When the winner of the 100th Texas Open raises his hard-won trophy on April 3, the most important number to know will not be displayed on the scoreboard behind the 18th green of TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course.
That number will be $200 million, give or take a few million dollars, that the Texas Open, the PGA Tour’s leading charitable event, has raised over the years. All but a fraction of that sum has been raised and distributed by title sponsor Valero since it took charge of the tournament in 2002.
In its 19 years running the tournament combined, Valero has raised and distributed $187 million to 58 charities in the San Antonio metro area and other Texas markets where Valero operates. This year, the company aims to reach or surpass the $200 million mark, which will happen if it can match last year’s $16 million raised.
Dallas native and fan favorite Jordan Spieth will be back to defend his title in the tournament, which will be staged March 31-April 3. With the Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club looming the following week, Spieth will be challenged by some of the PGA Tour’s best. As of this writing, there were six players among the top 25 in the world confirmed to play in San Antonio: Scottie Scheffler (ranked No. 5), Rory McIlroy (8), Bryson DeChambeau (13), Spieth (15), Abraham Ancer (17) and Tony Finau (23). Five-time PGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler has lost his place, at least for now, among the world’s best, but that won’t affect the huge galleries of fans, especially young fans, he will draw when he steps up to the tee in San Antonio.
Don’t be surprised if some other last-minute names are added to the field by week’s end as momentum builds for the tour’s third-oldest event and the longest-running one in a single host city. Both 2023 Ryder Cup captains, Henrik Stenson and Zach Johnson, are in the field. And a Who’s Who of past Texas Open champions will be on hand to participate in events during tournament week, including Deane Beman (1969), Ben Crenshaw (1973 and 1986), Hale Irwin (1977), Lee Trevino (1980) and Tom Watson (1987).
Valero has been staging pre-tournament events since November to build anticipation for the 2022 Texas Open and to spotlight the tournament’s remarkable place in golf history that began a century ago at Brackenridge Golf Course. Thanks to one enterprising San Antonio newspaperman, the so-called “winter tour” was born here in 1922.
I wrote about that history when World Golf Hall of Fame player Lee Trevino showed up for the unveiling of a historic plaque at Brackenridge. Valero has since held similar ceremonies at the seven other area courses that have hosted the Texas Open over the years.
The tournament moved to TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course, designed by another World Golf Hall of Fame champion, Greg Norman, in 2010.
Kevin Robbins, a University of Texas at Austin journalism associate professor of practice and sports journalist, has written a long-awaited book about the history of the Texas Open that will be introduced at this year’s tournament.
One interesting note for Valero watchers is this: All three Valero CEOs who have presided over the tournament will play in the Wednesday pro-am that precedes the tournament’s opening round on Thursday.
Former CEO Bill Greehey (1980-2006) saved the tournament from probable elimination and built it into the charitable powerhouse that it is today. He was followed by Bill Klesse (2006-2015), who continued to build the tournament’s field and its charitable impact. Current CEO Joe Gorder (2014-present) won the coveted calendar date that allows the Texas Open to precede the Masters after the Houston Open moved to the PGA Tour’s fall calendar.
Click here for general admission tickets, which will cost $150 for Saturday admission that includes a post-round concert. Children under 15 accompanied by an adult will be admitted free, and military ID holders and first responders are given special entry. For an upgrade to hospitality tickets, which are sold out Saturday and nearly sold out Sunday, click here.
Valero Energy is a financial supporter of the San Antonio Report. For a full list of business members, click here.