AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio softened, but still a tough test

By Travel ArticlesAugust 23, 2012, 4:00 am

SAN ANTONIO -- The AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio is a little easier than it used to be -- just a little. The Greg Norman design that opened in 2010 and plays host to the Valero Texas Open is still pretty difficult and will continue to rank among the toughest courses on the PGA Tour.

But in response to some 'suggestions' from tour players, the greens on holes No. 1, No. 4, No. 10 and No. 12 received some modifications this summer, providing for some additional pin positions. In some cases, the greens should also be a little more receptive.

'The modifications didn't take it from being a very challenging golf course to a walk in the park,' said TPC General Manager and Director of Golf Jimmy Terry. 'It's still a strong golf course. It's just that in certain conditions, on these holes, hitting long clubs into them was probably too much of a challenge.'

The work was overseen by PGA Tour Design Services in consultation with Norman and player consultant Sergio Garcia.

Four holes affected by redesigns

The changes included raising the right side of the green on No. 1 and raising the left side and center of the green on No. 4. They also raised the right side of the green on No. 10 and converted the right surrounds to rough grass, shifting the front right bunker back to widen the approach into the green and filling the low in the back left of the green to create a mound.

And on No. 12, the entire green was re-contoured and the back third was lowered by approximately two feet to lessen the severity of the contours.

'The key to the work on all four greens was to increase the quantity and quality of hole locations, as well as make the putting surfaces more receptive to approach shots,' said Steve Wenzloff, vice president of PGA Tour Design Services and player liaison. 'Those holes provided the least flexibility from a setup standpoint. We get various winds at the course, and those surfaces were hard to hold depending on the wind direction. By increasing the number of hole locations and softening the contours, it will be easier to hold shots on the green during different conditions.'

Of course, the work will also benefit the recreational golfers, and it has been well received by the club's almost 200 members as well as resort guests.

The most noticeable change is probably the par-4 12th hole, Terry said.

'If you look at ShotLink last year, the 12th hole was the fifth most difficult hole on the golf course (at the Valero Texas Open),' he said. 'It's a 375-to-400-yard par 4. But when it turns into a north breeze, all of a sudden instead of hitting a wedge into that three-tiered green, you were hitting a six-iron or something like a five-iron with a heavy wind, and it was just a really difficult green.'

Terry said that now the green is the same exact size, the contours where they fall are basically the same, but they're much softer and gentler, much more receptive to a longer club. 'I would expect the 12th to drop a bit in terms of difficulty for the tour event,' he added.

Oaks Course tougher than Canyons

The AT&T Oaks Course is considered the more difficult of the two championship courses at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. The other course, the AT&T Canyons Course, was designed by Pete Dye with Bruce Lietzke as player consultant. The Dye course is the site of the AT&T Championship on the Champions Tour.

While the Canyons Course has more dramatic tee shots and elevation change, the Oaks Course is more subtle but difficult with its fingerling bunkers and tighter fairways.

'To me, the Oaks Golf Course is one of the most beautiful inland golf courses we have in Texas, so unusual for the Hill Country, being a level piece of ground, a natural and intimate setting,' Terry said. 'The look and feel of the golf course and golf holes didn't change. They blended it in seamlessly.'

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

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“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.