Saturday, April 23, 2016
Inside the Valero Texas Open with Titleist
"It was just awesome, it really was," Walker said of his 11-under-par 277 winning performance in 2015. "It was a lot of fun. Lot of fond memories. You bring that into this week, too."
The 7,435 yard, par-72 Oaks Course again plays host and Walker welcomes the difficult challenge that the course presents.
"It's a tough track. It's got some tough tee shots, got some tough second shots and the greens can be a little tricky to read. They've got some South Texas grain in them. It can play with you a little bit."
Rain hit the area early in the week, but according to Walker, the greens on the Oaks Course show no signs of softening.
"I still think the greens are going to stay relatively firm. Even after the rain, they were still getting some nice bounces and release."
In past years the Valero has been scheduled in late March, instead of April. Walker mentioned that the schedule change has resulted in some subtle changes in the course conditions, most notably with regards to the rough.
"The rough isn't like it was last year," said Walker. "Last year it was overseeded. This year they didn't and the bermuda has come back but hasn't all grown yet. Driving the ball in the rough isn't going to be, I don't think, a big deal this week, just because it's not very long. You can get some pretty nice lies."
With thinner rough, it could be anyone's tournament this week.
But whether it's a grind or an old-fashioned shoot-out, Jimmy Walker is confident about his chances. He's enjoyed early-season wins in each of the past two seasons and feels that a return to the winners circle is right around the corner.
"You never know when you're going to get hot. I've gotten hot in the last two years right out of the gate. It may start this week, maybe next week or the week after. Who knows? (But) it's not far off. It's close."
TITLEIST BY THE NUMBERS
Titleist was also the top choice among players in the hybrids category (32) as well as the irons category with 38 sets in play.
Vokey Design Wedges also topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (185) category.