Valero Texas Open in San Antonio ramping up fun around 100th anniversary

While the excitement around the Dell Match Play is building, another Central Texas PGA Tour event is gearing up for what could be one of the best golf parties in years.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, and while the field looks to be improved over recent years, the spectacle surrounding the event could be one for the ages. The tournament — which was previously held at Brackenridge Park, Willow Springs, Fort Sam Houston, Oak Hills Country Club and La Cantera before settling on its current home at TPC San Antonio — starts Thursday, March 31, a week after the Dell Match Play.

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Jordan Spieth, left, and Rory McIlroy (at last year's Masters tournament) have both committed to the Valero Texas Open, which takes place the week after the Dell Match Play.
Jordan Spieth, left, and Rory McIlroy (at last year's Masters tournament) have both committed to the Valero Texas Open, which takes place the week after the Dell Match Play.

A number of Hall of Famers will be on hand at the event at the Valero, which last year was won by University of Texas product Jordan Spieth. Among those expected to take part in the Night to Honor Our Heroes banquet on Friday, April 1, is Austin’s own Ben Crenshaw, who won the Texas Open in 1973 and 1986, as well as previous champs Deane Beman (1969), Hale Irwin (1977), Lee Trevino (1980) and Tom Watson (1987).

Also, a concert on Saturday of tournament week will feature Jason Aldean along with Grammy Award winner (and noted golf fan) Darius Rucker. All ticket holders attending Saturday’s third-round competition will be able to attend the concert.

As for the field, while Spieth will return to defend his title, fellow Longhorn Scottie Scheffler — who has two wins in his last three starts — also committed early.

And a bit of a surprise came this year when Rory McIlroy announced he’d take part. It’ll mark his first appearance at the event in nearly a decade — he last competed in 2013, finishing second behind champion Martin Laird.

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“I am looking forward to returning to San Antonio and being a part of the 100th Anniversary of the Texas Open,” McIlroy said. “I have fond memories of my last time competing there.”

Scottie Scheffler signs with TaylorMade

The perks keep coming for Texas ex Scheffler, who less than 72 hours after winning his second PGA Tour event — the 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill — signed a deal with TaylorMade. The financial details of the multi-year deal were not made available.

Last week in Orlando, Scheffler used an 8-degree TaylorMade Stealth Plus+ driver, along with a set of TaylorMade P-7TW irons (5-PW). According to TaylorMade, those clubs will remain in Scheffler’s bag (which will now be a TaylorMade staff bag), and a TaylorMade fairway wood is expected to be added soon.

After the Ryder Cup, TaylorMade fitters went to Texas and worked with Scheffler and introduced him to the company’s 2022 driver, the carbon-faced Stealth Plus+. According to the company, during that fitting, Scheffler’s ball speed increased to 177.4 mph with Stealth Plus+, a 3 mph increase from the 174 mph ball speed he was creating with his previous driver.

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Scheffler, who had been an equipment “free agent,” joins a TaylorMade staff that also includes Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Tiger Woods.

PGA Tour ‘moving on,’ according to commish

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan reiterated his stance against the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League during his annual state of the PGA Tour press conference at the Players Championship: We’re moving on.

It was a message he first relayed to the players during the Tour’s mandatory player meeting two weeks ago at the Honda Classic.

“The PGA Tour is moving on. We have too much momentum and too much to accomplish to be consistently distracted by rumors of other golf leagues and their attempts to disrupt our players, our partners, and most importantly our fans from enjoying the Tour and the game we all love so much,” he said. “There is no better place than at the home of the PGA Tour to reiterate our focus and promise to our fans and our players. Let’s move on.”

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Monahan included one line in his opening remarks that seemed directed at Phil Mickelson, who in comments to the Fire Pit Collective’s Alan Shipnuck, accused Monahan of running “a dictatorship,” and said, “As nice a guy as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right.”

Monahan noted that, “we are and we always will be focused on legacy, not leverage.”

Birdies and bogeys

• Transitioning to the college game hasn’t been much of a challenge for University of Texas freshman Bohyun Park, who finished second at the recent Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Park, who was born in South Korea before starring for Ranchview High School near Dallas, chipped in for birdie on the 17th hole to keep the pressure on eventual champ Carolina Lopez-Chacarra of Wake Forest. Park now has three top-10 finishes on the season. The Longhorns finished fourth in the event.

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• Those interested in the Golf ATX Spring Championship at Morris Williams on March 19 still have time to enter. The event is open to all amateurs over 25. Go to GolfATX.com for more details.

Tim Schmitt is the managing editor for Golfweek, golf coordinator for the USA Today Network and lives in Round Rock. Golfweek’s David Dusek also contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Valero Texas Open ramping up fun around 100th anniversary