Should be a great week of golf in Houston on the PGA Tour this week
I just took a look at the long-range forecast for this week’s Shell Houston Open, and it looks great with highs in the 70s and only an isolated chance of showers for the weekend.
So while they’re finishing up the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Lodge and Club in Orlando on Monday after thunderstorms postponed the end of that tourney today, it looks like we’ve got a pretty good week of weather and a really nice field in Houston this week.
The Shell Houston Open tournament proper starts on Thursday on Redstone Golf Club’s Tournament Course. This is the fifth year that it will be played on the 7,500-yard Rees Jones design and the fourth straight year that the SHO is being played the week before the Masters.
Tournament officials have done a great job of making the pre-Masters tournament date work for them. By prepping course conditions to emulate Augusta National, most of the best players in the world have embraced this event as the perfect tune-up for the Masters.
In the past, many top players preferred to rest or just work on their game on their own (ala Tiger Woods) before heading to Augusta. Now, they come to Houston.
This year’s event might have the best field yet. For example, defending Masters champion Angel Cabrera (who works with local pro Charle Epps) will play this week as will Ernie Els (who was leading at Bay Hill when play was suspended), Padraig Harrington, defending SHO champion Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Andres Romero, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler and Fred Couples, who is coming off another Champions Tour win on Sunday.
Redstone, of course, looks nothing like Augusta, but it’s conditioned more like a cool-season course than a warm-season venue with its heavy rye overseeded fairways and bentgrass/rye combination greens that will be very quick. More importantly, the rough is light and surrounds and banks around greens and water hazards are shaved, creating many of the same tight, quick conditions you get at Augusta.
It should be most entertaining leading up to Tiger Woods’ return the following week.
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