Golf Lowdowns: The Chevron Championship and Valero Texas Open

Philip Reid looks at the first women’s Major of the year and the final men’s event before the Masters

The Chevron Championship

Purse: €4.5 million (€680,000 to the winner).

Where: Rancho Mirage, California, USA.

The course: The Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills – 6,763 yards Par 72 – has been the traditional home of the women's first Major of the year (previously known as the ANA Inspiration) but this 51st edition will be the final time it is staged at the venue, as it is set to move to the Houston area next year. Designed by Desmond Muirhead on a desert landscape, the signature hole is the par-5 18th which has an approach over water to an island green. Tradition has it for the winner to jump into the lake, known as Poppie's Pond.

The field: In-form world number one Jin Young Ko is the headline act and the field (limited to 115) is packed with quality. Unfortunately, world number two Nelly Korda, recently diagnosed with blood clots, is an absentee.


Quote-Unquote: "My game, if anything, is better than last year. I feel like everything is more solid, everything is in place position-wise. It's just a matter of execution, here and there" – Patty Tavatanakit, the defending champion.

Irish in the field: Leona Maguire is paired with Jessica Korda (off the 10th, at 4.19pm Irish time); Stephanie Meadow is paired with Emma Talley (off the 10th, at 8.31pm Irish time).

Betting: Yin Young Ko – who has won six of her last 11 starts on the LPGA Tour and a winner of this Major in 2019 – heads the market at 5-1 . . . last year's champion Patty Tavatanakit is rated a 20-1 shot . . . both Irish players are worth a look, with Leona Maguire (back to fast, firm greens) a 25-1 shot to land her first Major, while Stephanie Meadow (coming in off a top-10 last week and with two career top-20 finishes on the course) is a value each-way bet at 200-1.

On TV: Live on Sky Sports Golf (from 5pm).

Valero Texas Open

Purse: €7.75 million (€1.4m to the winner).

Where: San Antonio, Texas.

The course: TPC San Antonio – 7,438 yards Par 72 – is hosting the tournament for a 13th time. Designed by Greg Norman with Sergio Garcia as a player consultant, the long layout features an interesting contrast in fairway widths – some narrow, some wide – on generally flat terrain. The signature hole is the par-3 16th which features a bunker in the centre of the green.

The field: Twenty players destined for next week's US Masters are using the Texas Open as a final fine-tuner, Rory McIlroy among them . . . Jordan Spieth is the defending champion, while Hideki Matsuyama – who withdrew from the Players due to injury – returns to competitive action a week before defending his green jacket at Augusta National.

Quote-Unquote: "The golf course itself is such a challenge. You normally have to play it in the wind, you normally have to play it in different winds, so you almost play two different golf courses, north versus south wind. And it looks like we're going to get that again this year, so you've got to flight the ball, got to shot make, got to be really precise with your distance control into these greens. I really enjoy that challenge" – Jordan Spieth, looking for back-to-back wins in the Texas Open.

Irish in the field: Rory McIlroy is in a group with Matt Kuchar and Jason Day (off the 10th at 4.14pm Irish time); Graeme McDowell is in a group with Si Woo Kim and Tyler Duncan (off the first, at 8.25pm Irish time).

Betting: Rory McIlroy, who is playing the tournament for the first time in eight years (he finished runner-up in 2013), heads the market at 7-1 with Jordan Spieth at 11-1 . . . . some each-way value can be found with the 66-1 about Rasmus Hojgaard and Takumi Kanaya's odds of 100-1.

On TV: Live on Sky Sports Golf (from 3pm, red button from 1.30pm).