Short History of the Valero Texas Open

by Randy Watson

The Valero Texas Open is an official tournament on the PGA Tour and this year (2012) is the 90th anniversary. This year's Valero Open begins with Round 1 on April 19, 2012 at the JW Marriot Golf Resort and Spa on the ATT Oaks Course, in the affluent Cibolo Canyons community. The 2012 90th Anniversary Valero Texas Open Schedule.

The Valero Open started in 1922 and was first called the Texas Open. With the exception of 2 years 1927-28, The Texas Open was played until 1940 at the Old Brack (Brackenridge Park Golf Course.) During 1927-28 and beginning in 1941 until 1949, the Texas Open was played at the Willow Springs Golf Course. When in 1950 and 1951, it was played at both the Brackenridge Park Golf Course and Ft. Sam Houston Golf Course. In 1952 thru 1959, it was again played at the Brackenridge Park Golf Club, except 1956 and 1960 when it was played at the Ft. Sam Houston Golf Course.

Oak Hills Country Club hosted the event from 1961 till 1966 and again from 1977 thru 1994. It was played at the Pecan Valley Golf Club from 1967-1970. From 1972-1976 it was played at Woodlake Golf Course. The Resort Course at La Cantera Golf Club hosted the event from 1995 to 2009. In 2010, the Valero Open began being played at TPC San Antonio. TPC San Antonio, with 36 holes of golf is located next to JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. The AT&T Canyons Course by Pete Dye and AT&T Oaks Course by Greg Norman. The Valero Texas Open is played at the Oaks Course.

The first Texas Open was won by Robert MacDonald and his winnings were $1500 in 1922. In 1931 the $1500 winnings went to Abe Espinosa, whom is best known as the first Hispanic golfer to win significant golf championships. In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, the winner took home $600. Many greats and golf legends have played and won, Ben Hogan in 1946 won $1500, Sam Snead in 1950 winning $2000, Arnold Palmer's first win in 1960 won $2800, Chi-Chi Rodriguez in 1967 won $20k, Lee Trevino in 1980 won $45k, just to name a few. The winner has continued to claim higher and higher rewards with the 2011 winner, Brendan Steele taking home a whopping $1,116,000.

Over the years the name has changed as well. Beginning as the Texas Open, it has gone thru some name changes most notably to recognize major sponsorships. It has been named the Vantage Championship, Westin Texas Open, HEB Texas Open, La Cantera Texas Open and currently the Valero Texas Open.

Nine players have won this tournament more than once.

3 wins
Arnold Palmer: 1960, 1961, 1962
Justin Leonard: 2000, 2001, 2007
2 wins
Bill Mehlhorn: 1928, 1929
Sam Snead: 1948, 1950
E.J. "Dutch" Harrison: 1939, 1951
Ben Crenshaw: 1973, 1986
Jay Haas: 1982, 1993
Duffy Waldorf: 1995, 1999
Zach Johnson: 2008, 2009