By Jay Betsill
After a 22-year absence from San Antonio, Phil Mickelson returned to play the Valero Texas Open a year ago and apparently he liked what he saw as tournament officials announced Lefty will be returning to the AT&T Oaks course at the TPC San Antonio for a second consecutive year. Player commitments including the return of DFW resident Jordan Spieth, 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner, who last competed in San Antonio in 2008, and a first-time appearance by reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer for the 2015 Valero Texas Open, scheduled for March 26-29th.
Last year, Mickelson made the cut on the number after making a dramatic birdie on his final hole. However, during Saturday’s third round he had to withdraw after playing his 11th hole with a pulled oblique muscle. Spieth will be making his fourth consecutive start in the Valero Texas Open. The 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year finished 10th in last year’s event and is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.
Kaymer, who also won the 2014 PLAYERS Championship and 2010 PGA Championship, is currently one of four players in the field with multiple major championship wins, including Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington and Mickelson. In all, there are 12 players in the field who are major champions: Ben Curtis (British Open), Jason Dufner (PGA Championship), Jim Furyk (U.S. Open), Retief Goosen (U.S. Open twice), Padraig Harrington (British Open twice, PGA Championship), Zach Johnson (Masters), Martin Kaymer (PGA Championship, U.S. Open), Justin Leonard (British Open), Graeme McDowell (U.S. Open), Phil Mickelson (three Masters, PGA Championship, British Open), Geoff Ogilvy (U.S. Open) and Mike Weir (Masters).
Earlier this month, the tournament announced commitments from Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Texan Jimmy Walker, reigning FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, first-timer Graeme McDowell and past champions Zach Johnson, Steven Bowditch, Martin Laird, Ben Curtis, Brendan Steele and Justin Leonard.
Here are the 12 players among the top 30 in the world who are currently scheduled to compete: No.7 Jim Furyk, No. 9 Jordan Spieth, No. 10 Martin Kaymer, No.11 Matt Kuchar, No. 13 Jimmy Walker, No. 18 Billy Horschel, No. 19 Phil Mickelson, No. 21 Graeme McDowell, No. 22 Chris Kirk, No. 23 Zach Johnson, No. 28 Ryan Palmer and No. 30 Kevin Na.
Players have until Friday, March 20 at 4 p.m. Central time to commit to the Valero Texas Open.