Shotgun Start: Previewing the Valero Texas Open

Jonathan Wall

It's tournament time! TPC San Antonio will be the site of this week's PGA Tour event, as the Valero Texas Open takes center stage. Here's a tournament primer to get you prepared for the week.

The course: Ranked as the seventh-most difficult course on the PGA Tour last season (+1.655 shots over par), Greg Norman's Oaks Course layout at TPC San Antonio has been hosting the Valero Texas Open since 2010, the same year the course opened for resort play. As you'd expect with courses in the Lonestar State, the wind plays a major factor on the 7,552-yard, par-72 layout. The course plays through the rolling Texas Hill Country with Oak trees lining a majority of the holes. Kevin Na's 16 was a prime example of why it's so important to keep the ball in the fairway.

The par-4 ninth hole is a hole to keep an eye on this week. It played as the 19th most difficult hole on tour last season (+0.351 shots over par), and at 474 yards, it's the only one on the course that doesn't have a bunker. Despite the lack of hazards, the green has sharp falloffs on all sides that could make it almost impossible to save par.

The schedule: The tournament runs Thursday-Sunday. It'll be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday, and on CBS from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

The field: Even though it's one of the toughest tests on the PGA Tour, the Valero Texas Open is lacking star power this week. The field doesn't include a single player from the top 10, and only two from the top 30 (Matt Kuchar and K.J. Choi). Johnson Wagner, Harris English, Brendan Steele (the defending champion), Kevin Na, and top-ranked amateur Jordan Spieth are some of the other notable names at TPC San Antonio.

The video: Check out some of the memorable moments from the Valero Texas Open's history.

Your turn. Who are your picks for this week? Swing away!