Many players in this week's field at the 2023 Texas Open are facing a "win and you're in" scenario. Representing the last opportunity to earn an invitation into the 2023 Masters, the Texas Open will welcome an eclectic bunch ranging from PGA Tour veterans, rookies and those aiming to peak next week at Augusta National.
Despite his absence in Augusta, Georgia, the last two seasons, Rickie Fowler remains at the top of everyone's minds. The five-time PGA Tour winner is in the midst of a resurgent beginning to his 2023. Fowler has collected six top-20 finishes already this season including a runner-up at the Zozo Championship as well as close calls at the Farmers Insurance Open and WM Phoenix Open. Fowler ranks 14th in strokes gained total over the last three months ahead of the likes of Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Sam Burns
Yet for Fowler to gain entry into the Masters, he will have to do something he hasn't done in four years: win. He is not alone in these aspirations as veteran Matt Kuchar, defending champion J.J. Spaun and Rookie of the Year candidate Taylor Montgomery are among the masses hoping to catch lightning in a bottle for four days at TPC San Antonio.
Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter, Patrick McDonald and Greg DuCharme to break down the Valero Texas Open. It's storylines, picks and the One & Done for the last event heading into the Masters at Augusta National. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama looks to get right after withdrawing from the WGC-Dell Match Play while Tyrrell Hatton, Corey Conners, Si Woo Kim and Chris Kirk highlight those already in the field for next week.
Event: 2023 Texas Open | Dates: Mar. 30 - Apr. 2
Location: TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) -- San Antonio, Texas
Par: 72 | Yardage: 7,438 | Purse: $8,900,000
2023 Texas Open field, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Tyrrell Hatton (12-1): The Englishman was a surprising early exit from the WGC-Dell Match Play as he appeared to injury his hand on the driving range before his first match. This led to a 0-3-0 record at Austin Country Club. Hatton hopes to rebound with a performance reminiscent of his play in Florida where he finished runner-up at the Players Championship and T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He hasn't fared well at Augusta National in the past, and has admitted to not loving the golf course, so even if he flashes this week, it may be wise to be cautious with him next.
- Rickie Fowler (16-1): Fowler is the story of the week. There are no ifs ands or buts about it, if the 33-year-old is able to win the Texas Open and creep into the Masters, the collective golf world would lose its mind. Fowler has given fans plenty of reasons to be optimistic as he continues to be a presence on leaderboards. The relative weakness of this field could be the tipping point; he ranks 10th in strokes gained approach and strokes gained putting among all golfers over the last three months.
- Corey Conners (18-1)
- Si Woo Kim (20-1)
- Hideki Matsuyama (22-1): Matsuyama continues to be the most difficult man on the PGA Tour to peg. After a strong finish to his Players Championship, the 2021 Masters champion withdrew from the WGC-Dell Match Play before his third match citing a neck injury. Coincidentally, Matsuyama withdrew from this tournament a season ago after 27 holes for the same reason before finishing T14 in defense of his green jacket. Anything from a win to a withdrawal is on the table.
- Taylor Montgomery (25-1)
- Davis Riley (25-1)
- Chris Kirk (28-1)
- Matt Kuchar (28-1): The 44-year-old nearly punched his ticket to the Masters at this tournament last year. Ultimately finishing T2 to Spaun, it marked the first time since 2009 that Kuchar was absent from the first major championship of the season. He made his way out of group play at the WGC-Match Play and nearly upended Jason Day in the Round of 16. In his 12 Masters appearances, Kuchar has nine top-30 finishes including three top-five efforts. The question is whether he'll get a crack at No. 13.
- J.J. Spaun (35-1)
2023 Texas Open expert picks
|Winner (20-1): Kim ranks behind only Hatton, Kirk and Fowler in total strokes gained over the last three months among those players in the field. He is coming off a strong effort at the WGC-Dell Match Play where he garnered a 2-1-0 record. A winner already this season, the South Korean will hope the same luck which accompanied in Hawaii travels to Texas. He has historically popped around this time of the season, namely at the Players Championship and RBC Heritage, and his play at the Texas Open is indicative of that. He is 5-for-5 making the cut in his last five appearances including three straight top-25 finishes.|
|Contender (60-1): Taylor checks in directly behind Kim in total strokes gained over the last three months. The Canadian has quietly been stellar during this span with a runner-up finish to Scottie Scheffler at the WM Phoenix Open and, more recently, a top-10 result at the Valspar Championship. He has seven top-25 finishes in 14 starts this season, and appears primed for something similar at the Texas Open.|
|Sleeper (90-1): I'm a big believer in the South African because he is finally finding some semblance of consistency. Higgo has connected on 6-of-8 cuts this season including a pair of top-20 finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and The American Express. Over the last three months, he ranks 12th in this field in strokes gained tee to green and inside the top 30 in strokes gained off the tee, approach and around the green. He has already displayed his winning upside on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in his young career.|
Who will win the Valero Texas Open, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard and best bets, all from the model that's nailed eight golf majors and is up over $8,100 since June 2020.