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Lowdown: The PGA Tour begins a three-week stint in the Lone Star State with the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. Zach Johnson will be looking to make it three straight victories in the tournament. Dating back to 1922, the Texas Open is one of the oldest tournaments on the PGA Tour, past winners including: Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino. This season sees a brand new venue for the Valero Texas Open. The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio was designed by Greg Norman, with assistance from Sergio Garcia. Opened for play earlier this year, it's a natural-looking layout with huge bunkers and sprawling greens. Many of the fairways are framed by stands of mature oaks, giving the course its name. Last year at La Cantera Golf Club, Zach Johnson successfully defended his Valero Texas Open title, beating James Driscoll at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Venue: TPC San Antonio, Texas Date: May 13-16 Course stats: par 72, 7,522 yards Purse: $6,100,000 Winner: $1,098,000 Defending Champion: Zach Johnson (-12)
TV Coverage: Thursday 13 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Friday 14 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Saturday 15 - Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8pm Sunday 16 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Player Watch: Zach Johnson - Not quite on top of his game at the moment but he's bound to up the ante in a tournament he's won two years in a row. Bo Van Pelt - He's on a great run of form with a tied fourth finish at Sawgrass last week. He leads the tour in ball-striking so this course should suit his game. Ernie Els - After a superb start to the season, Els will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing missed cut at The Players Championship. He's the biggest name in the field this week.
Key hole: The par 5s. The shortest on the course is the 14th at 567 yards so, depending on the wind, most will play them as three-shotters. The longer hitters will have a distinct advantage on these holes.
Skills required: Finding fairways. At over 7,500 yards, you'd think length was the most important factor at TPC San Antonio. But, with bunkers and huge trees lining the fairways, the key will be to drive the ball straight.
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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?
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