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BlogShell Houston Preview and Picks

Shell Houston Open

March 30th – April 2nd, 2017

Golf Club of Houston (Tournament Course)

Humble, TX

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,441

Purse: $7 million

with $1,224,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jim Herman

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 36 of the top 100 and 15 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with four players from the top-ten: #5 Henrik Stenson, #6 Jordan Spieth, #7 Adam Scott and #9 Rickie Fowler. The other top 50 players are #12 Patrick Reed, #13 Justin Rose, #14 Jon Rahm, #19 Phil Mickelson, #21 Matt Kuchar, #24 Jimmy Walker, #26 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #37 J.B. Holmes, #40 Daniel Berger, #41 Bernd Wiesberger and #43 Kevin Chappell.

Last year there were 17 top-50 players

The field includes 11 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players are #4 Jon Rahm, #7 Jordan Spieth, #10 Rickie Fowler, #12 Mackenzie Hughes, #13 Charles Howell III, #14 Hudson Swafford, #17 Justin Rose, #21 Daniel Berger, #22 Lucas Glover, #23 Cody Gribble and #24 Luke List.

The field includes 12 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #4 Jon Rahm, #7 Jordan Spieth, #11 Rickie Fowler, #13 Charles Howell III, #14 Mackenzie Hughes, #16 Hudson Swafford, #17 Justin Rose, #19 Daniel Berger, #21 Charley Hoffman, #22 Cody Gribble #24 Lucas Glover, and #25 Luke List.

The field includes 9 past champions: Jim Herman (2016), J.B. Holmes (2015), Matt Jones (2014), D.A. Points (2013), Hunter Mahan (2012), Phil Mickelson (2011), Johnson Wagner (2008), Adam Scott (2007), Stuart Appleby (2006 & 1999) and Robert Allenby (2000).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Shell Houston Open field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Shell Houston Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Shell Houston Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

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                                                                                             Hit this link to join our DraftKings Fantasy Game

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Shell Houston Open

Player WGC Dell Puerto Rico Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico Honda Classic Hero Indian Open Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Omega Dubai Farmers
Jon Rahm
(318.67 pts)
2
(150)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T16
(11.33)
DNP Win
(44)
Phil Mickelson
(194 pts)
T5
(105)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
65
(0)
T16
(11.33)
DNP T14
(12)
Rickie Fowler
(183.33 pts)
DNP DNP 12
(38)
DNP T16
(34)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(153.17 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
T37
(8.67)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Charley Hoffman
(148.67 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T24
(8.67)
DNP T54
(0)
Jordan Spieth
(145.67 pts)
T30
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
Win
(44)
T9
(15)
DNP DNP
Jhonattan Vegas
(145.5 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
T4
(53.33)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
Justin Rose
(132.67 pts)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
T39
(3.67)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
D.A. Points
(132.33 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Uihlein
(126.33 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Charles Howell III
(125.17 pts)
T9
(67.5)
DNP T56
(0)
T49
(1)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
Matt Kuchar
(118.33 pts)
T30
(30)
DNP DNP T22
(28)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T9
(15)
DNP DNP
Tony Finau
(117.67 pts)
DNP DNP T28
(22)
5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T23
(9)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T4
(26.67)
Lucas Glover
(116.67 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
T18
(32)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T33
(5.67)
J.T. Poston
(110 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP T17
(22)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Bryson DeChambeau
(106.33 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Patrick Cantlay
(100.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T48
(0.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Bill Lunde
(100 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(97 pts)
DNP DNP T45
(5)
T3
(90)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Jason Dufner
(90 pts)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
T23
(27)
T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
J.J. Henry
(88.33 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(22)
WD
(-1.67)
T66
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Stewart Cink
(85 pts)
DNP DNP T28
(22)
T27
(23)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP T28
(14.67)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP T20
(10)
Jimmy Walker
(83.5 pts)
T39
(16.5)
DNP DNP DNP T25
(25)
T21
(19.33)
DNP T11
(26)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Watney
(83.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T28
(14.67)
T14
(12)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Scott Brown
(82.67 pts)
DNP T17
(33)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP T2
(66.67)
T58
(0)
T52
(0)
DNP T41
(3)
Billy Horschel
(82.33 pts)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP T64
(0)
J.J. Spaun
(81.67 pts)
DNP T17
(33)
T49
(1)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T4
(26.67)
DNP T9
(15)
Lee Westwood
(80.5 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP
Henrik Stenson
(73.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T7
(55)
WD
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP
Kyle Stanley
(73.33 pts)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
T27
(23)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T14
(12)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Shell Houston Open

Player WGC Dell Puerto Rico Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico Honda Classic Hero Indian Open Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Omega Dubai Farmers
Steven Bowditch
(-53.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Every
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T62
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Grayson Murray
(-35.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T36
(4.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Smylie Kaufman
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Ernie Els
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Cody Gribble
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Andrew Loupe
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Spencer Levin
(-33.33 pts)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Carl Pettersson
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Ricky Barnes
(-26 pts)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T48
(0.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

 

The Buzz:

Playing the week before a major

In looking at the field there are seven players #5 Henrik Stenson, #6 Jordan Spieth, #7 Adam Scott, #9 Rickie Fowler, #12 Patrick Reed, #13 Justin Rose, #14 Jon Rahm that are ranked in the top-15 and playing in Houston.  On top of that 28 of those playing next week in the Masters are in the field (Daniel Berger, Angel Cabrera, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Roberto Castro, Kevin Chappell, Jason Dufner, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, James Hahn, Charley Hoffman, J.B. Holmes, Mackenzie Hughes, Si Woo Kim, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Sean O’Hair, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Andy Sullivan, Hudson Swafford, Jhonattan Vegas, Jimmy Walker, Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger). This is a testimonial for what the folks that run the Shell Houston have done in getting the course set up the way it is.

Now the Masters field is set but there is one golden ticket out there for anyone that wins the Shell Houston Open.  Jim Herman last year was the example as he came to Houston with other plans for the week after.  But his victory gave him a chance to play in the Masters.  If there are 28 of the field of 144 with Masters invites, that means that 116 players in the field this week will have that added incentive to win, for that last “Golden Ticket” to the Masters.  Some include Stewart Cink, Keegan Bradley, Lucas Glover Retief Goosen, Geoff Ogilvy and Davis Love III who have won major championships but their exemptions have expired to get into the Masters.  There are also others that were close on the world rankings, Charles Howell III is 64th and Thongchai Jaidee was 66th and tried hard to slip into that top-50 of the Official World Rankings last week and couldn’t get in.  For D.A. Points he won in Puerto Rico last week but that didn’t qualify for a Masters invite, the same for some European Tour winners like Andrew Johnston who won in Spain last October but that win didn’t get him into the Masters.  All of these guys are in Houston and trying to find that magic so that they can return to Augusta.  So it’s like another tournament in a tournament.

Is it right or wrong to play before a major?

Now the disadvantage of playing the week before a major is peaking too soon.  Hunter Mahan has won twice the week before a major, at Houston in 2012 and Bridgestone in 2011 and he was flat at the next major. Same with Lee Westwood, both of his PGA Tour wins came the week before a major and he wasn’t in the running the next week.  You always want to win no matter if it’s a major or the week before a major, but winning takes a lot out of you and we can tell you of a lot players that are mentally fried and not able to keep it going the week after winning especially at a major.

Now on the other end just look at what happen to Phil Mickelson in 2013.  He won the Scottish Open and it help get his game in shape for the British Open.  This isn’t the first time that Phil has done that, in 2006 Mickelson won in Atlanta and then won the next week at the Masters.  There is no right or wrong answer on this, it’s all what you feel.  But I leave you with one big thought on this, if the purse for the Shell Houston was say $3 million instead of $7 million and if first place was just $500,000 compared to over a million dollars, I bet you a lot of players would take the week off.  Greed at times can be wonderful and frankly a lot of players wouldn’t care less about a major if they could win a million the week before.

Dustin, Jason and Tiger…

Now none of these players are in the Shell Houston Open.  Johnson originally was, but cited fatigue as a reason for his last minute withdrawal.  Nothing wrong with that, the Match Play is a grueling week, Johnson played 112 holes in seven matches in five days so you can understand he needs some rest.  Many are wondering if this is a bad sign for the Masters, yes nobody has ever won three straight going into the Masters, but it’s over seven weeks so it’s not like he has had no time off.  I would say that Dustin is in great shape for the Masters and will be the favorite, can’t see him doing nothing more than playing well.  But for Jason Day, he is not in a good place right now.  He is dealing with his mom having full blown cancer in the lung.  Doctors in Australia has given her a grave a prognosis, so Day had her flown to Ohio and visit his doctors.  They operated on her last Friday and it seemed to be a success, but Jason is still thinking of nothing but her.  He hasn’t touched a club since his Wednesday withdrawal and says that his mothers health is more important and if need be will withdraw from the Masters.  So I would say that Day has very little momentum going into the Masters.

Last, but not least have to talk about Tiger Woods.  We still don’t know his status for the Masters, but everyone thinks the odds are long on him playing.  Two years ago before the Masters Tiger dropped out of the top-100 of the world rankings for the first time since October of 1996.  Woods got as low as 898 before popping up to 650 at the Hero World Challenge.  He is presently 757 and it just seems like it was yesterday that Tiger was number one week in and week out.  It’s sad to think that when Tiger started his climb up the world rankings in 1996 LPGA star Lydia Ko wasn’t even born and Jordan Spieth had just turn three years-old.  The week that Woods got into the top-100 with his 1996 Las Vegas win, Greg Norman was celebrating his 68th straight week as #1 golfer.  If you bought $1,000 of Apple stock on October 6th, 1996 and stuck it under the mattress, that stock today would be worth just over $240,000 and a share of Berkshire Hathaway sold for $28,500 a share in 1996 and today that share is $250,130.

Things you need to know about the Shell Houston Open

This will be the 70th edition of the Shell Houston Open, which was formerly called the Houston Open.  This is its 12th year at the Golf Club of Houston which use to be called Tournament Course at Redstone.  This course was created especially with the Shell Houston Open in mind. In prior years the tournament was held across the street at the Members Course at Redstone between 2003 and 2005.  Before that, the TPC at the Woodlands had been the site between 1985 and 2002.  Courses used before 1985 include the West course at the Woodlands, River Oaks C.C., Memorial Park G.C., Pine Forest C.C., Brae Burn C.C., Sharpstown C.C., Champions G.C., Westwood G.C. and Quail Valley G.C.  The first Shell Houston Open was played in 1946 and was called the Tournament of Champions. Byron Nelson beat Ben Hogan that year by two strokes at River Oaks.

Course information:

  • Golf Club of Houston
  • Humble, Tx.
  • 7,441 yards     Par 36-36–72

The tournament course at Redstone features a course rating of 76.0 and a slope rating from the back tees of 144. The tees, fairway, and rough are TifSport bermudaGrass as the greens are Miniverde bermudagrass. The course is a semi private course and can be played by the public.

The average green size at Redstone is 6,500 square feet, which is a little larger than average on the PGA Tour. The course has 50 bunkers and water comes into play on 10 holes.

In 2016 Golf Club of Houston was the 22nd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a average of 71.890 which is just about par.

In 2015 Golf Club of Houston was the 41st hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.855 average, playing 1.145 strokes over par.

In 2014 Golf Club of Houston was the 23rd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.245 average, playing .245 strokes over par.

In 2013 the Redstone was the 25th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 71.868 average, playing .132 strokes under par.

Golf Club in Houston is an anomaly. It’s a relatively new course with a history, located on the site of the former El Dorado Country Club. Designed by Jay Riviere, El Dorado Country Club opened in the 1960s but was closed in the early 1990s as a victim of a suffering Houston economy following the oil bust.

Golf Club in Houston is one of only a couple dozen courses in the country that are open to the public and host a PGA Tour event. It was designed by Rees Jones with PGA Tour Professional David Toms serving as course design consultant.

The course has a variation of different holes, but what sticks out are the short par 4s.  Four of them are under 400 yards (holes 1, 3, 10 & 12) but they’re offset by four par 4s that are longer than 460 yards (holes 5, 6, 17 & 18).  It also has a killer finish with the par 3, 16th hole playing at 204 yards and the final two holes playing at 489 and 488 yards.  The last hole was the hardest hole on the course last year playing to a 4.412 average.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at Golf Club of Houston:

This is based on the most important stats for the Golf Club of Houston, based on data from last years Shell Houston Open, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2017. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four catagories.
The scoring average of the field at G.C. of Houston in 2016 was 71.89, so with par being 72 that means the average score was just about par last year, making G.C. of Houston the T-22nd hardest course to score on in 2016. It’s also important to see how the weather played a factor, last year’s overcast with some showers but the wind blew 10 and 20 mph. This year no rain the first three days but they are calling for 80% thunderstorms on Sunday.  But the big factor for the players, it will be very windy over the weekend with speeds between 10 and 16 mph.

In looking at the stats for Golf Club of Houston from last year, one thing is obvious, the course is for bombers. Those that hit it longer has a big advantage since accuracy doesn’t really come into play. So for our first stat we pick Strokes Gained from tee-to-Green because this is a good barometer if a player is considered a “bomber”. Last year in his Shell Houston Open win, Jim Herman, who isn’t really considered a long driver, more in the middle of the road 8th in SG Tee-to-Green. Our second stat is Proximity to the hole, because the greens are easy (28th hardest last year) to hit, but it’s important to getting it close to the pin from the fairway. Last year GC of Houston ranked 7th hardest course to get it close to the hole at 38 feet, 8 inches. Last years winner Jim Herman mastered this stat, not only was he T-10th in greens in regulation, he was 2nd in proximity to hole Next is scrambling, if you miss the green you have to get it up and down. One of the things that the folks that run this event do is get conditions on the course to match those at Augusta National, site of next week’s Masters. One of the biggest elements of this is giving those that miss the greens the same challenges that Augusta National has, so scrambling is very important in the Shell Houston Open. It ranked 24th on Tour, but Herman was T-4th showing the importance of getting it up and down from off the green. Last is par breakers, because you have to make a lot of birdies and eagles to do well. Last year Herman ranked T-3rd in this stat because he made lot’s of birdies so you can see the importance of this and all of our stats for this week.

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: The per round average of the number of Strokes the player was better or worse than the field average on the same course & event minus the Players Strokes Gained putting value.

*Proximity to Hole: Average length that a player hits from the pin with shots from the fairway.

*Scrambling: So which course is tough to get it up and down on holes players miss the greens. Since all of the area’s around the greens are mowed short, making it a lot like Augusta National it should be easier for players to getting it up and down.

*ParBreakers: The course allows a lot of birdies and eagles to be made, so parbreakers is important for the players.

Below is the average positions of the 121 players of the field of 144 that have stats from 2017:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to all the stats for all 121 players in the Shell Houston Open field that have stats for 2017

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Shell Houston Open:

Key stat for the winner:

  • This is a bombers type of course, length really helps getting it down the fairways.  But that is the most important aspect of playing well.
  • The important stat is hitting lots of greens, last year Jim Herman was T-10th in greens hit, the same ranking that 2015 winner J.B. Holmes was.  In 2014 Matt Jones was 2nd while in 2013 D.A. Points was T10th. In 2012 Hunter Mahan was tied for the lead in hitting greens, one of two champions since 2004 that led this stat. Between 2009 and 2011 that stat was in play with 2009 winner Paul Casey ranking 22nd, 2010 winner Anthony Kim ranking T53rd and 2011 winner Phil Mickelson ranking T12th. But of the previous nine winners on two other courses they ranked tenth or lower in greens hit.
  • The 2006 winner, Stuart Appleby, hit 56 of the 72 greens and that was 2nd best in the field.  In 2007, Adam Scott won while hitting 57 of 72 greens which ranked T8.  Runner-up Stuart Appleby was 4th in that stat and Bubba Watson was 12th.  Fourth-place finisher Tommy Armour III led the stat.   2008 winner Johnson Wagner hit 56 of 72 greens and ranked T4th while the leader in greens hit Billy Mayfair finished T4th.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Unimportant stat: Hitting lots of fairways is not that important at Golf Club at Houston.  Last year’s winner Jim Herman was T-16th in greens hit, 2015 winner J.B. Holmes was ranked 71st (dead last).  In 2014 Matt Jones was T25th while 2013 champion D.A. Points was T33rd. The year before Hunter Mahan was T33rd while Mickelson was T71st, 2010 champion Anthony Kim was 80th, 2009 winner Paul Casey ranked T36th while 2008 champion Johnson Wagner was T41st in hitting fairways.  The trend is not hitting it straight anymore on the PGA Tour it’s hitting it long, going a chasing it and hitting the next one on the green and making the birdie putt.
  • Interesting to note that since the Golf Club of Houston was first used in 2006, results show that the course is in the top 25% in length of drives while in driving accuracy it’s in the middle of all the other courses used on the PGA Tour.  What this means is that longer hitters that don’t hit fairways have a slight advantage over straight, short hitters.  That is why the list of champions at Golf Club of Houston included long hitters as J.B. Holmes, Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson.
  • Playing well on the par 4s. Last year Jim Herman was 7 under while in 2015 J.B. Holmes was 12 under while in 2014 Matt Jones was 4 under on them while D.A. Points in 2013 was 10 under. In 2012 Hunter Mahan was 11 under, Phil Mickelson was 3 under in 2011, Anthony Kim was 4 under in 2010, Paul Casey was 5 under in 2009, Johnson Wagner was 4 under in 2008, Adam Scott was 7 under on the par 4s in 2007 while Appleby was 13 under on them in 2006.  It’s a rare feat when players score lower on the par 4s than the par 5s.
  • In most events you make up shots on par 5s.  But at Golf Club of Houston the par 5s are very demanding, players can’t overpower the par 5s because the shortest is 557 yards.  On the back nine, the two 5s are 590 and 608 yards, so getting it home in two is near impossible on two of the four par 5s. Last year the course ranked to have the T-17th hardest on tour while in 2015 it was 24th hardest while in 2014 it was the 10th hardest par 5s on tour.  On the other end of the spectrum the par 4s are less demanding than other course on the PGA Tour since four of the par 4s are under 400 yards, ranking T-22nd hardest on tour in 2016.
  • Since the Houston tournament started in 1946, 17 players have scored their first PGA Tour victories here including 2008 champion Johnson Wagner, 2009 winner Paul Casey and last year’s winner Jim Herman.  In the 1990s, this was the hot spot for those achieving their first wins; between 1990 and 1994 all the winners were first timers.
  • Golf Club of Houston is deemed a great spot for getting ready for the Masters as Shell Houston officials have gone out of their way to set up the course in the same manner as Augusta Nationals, with light fairway rough, fast, treacherous greens and low cut fridges which will help people get ready for the Masters.  In looking at this years field, 28 that are playing in Houston will also play at the Masters.
  • Since 2006 six of the 11 champions led going into the final round.  Last year Jim Herman was co-leader with Jamie Lovemark while in 2015 we had a change of pace as J.B. Holmes started the final round six back of third round leader Jordan Spieth, Holmes shot a final round 64 to catch Spieth and then beat him in a playoff
  • Overtime is still the norm for Houston with a playoffs.  Since the event was first played there have been 23 playoffs, including 13 in the last 30 years.  Last time for a playoff was in 2015 with J.B. Holmes beating Johnson Wagner and Jordan Spieth.
  • In looking at the long range weather forecast weather is going to change drastically.  After good weather on Thursday and Friday, things will change.  First the wind will climb on Saturday and  rain and thunderstorms will hit the course on Sunday. Over the weekend winds will be high between 8 and 12 mph.

 

Who to watch for at the Shell Houston Open

Best Bets:

Jon Rahm

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Yes he is playing this course for the first time but his stats in strokes gained tee-to-green, proximity to hole and making birdies makes him a winner. He will be carrying over the momentum he showed toward the end of his match with Dustin Johnson and be tough to beat this week.

Jordan Spieth

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T2 CUT T50

Guy is getting ready for the Masters and that will be by playing well this week. Expect him to do well, ever part of his game is tip-top, if there is something that he can work on is scrambling, so this is a perfect course for him.

Phil Mickelson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T17 T12 T16 T4 Win T35 CUT T23

His game has been sharp and I can easily seeing him contend this week and next at the Masters.

Best of the rest:

Justin Rose

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T37 T14 T52

Course is good for him so it’s a bit of a surprise he hasn’t done better in his four tries. Guess maybe because he is getting ready for the Masters.

Rickie Fowler

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10 71 6 T63 T65

Has had some great finishes in this event, just have to see if he is ready.

Henrik Stenson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
2 T54 T2 T21 T3

Looking to bounce back after an embarrassing missed cut at the Palmer, an event that was perfect for him.

Charles Howell III

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 T5 CUT T10 T19 CUT T58 T47 T44 17

Top-10s in three of his last four starts.

Russell Henley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T5 4 T7 T45

Another of those that have played well, been in the top-seven the last three years.

Solid contenders

Adam Scott

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T14 WD Win

Haven’t heard much of him this year, still he is out there and this could be the week he turns things around.

Daniel Berger

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T5 T25

Watch him, this is a perfect venue for him to play well on.

J.B. Holmes

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T75 Win T12 T8 T42 2 CUT

His game is tailored perfect for the course.

Lucas Glover

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T57 CUT CUT T82 CUT T55 T31 T14 CUT T21 T7

Has the great tee to green game, if he can make some putts he will do well.

Long shots that could come through:

Chez Reavie

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 T37 T31 T79 CUT CUT T34

Has the stats for this year to play well in this event.

Kyle Reifers

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 T11 T21 T49

Never seems to play well until this part of the tour, has some good finishes in this event.

Jamie Lovemark

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
18 CUT T51 WD

Game is coming around and the course suits it.

Johnson Wagner

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T2 CUT CUT T29 T36 71 CUT Win T9

This event is his little annuity, seems to play his best during the Shell Houston Open week.

Comments

  1. Micahel M says:

    Patrick Cantlay for one and done league?

  2. Micahel, be a bold move and something that I wouldn’t do. Yes he was 2nd in his last start at Valspar, but can he come close to doing that again or can he at least make the cut???
    If you have nobody else, he is an ok pick but the purse is high for the Shell to risk it on a guy with very little experience.

  3. Hi Sal
    Are you going to run a Draftkings contest this week?
    Tom B.

  4. Yes, I am just putting it up.
    You can find it at
    https://www.draftkings.com/contest/draftteam/39050340?userContestId=711453281
    Hope you enjoy the games.

  5. Micahel M says:

    I could play Rahm. Haven’t played him yet. I’m in 1st out of 85 players and would like to stay there!

  6. Micahel,
    The only negative to Rahm, in the half a dozen events that he has finished in the top-three, he wasn’t very good the next time out. But have to say I wouldn’t stop from using him this week, it’s a big purse and it’s not like your wasting him.

  7. Micahel M says:

    I went with Rahm. If you favor guys scrapping to get into the Masters: Henley, Glover, Cantlay. Also like Bello, Phil, JB and Vegas.

  8. Look at my DraftKings preview for more news on why I don’t like Rahm this week.

  9. Micahel M says:

    Unless you’re going back pre-Farmers….not really seeing that. These one and done leagues beat you up mentally. Hopeful Rahm stays hot! Cantlay scares me….hope I’m not kicking myself Sunday!!

  10. Yes I am, example finished T-5th 2015 Phoenix, next start T-64th Travelers (know this is a stretch)
    T-3rd at Quicken Loans, next start T-72nd at Barracuda
    T-2nd Canadian, next start T-25th Travelers
    won at Farmers, next start T-16th Phoenix

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