Before all eyes turn to Augusta National and next week's first major of 2013, the Masters, players get one more tune up at this week's Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.
A solid, international-field including the likes of Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel, Ian Poulter and Retief Goosen are all in the Lone Star State this week.
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Priot to the tournament teeing off on Thursday morning, we had a chance to catch up with TPC San Antonio Senior General Manager and PGA Director of Golf Jimmy Terry for a little Q&A.
Terry talked about the tournament's fourth new date in four years, defending champ Ben Curtis and explained why the San Antonio area is among the friendliest you'll find anywhere.
PGA.com: As always, we appreciate you joining us here, Jimmy. First off, you have a new tournament date. Typically after the year's first major, you're now one week before the Masters. How do the folks in San Antonio feel about the new position on the schedule?
Terry: This is our fourth year to host the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio and we have had a different date each year. So moving into a new slot is something we are accustomed to. Moving one week before the Masters is exciting for all of us. Golfers in San Antonio and around the country really start paying attention to golf around the first week of April and hosting the Valero Texas Open that very week will be an opportunity to showcase our club and resort to millions of golfers.
The date also is helping with the strength of the field. Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk, David Toms and Charl Schwartzel are just some of the players coming to TPC San Antonio for the first time.
PGA.com: Can you talk a little about your defending champion Ben Curtis? He truly is one of the PGA Tour's good guys. A former Open champion, Ben's win in San Antonio last year was more than 2,000 days after his last victory.
Terry: We are very proud to have Ben Curtis as our defending champion. His win last year was exciting and the putt he made on No. 17 for par in the final round shows what a gutsy player he is. Even though he had not posted a victory in a long time, he showed what a truly quality player he is with a steady performance in the final round in tough, windy conditions. After his win, he continued on to a complete a great season winning almost $2.5 million for the year. In addition to his win in San Antonio, he finished tied for 2nd at THE PLAYERS, tied for fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship, and tied for 11th at the PGA Championship.
PGA.com: For friends of ours who want to travel to San Antonio and are looking for things to do after playing some great golf, can you offer up a few can't-miss places in the area? We've heard a lot about the Riverwalk.
Terry: San Antonio is one of the most friendly and inviting cities in America and has a bit of everything for everyone who visits. The Riverwalk is world renowned for food and fun. My favorite spot to dine on the Riverwalk is Bourdro's. I like the uniqueness of Ocho and the Pearl Brewery area has recently opened some of the best restaurants in the city.
San Antonio has great hot spots like the Hard Rock Cafe, Cowboys Dancehall and you should try the new PHX Lounge, a concept by former UT and NFL player Priest Holmes. If you like history, you must spend some time at The Alamo and in Mission District. Family fun can include Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Sea World and a great water park called Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. For a little hill country beauty, take a short drive north of San Antonio to The Texas Wine Trail which features about 20 wineries.
I would be remiss if I did not mention our own property. It is a must for stay and play! TPC San Antonio and the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa form one of the most exciting new destinations in America. Once you pull into our drive you will not want to leave.
PGA.com: What's your favorite restaurant in the area? If we go there, what are we ordering?
Terry: How did you know I love food? I have a lot of favorites, many of which are small neighborhood places. Some of my favorites around town are the puffy tacos at La Hacienda, the Quatro Carni Pizza at Trilogy Bistro, and the freshly prepared tableside guacamole at Boudro's. For a great burger you can try Longhorn Cafe, BigZ, Chester's or Chris Madrid's, you won't be sorry with any of these choices.
On property at the JW Marriott San Antonio, you need to try the Bison Meatloaf and Braised Short Rib in Cibolo Moon and you must try the Axis Venison Loin and the 40-day dry aged NY strip in 18 Oaks at the TPC Clubhouse.
PGA.com: Final question for you Jimmy. What has been the highlight of your career as a PGA Professional?
Terry: Wow that is a tough one. Being elected to membership more than 25 years ago was very special to me. As has been the opportunity to serve my Association as a Section Officer and Board Member. Being a PGA Professional has allowed me to experience so much joy. I believe the greatest highlight has been the blessing of becoming friends with so many of my fellow professionals. Not only is golf a game of a lifetime, but the friendships you make through the game and through our Association last as well.