SAN ANTONIO – This year’s Valero Texas Open will be the fifth played on TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks course. Some big names have turned out this week, including reigning Open Championship winner Phil Mickelson, who’s playing this event for the first time since 1992. A couple notable Texans – FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker and 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth – also are in the field. Here’s a look at some of the featured groups for the first two rounds: Phil Mickelson-Jordan Spieth-Martin Laird – 9 a.m. ET, 10th tee on Thursday; 1:50 p.m. ET, 1st tee on Friday: Mickelson, a five-time major winner, will play with Texas’ Jordan Spieth and defending champion Martin Laird in the first two rounds. Mickelson hasn’t played this event in more than two decades, while Spieth is making his third consecutive start; he finished 41st here as an amateur in 2012. John Senden-Zach Johnson-Jim Furyk – 9:10 a.m. ET, 10th tee on Thursday; 2 p.m. ET, 1st tee on Friday: Johnson won this event in 2008 and 2009 and is making his first appearance here since 2010. Senden recently won the Valspar Championship, while Furyk finished third here last year. Jimmy Walker-Ernie Els-Justin Leonard – 1:50 p.m. ET, 1st tee on Thursday; 9 a.m., 10th tee on Friday: Local favorite Jimmy Walker, the FedExCup leader, is playing with a four-time major champion and another Texas native. Els is making his first trip to this event since finishing third in 2010, the first year that TPC San Antonion was used. Leonard is a three-time Valero Texas Open champion, having won in 2000, 2001 and 2007. Chesson Hadley-Matt Kuchar- Billy Horschel – 2 p.m. ET, 1st tee on Thursday; 9:10 a.m. ET, 10th tee on Friday: Kuchar, the world’s 11th-ranked player, is playing with a rookie on a hot streak and one who contended here last year. Hadley recently won the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com and has finished 26th or better in all but one of his past six events. He is No. 56 in the Official World Golf Ranking; the top 50 after this week will earn their way into the Masters. Horschel finished third at this event last year.
Matt Every is on a roll with the flatstick of late, using it en route to his first win at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational by MasterCard. We'll look at that, Matt Kuchar and more by going inside the numbers. ... .950 Strokes gained-putting this season for Every, which ranks fifth on the PGA TOUR. … That’s quite an improvement through 11 events for the newly crowned champ, especially considering he finished 2013 by losing shots to the field on the greens. Every had -.098 strokes gained last season, meaning that he’s essentially putted one full shot better per round on the greens in 2013-14. Every ranked 120th in SGP last season and 87th in 2012 at .061. It’s a big reason he ranks third in scoring average on TOUR at 69.541. 4 Number of shots Every trailed Adam Scott heading into Sunday’s final round at Bay Hill. He trailed by nine shots after 36 holes. … The largest final day comeback at Bay Hill was six shots by Tom Kite in 1982 and Gary Koch in 1984. 6.463 Overall strokes gained-putting for Every at Bay Hill, which ranked third in the field. (Graeme McDowell ranked first) … This was also the third best performance on the greens of Every’s career, eclipsed only by the 2012 RBC Heritage (+8.20) and the 2014 Valspar Championship (+7.70). He tied for eighth at both of those events. 28 Number of putts made from over 10 feet at TPC San Antonio – host course for this week’s Valero Texas Open – by Justin Leonard since 2010. … That mark is tied for the most made from that distance with Charley Hoffman. Cameron Tringale ranks third with 26. Leonard is a three-time Valero champion (2000, 01, 07) and is making his 17th appearance in the event this week. 28 of 33 Brian Davis’ scrambling mark at Bay Hill, which ranked first in the field at 84.85 percent. … So how good is your short game? This is flat-out a ridiculous mark. Davis made par or better on 28 of his 33 missed greens in regulation at Bay Hill, where he tied for 20th. Davis tied for dead last in GIR, hitting 39 greens for a 54.17 percent clip. Not good at all. But Davis’ moneymaker was clearly his wedge this week. If he would have scrambling at the field average of 55 percent, Davis would have slid from T20 to T67, or nine shots worse than he finished. 63 Score shot by Valero Texas Open defending champion Martin Laird in the final round last season. … Prior to shooting a Sunday 63 last season, Laird had played 177 consecutive rounds without a 63 or better on TOUR. He began the final round 5 shots back of 54-hole leader Billy Horschel before tying the course record at TPC San Antonio. 127 Number of three-putts for Matt Kuchar since 2010 (minimum of 5,000 holes played) in 6,732 holes, which leads the TOUR for fewest number of three-putts over that span. … Since 2010, Kuchar has ranked inside the top 10 in three-putt avoidance in three of the past four seasons. He’s first in that category this season, with only five three-putts in 396 holes played. Since 2010, Kuchar averages just one three-putt per 53 holes played.