Welcome to Card of the Week, where we take a look at the most interesting scorecards from the preceding week’s play. This week’s action was in the heart of Texas at the aptly named Valero Texas Open.
While I’m loathe to admit it, the most interesting part of the tournament was… the wind. Wind in the morning and early afternoon on Thursday created an incredible advantage for the players with the late-early draw (afternoon tee times on Thursday, morning on Friday). It was crazy, I’ve never before seen a draw so thoroughly eliminate (nearly) half the field from contention. Matt Kuchar played remarkably well and shot even par, five shots back of the eventual lead. Of the 31 (!) players that shot in the 80’s, 23 had morning tee times. All told, it was at least a 5 shot advantage to go off late, and in my opinion cost several contenders a shot at, well, contending.
Out of the swamps, the PGA Tour moves west to the oil fields of Texas for a couple weeks before the Masters. With oil prices plunging, who knows how much longer Valero can be a PGA Tour sponsor? Best to enjoy the tournament while we can before it becomes the “Texas Clean Energy™ Open powered by Sun and Wind” or something like that. Oh wait, we’re in Texas, it’ll always be sponsored by oil companies!
About the Sponsor
Valero Energy Corporation makes gas.Unlike industry mammoths BP and Shell who are energy companies, Valero sticks to oil by operating 16 refineries in the US. Really there isn’t much interesting about them at all except their tiny foray into wind energy. Valero has a 50 megawatt wind farm that, get this, is used to power one of their refineries. Who can call them environmentally insensitive after that?
Let’s play a game I’m calling “Guess the Australian who won the VTO last year!” The first thing to do is to name all the Australians on the PGA Tour, and then pick one who could still win on Tour. First tier — Jason Day, Adam Scott obviously. Then we’ll move to second tier of Geoff Ogilvy (who somehow managed to win a US Open), John Senden, Stuart Appleby (little past his prime) and Robert Allenby (who I’ll try to mention as often as possible from now on because of his recent run in with being “kidnapped” in Hawaii. See below for pictures). After that… Greg Norman? Safe to say, last year’s winner really didn’t show up on anyone’s list of top Australian golfers before the tournament, and frankly, even after.
Another week, another set of DK contests, and another week closer to the Masters. We’re out of Florida, and off to Texas. It’s Valero Texas Open time!
Another successful week for me, placing 1st and 5th in my two 50/50s.
Just a note here for people looking, I’m picking lineups of players who are going to make the cut. Like the last two weeks, all 6 of my picks made the cut. Might not be the best plays for a GPP, where picking the winner is pretty important. That being said, we haven’t had a repeat winner on Tour this year. So who knows how valuable picking a top salaried guy really is? Either way, if you get 6 players making the cut, you’re going to be doing pretty well in any contest.
Brendon de Jonge ($7,000) — BDJ back in the house! After a disappointing weekend at the Valspar and a week off, BDJ is still a must pick because of his consistency
Charles Howell III ($8,000) — Another cut making machine, but also one who’s been playing better recently with a top 10 and top 25 in the last two events. These are the guys you’re looking for. Solid players who are finishing better.
Maybe I missed something, but the cards this week were pretty boring all things considered. Plenty of rounds in the 80’s, but most were just pars and bogeys and doubles and blah. No one went too low either, so tough to go that route. With that in mind, I took circumstances into consideration when selecting Ryan Palmer and Chesson Hadley’s Sunday bestball for the Card of the Week.
Since this week is the final week to slip into the top 50 in the world golf rankings, thereby making the Masters field, there was a little extra on the line for a few of the players near the top of the leaderboard Sunday. Two of these players were Ryan Palmer and Chesson Hadley. They didn’t need spectacular rounds; after all was said and done 70’s probably would have got both players into the field at Augusta. Tragically, almost comically, both players reached that number on hole 16.
So, let’s take the sting out of it a little bit and make the Card of the Week their round as a bestball squadron. Huh. Well, I guess it didn’t help much. The tandem went 38-38-76 with two birdies. That number would have been good enough for t55 on Sunday, with only 12 players (not including themselves) shooting worse. Woof.
Both are solid players have solid seasons and should bounce back from this, but man, those are a couple of seriously unclutch rounds.
Well, after effectively taking a weekend off from golf due to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, I apparently only missed two things.
1) Adam Scott choking like a bitch. You’re how many 15 under and poised to be the number one player in the world, and you shoot 76 in the final round to lose by 2. A 76 in the final round isn’t going to cut it.
2) Matt Every’s middle name is King
Golf World (@GolfWorldUS) March 25, 2014
Matt Every's middle name is King. On Sunday, he won his first PGA Tour event at The King's tournament. golfdig.st/1mqmHdp Coincidence?—
Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) March 24, 2014
Alex Myers (@AlexMyers3) March 23, 2014
Arnold Palmer Inv. (@APinv) March 23, 2014
Every plays great in the final round and all people care about is his middle name. I guess that’s twitter for you. Only coming up with the important information.
Luckily for the PGA tour, the NCAA Tournament field is shrinking, which means there’s time to watch both the PGA Tour in the afternoon and the basketball at night! I can’t wait to see what tournament comes after Bay Hill since it can only be a good one right?