VALERO TEXAS OPEN
Course: TPC San Antonio
Location: San Antonio, TX
Most wins: Justin Leonard & Arnold Palmer (3)
As one of the oldest continually running events on the PGA Tour, the Valero Texas Open holds a special place in the hearts of golf fans across the U.S. Originally known as the Texas Open and established in 1922, the tournament has been played in San Antonio from its inception and has shifted from a variety of locales before finding its permanent home at The Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. The par-72 stroke play event is held in the early spring and features a prize purse of $6.2 million. In 2013, the PGA decided to move the tournament to the week before the Masters, which has allowed many European players who would traditionally miss out on the tournament to participate for the first time since the 1980s.
The Valero Texas Open is played each year at the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, which is ranked consistently among the top golf courses in the U.S. The course, which was recently redesigned with the input of former PGA star Greg Norman along with player consultant Sergio Garcia, bucks tradition by removing the larger grass areas and spectator mounds and creating a more natural layout that doesn't harm the overall spectator experience. One of the remarkable aspects of the course is that the highest and lowest points are only 100 feet apart, making it much easier for golfers and visitors alike to traverse the course. The 7,522-yard course manages to embrace nature and maintain a certain air of environmental sensibility that makes it a unique locale on the PGA Tour.
Like many PGA Tour tournaments all over the U.S., the Valero Texas Open plays a predominant role in giving back to its host community, and the event's impact is felt far beyond the boost that it will bring to the San Antonio economy. The Valero Texas Open and its main charity, Valero Texas Open Benefit for Children, have given more than $76 million to the local community since the charity's inception and works with a variety of educational and youth support charities to make a major difference in the San Antonio area and surrounding regions.
Of course, when the pros tee off and the event gets underway, world-class golf will certainly be on the minds of many fans when the Valero Texas Open kicks off in early April. The event has attracted many of the world's best golfers over the past several years, including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Ben Curtis and Arnold Palmer, the latter of which won the tournament three years in a row from 1960-1962. The tournament has been home to many great moments, such as in 1955, when Mike Souchak set the to-par record with a score of 27 under, as well as in 2003, when Tommy Armour III set the aggregate record with an overall score of 254. The Valero Texas Open's new time slot, compelling Texan charm and storied history have helped it carve a unique niche on the PGA Tour and should enable it to continue to be a prominent event for years to come.