SAN ANTONIO – 2017 champion Kevin Chappell returned to San Antonio today to participate in the Valero Texas Open’s annual Media Day and is among a list of early player commitments announced by tournament officials for the 2018 Valero Texas Open, scheduled for April 19-22 at TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks Course.
Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion and currently ranked 11th in the world, has committed and will be making his first start in the Valero Texas Open since 2010. The Spaniard has won 10 times on the PGA TOUR, including THE PLAYERS twice and 36 times worldwide. Garcia has played on eight European Ryder Cup teams since 1999 and has rarely fallen out of the top 15 in the world since 2000.
Chappell is currently ranked 36th in the Official World Golf Ranking and 42nd in the FedExCup standings. He’s one of seven champions of the past decade committed to the third oldest PGA TOUR event on the schedule.
Among them is World No. 23 Charley Hoffman (2016), 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker (2015), Steven Bowditch (2014), Martin Laird (2013), Brendan Steele (2011) and two-time major champion Zach Johnson (2008, 2009)
The tournament has also received commitments from World No. 17 and Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar; World No. 21 Brian Harman; 2017 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, past FedExCup champion and major champion Jim Furyk; 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell; two-time major champions Martin Kaymer and Retief Goosen; 2009 Open Championship winner Stewart Cink; FedExCup champions Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker as well as five-time PGA TOUR winner Ryan Moore and four-time PGA TOUR winners J.B. Holmes and Camilo Villegas.
Chappell sank an eight-foot birdie putt in front of a huge crowd on the final hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory over 2017 U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who was warming up on the range for a possible playoff. It was Chappell’s first PGA TOUR victory. Chappell finished tied for fourth in the 2016 tournament and now has three top-five finishes, including a runner-up in 2011, in his eight starts in San Antonio.
“Prior to coming to San Antonio last year, Kevin had finished in a tie for 7th at the Masters and certainly was playing some great golf. His dramatic finish here marked the second consecutive year we had the winning putt occur on the final hole, adding more lore to our historic event,” Executive Director Larson Segerdahl said. “We look forward to seeing Kevin defend his title against the likes of Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar and other top PGA TOUR players this April.”
Joaquin Niemann, the top-ranked amateur player in the world, has accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the tournament. Niemann, a 19-year-old from Chile, will turn pro after this year’s Masters, where he earned an exemption for winning the Latin American Amateur Championship last month.
“We are excited to have this incredible young talent in our field this year,” Segerdahl said. “We have always prided ourselves on providing opportunities to promising young players and we look forward to seeing Joaquin use his start in the Valero Texas Open as a stepping stone to earning his PGA TOUR card.”
This initial collection of players has accumulated eleven major championships and 106 PGA TOUR wins.
Players have until Friday, April 13 at 5 p.m. ET to commit to the Valero Texas Open. They can withdraw from the tournament at any time.