Valero appears to enjoy its title sponsorship of the Texas Open, and the PGA Tour enjoys having Valero around.
“Valero is one of our very best title sponsors,” PGA Tour executive vice president and chief operating officer Andy Pazder said. “The senior management and employees are clearly engaged in the event, and the tournament has done nothing but get better and better and better and better.”
Pazder said he expects this year’s field to be comparable to last year when Matt Kuchar, Ian Poulter, Jim Furyk and Charl Schwartzel joined the field along with then No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy — though no one is guaranteeing McIlroy will be back after finished second last year. Early commitments for this year’s event include Kuchar, Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Jimmy Walker — all ranked top 40 in the world.
Though Pazder said there will be no extension of the “conflicting-event release” that will guarantee appearances by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at the frys.com Open, the PGA Tour is trying to make it difficult for any player to skip the VTO.
“We can’t dictate what tournaments they play; that’s not a part of our structure,” Pazder said. “But we at the Tour need to make sure the Valero Texas Open remains on an upward trend. All of the elements are in place for it to get better.”