin Chappell 276, -12
2016: Charley Hoffman 276, -12
2015: Jimmy Walker 277, -11
2014: Steven Bowditch 280, -8
2013: Martin Laird 274, -14
2012: Ben Curtis 279, -9
2011: Brendan Steele 280, -8
2010: Adam Scott 274, -14


Gamers, this tournament moved to the Oaks Course in 2010 so any history in the event prior is just that, history. Not useful history, but history nonetheless.


Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 274, twice
Course Record: 63, twice (Every 2012, Laird 2013)
Defending Champion(s): None
Multiple Winners: None
First TOUR Win: Steele, Bowditch, and Chappell
First Win in First Appearance: Steele and Curtis
Low Round Last Year: 65
Rookies of Note Last Year: Robby Shelton, T16; Ollie Schniederjans, T18
International Winners: Scott, Laird and Bowditch
Odd Fact: Bowditch fired 76 on Sunday to win here in 2014.


The Field



In order of preference for this week and this tournament

Charley Hoffman: He’s having his usual steady spring awakening as he was T14 at Bay Hill, T12 at the Masters and T23 last week at RBC Heritage. His T40 at this event shocked the gaming world as he never finished outside T13 in seven previous starts. He’s still 41-under-par for his career! #Landlord

Brendan Steele: As you can tell by the above, I’ve tried to make this column a little tighter and easier to read. I’m apologizing now and for the last time that column isn’t for beginners. If you don’t understand the terminology or how it works, email me at and I’ll help you out. If you’re questioning as to why Steele is the second choice, I know you’re new. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the ride!

Luke List: Mad, mad, mad and madder (Mad Man? Mad Men?!?) that he was my OAD choice in Houston. I was trying to do what he’s going to do this week that week. His form will eventually break but he reminds me of Chappell here last year. I’m loading up in every format.

Billy Horschel: This is the only player I like more than List this week. He told us last week at RBC Heritage he was close and I believe him. His last win was last May in…Texas at the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Four Seasons. He won’t defend at that course this year as they are playing at Trinity Forest where Jordan Spieth is a member.

Sergio Garcia: There was no chance he was going to play well at Augusta for two reasons. The defending champ is the second busiest guy that week behind the chairman and the new father probably doesn’t get tons of sleep anyhow. This week he’s just down the street from home in Austin and it should be a bit more comfortable. I don’t care that he was the player consultant on the design. That’s back when he was dating Norman’s daughter so I’m guessing that’s not a happy thought. Or maybe he laughs that he didn’t marry her. Whatever.

Kevin Chappell: The only reason he’s not higher up the list is because his wonky back that knocked him out of Match Play. His Twitter game is on MAYJAH FIYAH as of late as well. If you can’t laugh at yourself or your shitty golf, what can you laugh at?

Matt Kuchar: Man, every week he’s in here. He’s earned it but that doesn’t mean I can’t nit-pick. Just like the pros will point out how blah Steele has been on the weekends here the last four years, I’ll point out that Koooooooooooch has collected T40 and T42 the last two years. The field is slight this week and his game can hold up in the elements so he’s earned the benefit of the doubt.

Ryan Palmer: I still can’t believe every time I try and search his name at the website it goes to ARNOLD PALMER first. It’s a nice tribute but I’m not patient enough to wait for it to load so I’m always right clicking BACK. Whatever. He’s THE KING and should be on the list as long as he likes. This Palmer looked like he was primed to bust out after losing a three-man playoff at Torrey Pines to Jason Day and Alex Noren but instead he’s stalled out. I saw the 66 at Valspar and 65 last week at RBC Heritage (two difficult tracks) so I’m shoving him up this week. He hasn’t finished outside the top six in his last three starts here so that doesn’t hurt.

Pat Perez: Reading The Confidence Factor should suffice.

Ryan Moore: Some guys I just don’t like endorsing and he’s one of them. What I LIKE shouldn’t matter as this dude has balled out the last three events (T5, T28 and T16). After taking four years off he returned here last year and picked up T18. I’m a sucker for converging trends and sprinkler-line drivers.

Beau Hossler: I wasn’t sure where to hide him this week but I’m hoping most of you gave up before getting this far. He was unlucky not to beat Poulter at Houston but he learned a bigger lesson last week. He bogeyed his last two holes to drop out of the top 10 and cost him some dinero. That should piss him off more than Poulter holing a clutch putt on him. He’s not the only one to feel that wrath.

Xander Schauffele: Look folks, he’s legit. He hits it a mile has no problem making birdies. Go check Erin Hills and East Lake if you’re curious how he performs on difficult courses. Dude is cool.

Kevin Streelman: Like Perez, he’s a spreadsheet all-star entering the week. Unlike Perez, he’s also flashed recent form as he closed 67-68 for T7 at HHI. He’s never MC in four tries here.

Brandt Snedeker: He made me nervous last week for 36 holes as I was on the fade side. His T24 after opening 70-64 suggested he might need a bit more room to operate and he’ll get that this week. Also, his boss short game should come in handy as these greens aren’t easy to peg.

Jimmy Walker: There have been plenty of clues that he’s getting this all figured out. It can’t be easy when your body doesn’t respond to what the mind suggests. His T20 at the Masters saw him pass a difficult physical and mental challenge and sleeping in his own bed this week won’t hurt.


Next Tier

Just missed; no particular order of preference

Chesson Hadley: He probably should be in the group above but I have to draw the line somewhere. Trending in a great direction (T49, T18 and T7) and has a top five finish here already. Final round scoring has been a recent Achilles ‘ heel.

Julian Suri: Hot golf is hot golf. Third consecutive TOUR event in the state of Texas eliminates the learning curve. Backed up his Monday qualifying medal with T8 last time out at the Houston Open.

John Huh: He’s rattled off eight of 10 in ’18 and five of the last six have gone for T32 or better.

Scott Piercy: He fired 64 here in 2010 and 65 in 2012. He’s also trending after blowing a tire at Corales (T60); he’s rattled off T24 in Houston and T16 last week.

C.T. Pan: Playing in the penultimate group last week is another step in the right direction for the former World No. 1 amateur. His 76 should throw plenty off the trail this week but not me. He was T2 at Torrey last year so the big boy track isn’t going to scare me off.

Martin Laird: Right on schedule for another peaking in San Antonio. The Scotsman has been lightly raced this year as he’s only played twice each month. Scheduling only the events he enjoys should be a clue.

Abraham Ancer: Speaking of trying to hide folks, he paid off for you who read this column with a top 10 in Houston. That followed T16 at Valspar and T13 at Corrales. I’ve told the story before how normal pros will say they get hot for six weeks a year. He was T42 here with two rounds of 70 or better in 2016 so he’s not learning any new tricks this week.

Keegan Bradley: He’s peeled off five cuts in a row and 10 of 12 on the year. He always gets my attention when par is a good score and there’s plenty of meat on the bone. He won’t need a putter to make 500 feet of birdies this week.

Jhonattan Vegas: I feel like a sheep here. It’s windy, he went to UT Austin and he’s made four cuts in a row on TOUR (five counting Match Play) but T20 is the best finish in that stretch. This is more evidence of how this field shrinks and shrinks quickly.

Sean O’Hair: There’s absolutely no course form to endorse but he’s has had only two bad rounds in his last 18. Yep, I’m stretching now.

Bill Haas: Great to see him back in the top 10 last week after seeing his friend die in a car crash in LA before the Genesis Open. Haas never has had any fun at Harbour Town but rolled up T7. He’s never played here but he’s shown over the years he likes a proper grind. Piggyback.

Brian Gay: He and Ben Curtis are the exceptions around here for the non-long hitters. He’s cashed a pair of top 10’s in the last five years including last year. His rust-buster event was last week. Move him up.

Harris English: He’s brewing and I’m continuing to follow. His worst event in his last four was MC at Houston but he missed with 70-72. Hardly criminal. The sharp ones in the bunch will see he closed with 65 at HHI and will know he hits it a mile.

Dylan Frittelli: T32 last week with 68-67 sandwich between bookends of 72. Every course he’s playing is new to him and he’s performing admirably. With a difficult track in play again this week, non-Pete Dye edition, he should leapfrog a few more.

J.B. Holmes: He’s four out of five here with T11 twice and T13 the highlights. Bomb it. Find it. Bomb it again.

Ollie Schniederjans: I’ll just stick him in here every week and then run to Twatter with ITOLDYOUSO after he wins. He’s really good but he’s really inconsistent. You can’t teach the first part.

Michael Thompson: With only two bad rounds in his last 12, I’m sticking around. The other 10 have been really good.


Off the Beaten Path

Course horses, long shots, cheeky picks, DFS last call, red herrings, general mish-mash.

Aaron Wise: He should be taken in every keeper league. He’s made his last four cuts so I’m taking a chance in a thin field.

Chris Paisley: The Englishman was last seen at the WGC-Mexico Championships where he collected T37. His other five starts in 2018 are WIN, T5, fifth and T27. The European Tour player sits No. 82 in the OWGR but hasn’t played in two months. He’s a great fit here because he won’t have to learn normal TOUR speed on the greens. #SlowYo

Kevin Tway: Fill yer boots! He’s made four cuts in a row, sits eighth in Par-5 scoring and was T3 last year. What could possibly go wrong???

Martin Piller: #NappyFactor shouldn’t fall through the cracks after T4 here two years ago. He closed 70-67 LTO at GCH so he’s on form as well.

Aaron Baddeley: He’s cashed six in a row here and six in a row on TOUR. Of those six at Valero, only ONE is outside T29. G’day mate!

Trey Mullinax: He’s rolling with three cuts made in a row, including T8 at a difficult Valspar plus he leads the TOUR in driving distance. It doesn’t hurt he’s top 30 in both Par-3 and Par-5 scoring either.

Matt Every: The Bay Hill connection works for me but he’s also posted a 66 in his last three events. Last time in Texas he was T8 at Houston.

Corey Conners: He’s made 11 of 14 cuts and played in two final groups. He’ll hit enough GIR to make someone happy this week.

Jamie Lovemark: Long and strong, the Californian has rattled off six weekends in a row. His two best finishes were at the two hardest courses. Dots connected.

Grayson Murray: His record on tough courses should move him up plenty of lists this week. His recent form should also catch your eye unless T14 followed by T14 isn’t good enough.

Danny Lee: If the last two events he entered were 54-hole events, he’d be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up this list. Gotta #PlayAll72.

Nick Watney: He’s made seven cuts on the bounce and this isn’t a putting contest. He should be in EVERY DFS lineup.

Nick Taylor: He’s played here twice and hit the top 25 each time. Sometimes courses just fit.

Andrew Landry: Another Texan in a field full of them, Landry sparked for three rounds last weekend but fell apart with 75 on Sunday. Of his other four cuts made, three have gone for top 10’s. Don’t be a week late.

Tyrone Van Aswegen: He doesn’t play well here but he’s cashed in 14 of 16 this season.



Adam Scott: These are always relative but unless he’s completely undervalued, I’m not going anywhere near. Sure he’s the 2010 champ but he hasn’t been back since 2011.

Si Woo Kim: PROVE ME WRONG. Go ahead. I dare you. I NEVER have gotten him right and never will. I should convert but I’m not. I can’t jump on a guy whose putting makes that kind of one-week jump.

Zach Johnson: He’ll make the cut and finish T32. If that’s what you’re looking for, well then go right ahead! His two wins were at La Cantera…


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me

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