The Valero Texas open this week is Ian Poulter’s last chance retain his PGA Tour card as he completes his medical extension following a four-month injury set-back.
Poulter needs to earn just over $30,000 to retain his rights for the remainder of this season, equating to roughly a top-30 finish in the 152-man field.
The world-number-190 was the first to admit his frustration after failing to get the job done at the RBC Heritage at the weekend where he fell down to tied 11th on the final day, telling Sky Sports “I’m a little hot under the collar right now.”
The signs don’t look too promising for Poulter, either. With only one start at this event before, a tied 37th finish in 2013, and only two top 30s in his nine PGA Tour starts this season, he will need to break the trend of his season so far if he’s to retain his PGA Tour membership.
On the 41-year-old’s side though, is a relatively weak field in Texas this week. Only Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed enter the event from inside the world’s top 20 and a total of only nine of the world’s top 50 enter.
One of which is defending champion Charley Hoffman who earned a one-shot victory over Reed last year having come from behind 54-hole leader Ricky Barnes. Hoffman enters here in promising form after leading the Masters by four shots after 18 holes and joint leading after 36 holes before falling to tied 22nd; he did miss the cut at the RBC Heritage at the weekend, however.
Joining Hoffman, every past winner dating back to 2007, with the exception of Adam Scott, is returning to TPC San Antonio including Jimmy Walker (2015), Martin Laird (2013) and two-time winner Zach Johnson (2008 and 2009).
Designed by Greg Norman and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the course measures 7435 yards for a par 72, making it somewhat lengthy. With that said, narrow fairways and deep hazards mean that distance needs to be consulted with accuracy for success around this track.
Since its movement to the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio in 2010, scoring at this event has ranged minimally from high single figures (-8) to mid-teens (-14) offering a degree of consistency in the scoring but showing it to be no mean feat getting round this course in a low score.
Similarly to the consistency of scoring, the Valero Texas Open has had an unchanged name since 2002 and an unchanged purse of $6,200,000 since 2011 – a rarity for an event on the ever-growing PGA Tour.
Just two days remain until we tee off in Texas and Poulter begins the defence of his PGA Tour status that he’s held since 2005.