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Valero Texas Open 2024 betting preview: The sneaky change that caddies and players are talking about at TPC San Antonio

Editor's Note: This article is published in partnership with Read The Line, a Golf Digest content partner.

April 02, 2024

Take a good look at the above picture. What do you see?

That is a PGA Tour professional’s divot pattern from a greenside chip. Walking TPC San Antonio’s Oaks course, players and caddies are noticing something unique about certain mowing patterns. Practice rounds are taking place for the Valero Texas Open. As 11 of the top 30 in the World Ranking get ready for Greg Norman’s TPC design, everyone is paying attention to the surfaces around the green.

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The first obstacle that catches everyone’s eye are the bunkers. Annually in the top 10 for toughest on the PGA Tour to contend with, guys must get their reps in sand. Jagged edges, tilted lies, and odd angles create a sandy mess to deal with if you are trying to save par. Seventeen of the 18 green complexes have a bunker, and the 16th hole even has a bunker in the middle of the green!

As if the bunkers weren’t hard enough on their own, players and caddies are commenting on the greenside mowing patterns. A majority of the surrounds are playing “into the grain” when the players chip. The leading edge gets stuck when the mowers push away from the hole. To compound the effect, you can see Bermuda grass coming through as well, and we all know it to be very grainy.

That’s what you are looking at in the picture from TPC San Antonio’s Oaks course on Tuesday.

TPC San Antonio Oaks Course
TPC San Antonio Oaks Course
San Antonio, TX
55 Panelists
TPC San Antonio’s Oaks course has hosted the Valero Texas Open since 2010. Playing through the dry outlands north of the city, the Greg Norman design is one of the most strategically compelling courses on tour with aggressive bunkering, some wonderful short par 4s and several uniquely demanding par 5s, including the 18th, one of the most underrated and frustrating closing holes the professionals play. --Derek Duncan, architecture editor
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Of the four major strokes-gained categories, SG/around the green held the smallest influence on recent winners. I’m going to change my perspective on SG/around the green this week, based upon what we are seeing (and hearing). The top 65 and ties who compete over the weekend for $9.2 million will need serious around-the-green acumen to take home this trophy. Who are the top short-game guys? Well Hideki Matsuyama (+2000) leads that list and will be on my outright betting card.

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor and content partner with Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.