Jimmy Walker prepares for his 11th playing of the Valero Texas Open but first as defending champion, and enters the week 34th in the FedExCup standings.
The Boerne, Texas, resident is typically higher up the FEC food chain early in the season but has posted six top 25s in 11 events, three for top 10s. Apparently that, coupled with his four-stroke win here last year -- and seven straight in the red at TPC San Antonio -- has him 16/1 outright, currently the odds-favorite for a second time this year. The previous was at the Sony Open in mid-Jan., where incidentally, he was not only the defending champ, he was the two-time defending champ, so he can repeat. Walker departed the Sony without a three-peat but at a respectable T13, though never in contention. The 37-year-old was No. 13 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering last year's VTO, but he's down to No. 26. One area he's not digressed however, is par-5 scoring, where he's T4 on TOUR at 4.49. Walker led the Valero field in par-5 scoring last year en route to his fifth TOUR title, playing the par 5s in bogey-free 12-under (12 birdies, four pars).