The tournament celebrates its centenary in 2022, a remarkable and important achievement in a professional game that has proved so willing to sell so much of its soul over the decades.

As a state that has contributed much to American golf over the generations, it’s no surprise to see some of the game’s biggest names on hand to help celebrate the milestone.

Lee Trevino and Ben Crenshaw won’t tee up in the tournament but as former champions of their state open will be on hand for at least part of the week to help mark the occasion.

Also making an unexpected appearance this week is Rory McIlroy who has decided to tee up the week before the Masters for the first time in eight years.

RIGHT: Jordan Spieth broke a win drought dating back to 2017 here last year. PHOTO: Steven Dykes/Getty Images.

The change in strategy is perhaps telling of how desperate the Northern Irishman is to complete the career Grand Slam by donning a green jacket and his play will be heavily scrutinised at TPC San Antonio.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: It was one of the more joyous victories of 2021 when one of the game’s most popular players broke a four-year drought to claim his home state Open.

Jordan Spieth hadn’t won since his 2017 Open triumph and there was much conjecture about the state of his game.

But he showed flashes of the Spieth of old on his way to a final round 66 and a two-shot win over charley Hoffman and Matt Wallace.

COURSE: TPC San Antonio opened in 2010 and immediately joined the PGA Tour rotation as host of the Texas Open.

One of two 18-hole layouts on the JW Marriott owned resort (the other a Pete Dye design), Greg Norman’s Oaks course has met with mixed reviews from the players.

A resort course where the difficulty dial can be turned up when the Tour visits town, it has proved a decent test for the world’s best.

Winning scores have been in the expected Tour range, Spieth’s winning total of 18-under last year around the norm.

The terrain the course sits on dictates some differing styles of hole, the front nine narrower and more tree lined while the inward half presents more open golf where angles matter more.

PRIZEMONEY: US$8,600,000

RELATED: So-called expert golf tips for this week

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Many will like Spieth’s chances of going back-to-back this week but there is little in his recent form to support that notion.

He was less than his best in last week’s matchplay and aside form a runner-up finish at Pebble Beach last month has no top-10 results for the year.

Rory McIlroy is making a rare start the week before The Masters in Texas this week. PHOTO: David Cannon/Getty Images.

That’s not to say he can’t find something this week but there are others who can make a better case.

One of those is 2019 winner Corey Connors who went all the way to the consolation match at Austin Country Club.

A Monday qualifier when he took the title three years ago, TPC San Antonio must surely be the site of some of his happiest memories and in this game at that level that holds some weight.

Perennial contender Charley Hoffman is almost a must include name in any Texas Open discussion though that run must surely end at some point and given his form in 2022 it could well be this year.

Of particular interest will be the play of Rory McIlroy who is breaking with a long-held tradition of not playing the week before the Masters.

As always, you never know what you will get with Rory and if he plays anything like his best, he should be around the business end of the leaderboard Sunday afternoon.

72-HOLE RECORD: 268 (-20, Corey Conners, 2019)

18-HOLE RECORD: 62 (Trey Mullinax, 2018)

PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Steven Bowditch (2014); Adam Scott (2010); Bruce Crampton (1964); Joe Kirkwood (1924).

AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Jason Day, Aaron Baddeley, Min Woo Lee and Matt Jones.

Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 7am – 10am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 7am – 10am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 3am – 8am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 3am – 8am)
*AEDT/AEST, check local guides