Valero Texas Open
Defending Champion: Ben Curtis
I really feel for the organizers of the Valero Texas Open. It’s the same empathy I show for the brave souls that got duped into running the Canadian Open, Travelers Championship and John Deere Classic. They’re all victims of unfair scheduling. Drumming up mass interest for any golf tournament is difficult enough, but the peripheral goings on surrounding this event are just brutal, and it doesn’t exactly make the links action in San Antonio must see TV, especially without Tiger swagging around the course. They’ll be lucky if anyone ends up ever hearing who actually wins, let alone tuning in. Between the Final Four and the first full weekend of the baseball season, the PGA would generate more headlines swapping the Texas Open with a bye week.
Even if there are bizarro sports fans out there, who love golf yet won’t be watching those other two spectacles, they’ve already moved on from this tournament due to a crippling case of Masters fever. It’s really too bad. Actually it’s not. I’m vacating my perch on Mt. Pias, because I too am a culprit. There’s just nothing to get excited about, in any way, relating to the Valero Texas Open. But I’m fine with that, since golf found a way to remain virally relevant this week.
So how did Jason Dufner start his own trend exactly, and one that shockingly doesn’t involve strolling around with a huge lipper at all times? Well, he donned his “good guy” chapeau, did some charity work with local youth, only to remember ten minutes into it that volunteering is for suckers and especially vapid when he came to the realization this was going last all day. And his problems were compounded when someone unsuspectingly snapped this photo after he wandered off into a dream world, introspectively weighing which brands of torture would be more palatable than sitting in that spot for another second. For the record, the cut off point was the Iron Maiden.
Now, this could have just been a one off pic. Something you saw scroll across your Twitter feed and decided clicking on it would be far too much effort. Thank God Dufner’s buddies flat out refused to let it die. Never to be beat to anything on social media, Rickie Folwer waved the green flag on the ribbing.
I guess Rickie was just chillin at Bubba Watson’s pad, because moments later this came out.
I know it shouldn’t be surprising, but Bubba owning the General Lee is pretty legit.
From there we got a few more parody snapshots. One from a trio that really should have been more concerned about winning a tournament than getting their digs in.
They really should have put off their Dufnering until after winning the event, like D.A. Points.
Even Rory got in on the action. Well, that, or he was exceptionally constipated and decided to share it with the world.
How big was Dufnering’s reach? Even members of the animal kingdom got in on the joke.
At least Dufner can take solace in the fact that George Bush Jr. will always be considered the default classroom buffoon.
Yet somehow, Dufnering wasn’t the pinnacle of weird golf enjoyment this week. The high point is brought to you by Bubba. We already got a glimpse of his awesome wheels, but he actually prefers a different form of transportation… one from the FUTURE!
Confederate Cruisers, Green Jackets, Huge Drives, Rap Videos, Hover Carts; Bubba really seems to have it all.
Rory McIlroy – Look, I realize he’s struggling right now, but he actually struck the ball as well as anyone in the field in Houston, he just couldn’t sink a putt. Flat stick issues seems to fluctuate week-to-week for the world’s No. 2 player, so seeing him get it together this week shouldn’t come as a surprise. And in a field so top heavy, you’d be nuts not to take the best player registered in the event. Plus, he could use the confidence boost heading into Augusta.
Freddy Jacobson – Freedy Yaks has been one of the most consistent golfers on Tour in 2013. Normally, a T16 and T25 wouldn’t be considered disappointing finishes, but that’s what happens when you cracked the Top 10 the three previous weeks. While his approaches continue to be unpredictable, Jacobson’s sage like work on the greens keep him from bleeding too many shots, which always leaves him lingering around the leaderboard. Basically, he’s the anti-Rory. Also, he’s from the coolest sounding town in the world, Kungsbacka, that’s gotta shave at least two strokes from his score.
Marcel Siem – Zee little known German is fresh off a victory on the Euro Tour last week and proved he can celebrate a win like only a German can – happy and intimidating all at once.
He’s like the supremely efficient Crocodile Dundee. Frankly, if I didn’t recommend him, I’d be extremely concerned he’d track be down and skin me alive.
Brandon de Jonge – The rotund Zimbabwean has reverted back to his usual tricks after an early season malaise: Making a ton of birdies. In fact, no player on Tour has more than de Jonge’s 159. Unfortunately, he has an appetite for bogeys too, he probably thinks they’re deep fried. Still, he’s made 27 of 30 cuts dating back to last year and without the usual cavalcade of big names available in the “A” Pool, finding someone who’s going to the play the weekend is a necessity.
Matt Kuchar & Charl Schwartzel – When you’re dealing with fields thinner than Jeremy Piven’s former hairline, turn to the names you trust. Schwartzel’s worst showing this season was a T16 and Kuch is simply a beacon of consistency, making all seven cuts in 2013, posting four Top 15s and notching a victory at the Match Play. Yes, everyone one else will probably roster them as well, but you’ll be losing ground if you don’t too.
Peter Hanson – Another Swede cracks my squad this week. You may remember around this time last year Hanson was the 54-hole leader at The Masters, and it appears he’s getting hot for another run this time around. After opening his US schedule with a horrendous 9-over at the Northern Trust, Hanson has quietly earned a T17, T13 and T8 in his past three turns. The most recent coming at the star studded WGC Cadillac Championship. Don’t assume because his name is unfamiliar with the mainstream, that his skills aren’t world class. That would be a serious error. Get him on your roster.
Cameron Tringale – There’s nothing special about Tringale. He’s rarely on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday, but when you start scrolling down the list you’ll always notice, what at first glance looks like ‘Triangle”, sitting just behind the leaders. Tringale’s played the weekend in 10 of his last 12 events, and posted no worse than 27th the last three weeks, earning a career-best third place pay check in Tampa along the way.