The Shell Houston Open is the final Tour stop for golfers before The Masters, and it takes place from The Golf Club of Houston (GCOH) in Humble, Texas. This is the last chance for golfers not already in the field to get a shot at playing Augusta. The winner will get an automatic birth into the The Masters. This will definitely provide some motivation for players not already in the field next week. On the flip side, some golfers who have already qualified for next week might not be as invested in this tournament. Since GCOH sets up somewhat similarly to Augusta National, these golfers might just be here to tune up their games before The Masters. We’ve seen big names WD here mid tournament if things weren’t going their way early and while unlikely (No DJ or Oosty) it is possible again this week. This can also effect a golfers strategy for the week. Phil Mickelson has stated in interviews that he sometimes doesn’t use the club needed on specific holes here (say a 3 wood on a par 4 where the fairway gets narrower after 300 yards) because he wants to practice bombing the ball out there with his drives like he’ll do at Augusta. Now this hasn’t stopped him from playing well here but it might be something to think about when you’re rostering golfers. Personally I won’t be taking too much stock in this narrative because other than Adam Scott none of the elite golfers in this field have pulled this stunt here in Houston. Even when Scott did it in 2008, he had the lead after the first round, so his illness excuse seemed legit. Also with the 6.8 million dollar prize pool, greed should win out.
The Golf Club of Houston is a 7,455 par 72 course and has hosted this tournament since 2003. The course has four par 3s and four fairly long par 5s. The par 4s vary wildly in length as four of them are under 400 yards and four of them are over 460 yards. The course tries to setup similarly to Augusta National with its wide fairways, light rough, large greens with the edges shaved, and fast putting surfaces. The finishing three holes are a tough challenge with 16 being a long par 3, 17 a long par 4, and 18 which is the toughest hole on the course with water everywhere. Off the tee golfers will see these wide fairways with light rough. There are some fairway bunkers and water is in play on about ten holes. Some fairways do get more narrow after 300 yards but the rough is light so golfers should be able to just bomb it out there without too many repercussions unless they hit it into the water. On approach shots golfers will see large bermuda grass greens that are over seeded with bentgrass and rye. Even though the greens are primarily bermuda grass they play more like bentgrass because of the over seeding. Over 70% of all approaches land on these large greens. There is not too much slope and undulation but some of the greens are multi-tiered, so judging the approach shot’s distance will be key. The greens are elevated, guarded by bunkers and water, and the edges of most of the greens are shaved down with run off areas. The putting surface is firm and fast with a stimpmeter rating of over 13. Wind always seems to play a big factor here and as of now the forecast calls for winds in the 10-20mph range all week.
Key Stats For The Course
***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P) and Birdie or Better % (BoB%) which are key stats every week.
Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G)
Looking at trends over the last eleven years here, 25/30 golfers with recordable stats that finished Top 3 were inside the Top 85 in SG:T2G for that specific year. This stat is important every week but I am weighing it more heavily than usual.
That’s it for this week. For more PGA DFS knowledge check out my Podcast. It’s called Fantasy Golf Degenerates and you can find it on iTunes. Make sure you check out the other golf DFS tools on ProjectRoto including Jaebberwock’s weekly cheat sheet and the Moosenomics spreadsheet, as it is the best in the business. Also follow me on Twitter @KendoVT for more fantasy golf info! Good luck to everyone this week and hopefully you win big.