03.26.17 | Kevin Whalen

The Course

The Shell Houston open is returning this year to the Golf Club Houston and its Tournament Course which measures 7,457 yards and plays to a par 72. The course is a Rees Jones design and is new compared to last weeks stop being completed in 2003 and has hosted the tournament since 2006. The Tournament Course is open to the public.

The Super

The course superintendent is Brian Buckner a Texas native from Brownsville. Buckner and his team have not had smooth sailing since last years event. In May two months after it host vandals broke on to the course and tore up the 14th green with an atv or a truck. This came after an attack on the 16th green in January last as well.

The Grass

Tees: Bermudagrass; ryegrass 0.375" | average size 1,600 sq. ft.

Fairways: Bentgrass; ryegrass 0.450" | 23 acres

Greens: Bentgrass; bermudagrass; ryegrass 0.100" | average size 6,950 sq. ft.

Rough: Bermudagrass; ryegrass 1.25" | 90 acres

Other: 60 bunkers | 8 water hazards | Loam soil | 12-13 tournament stimpmeter

The Tournament

The Shell Houston Open is one of the tour's older stops first played in 1946 and it has some big names attached to it despite the fact that it is often played the week before The Masters. The aggregate scoring record is 266 and is held in a three-way tie by Curtis Strange, Lee Trevino, and Vijay Singh. Notable winners include Phil Mickleson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Payne Stewart, and many others. The tournament is also a return to stroke play for the tour after last weeks matchplay event in Austin. The current title holder Jim Herman who got his first tour victory at the Shell Houston Open last year with a final round round 68, and a tournament total 15-under par to beat out Henrick Stenson will be returning to defend his title.

This years field includes Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, and Jordan Spieth. This will be a very competitive test the week before Augusta with a total of fourteen major winners in the field that have won 26 majors combined, including five masters. On of the reason so many winners are playing this week maybe the course Augusta-like conditions

The Favorites

Jordan Spieth +600 The Texas native is rested after a early exit at the WGC. He will likely be more focused on preparing for Augusta than going for the win this week, but a top-5 is a pretty good pick at +135.

Henrik Stenson +1,200 A good pick this week he is a past SHO champion and is well rested after not playing last week.

Others: Jon Rahm +1,000 | Rickie Fowler +1,400 | Justin Rose +1,800 | Phil Mickelson +2,000 | Adam Scott +2,500

Coverage

Thursday & Friday | Golf Chanel 3:00 - 5:00

Saturday & Sunday| NBC Sports 2:00 - 5:00