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The 2013-14 PGA Tour season gets underway this week with the Open at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California. Sweden's Jonas Blixt is the defending champion.

Jonas Blixt defends Open (Getty Images)

Lowdown: The 2013-14 PGA Tour season gets underway this week with the Open at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California. Sweden's Jonas Blixt is the defending champion.

This tournament marks the start of the PGA Tour's new autumn to late-summer season. The event provides a chance for the new tour final graduates to test themselves on the main circuit. In fact, 39 of the 50 who earned their playing rights for the 2013-14 PGA Tour through that route will tee it up this week.

This event was first contested back in 2007 when Canada's Mike Weir took the title. Since then Cameron Beckman, Troy Matteson, Rocco Mediate, Bryce Molder and Jonas Blixt have been champions.

Last year, Sweden's Jonas Blixt took his first PGA Tour title in this competition. He came from two behind with a final round of 68 to finish one clear of Tim Petrovic and Jason Kokrak.

The CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California is a Robert Trent Jones Jnr layout and the designer feels it to be one of his best creations. It's a pleasantly undulating track set through an attractive valley. There's an elevation change of some 150 feet out on the course so club selection is often challenging.

The winner of this competition will gain an invitation to the 2014 Masters and, with FedEx Cup points available, it's a great chance for those taking part to get a head start in the race to next summer's playoffs. Venue: CordeValle GC, San Martin, California Date: Oct 10-13 Course stats: par 71, 7,368 yards Purse: $5,000,000 Winner: $900,000 Defending Champion: Jonas Blixt (-16)

TV Coverage: Thursday 10 - Sky Sports 3 from 10pm Friday 11 - Sky Sports 3 from 10pm Saturday 12 - Sky Sports 3 from 10pm Sunday 13 - Sky Sports 1 from 10pm

Player Watch: Jason Kokrak - He was tied for second in this event last year and he played solidly towards the end of the 2013 season. He was tied ninth in The Barclays and made it to the penultimate FedEx Cup playoff event.

Marc Leishman - The Australian comes into the event having played in The Presidents Cup, where he won his singles match against Matt Kuchar. He'll be looking to get his 2013-14 season off to a flying start.

Chesson Hadley - The 26-year-old will come into this event full of confidence after his Tour Championship victory. He'll aim to make a strong transition onto the PGA Tour proper. Key hole: 17th. A short par 4 with teeing options from 295 to 350 yards. Depending on wind and tee, the green may be driveable, but the ball must be carried all the way to the putting surface over water. There's a chance of some aggressive play here coming down the stretch. Skills required: Greens in regulation. The putting surfaces are large and receptive so the GIR stats should be pretty high. That also means putting will be important, particularly from distance.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?