The Shell Houston Open is always an exciting week - but for unique reasons. It leads to the year’s first major, and one of the most prestigious events in all of sport. Some players choose to rest before Augusta, while many others prefer to tee it up and compete. For those who do participate this week, we will watch intently as we seek to get a glimpse of what to expect heading into what always goes down as a historic week.
Last year at this event, J.B. Holmes took home the hardware after defeating Jordan Spieth and Johnson Wagner in a playoff.
A somewhat young facility, tournament host - The Golf Club of Houston - describes itself as follows:
Golf Club of Houston, formerly known as Redstone Golf Club, opened in 2003 with an 18-hole Member Course designed by the renowned Jim Hardy and Peter Jacobson. This 900 acre land was beautifully crafted with Cypress, Live Oak and Pine trees. Since 2003, Golf Club of Houston has hosted the PGA TOUR's Shell Houston Open with three great years on the Member Course and since 2006 on a newly crafted Tournament Course. Rees Jones, course architect, was instrumental with incorporating a beautiful yet challenging layout designed to test the best players in the world while maintaining a positive experience for players of all skill levels.
At the moment, there are so many players whose games are in terrific form, and quite a few of them are playing this week. Let’s take a look at who to watch for in Houston.
Henrik Stenson - Placed T2 in 2013 and comes in having just made a serious run at the title at Bay Hill.
Phil Mickelson - It’s been fun watching vintage Phil the last couple months. Looking for that final tune-up before heading to Augusta. One has to think that this could be the best chance he has remaining for one more jacket.
Jordan Spieth - Everyone expects him to perform, but the reality is that Spieth’s game has not been as sharp as it was 6 months ago. I’m not willing to talk “slump”, as I would not be in the least bit surprised to see him have a very big week before heading to defend his Masters title.
Rickie Fowler - Has downplayed the idea that he belongs in the discussion with Spieth, Day & McIlroy, but the reality is that he is certainly close. Continues to improve, continues to impress. Won the Scottish Open the week before the 2015 Open Championship - can he win another the week before a major?
Sergio Garcia - Been playing some wonderful tournament golf dating back to October. Has been selective with his events which means he should be fairly well rested despite competing at last week’s match play.
Dustin Johnson - Always a threat, and has been making a charge at leaderboards in his last couple of events.
Branden Grace - Has struggled on this side of the ocean so far this year, but his stellar play on the European Tour makes me continue to pick him. I believe he will come around soon.
Jamie Lovemark - His play at Bay Hill revealed that his strong play this year is no fluke. Beginning to show signs of being this year’s version of Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas - young talent looking to break through for his first “W”.
J.B. Holmes - Last year’s champion, finished T12 the year prior. A course he has certainly enjoyed success on, making him a favourite for the week.
Brandon de Jonge - This is a location where he has played well in the past, having finished T5 last year, and T10 in 2013. Is a golfer who often flies below the radar, but has serious game.
Cameron Tringale - His T5 and 4th place finishes in the last two playings of this event allow for a convincing argument that this could very well be the place where Tringale finally breaks through for that inaugural win.
Russell Henley - Has really struggled this season having only made one cut in the last three months, but has finished 4th and T7 the last two years at this event, making him a sleeper pick worth paying attention to.
And now for my DraftKings picks for the week….
There is a ton of value in this week’s draft pool. I’ve taken Tringale, Donaldson, Wilcox, Smith, de Jonge & Taylor, all for what I consider to be tremendous value. Finding this value will allow you to spend more on your “sure things” - mine of which are Stenson, Mickelson & Johnson. I’ve taken Stenson on both teams because he’s playing well, and he seems to be making a habit of stellar playl during this portion of the season. I would be in no way surprised to see him capture this week’s title.
Henrik Stenson - $10,800
Phil Mickelson - $10,500
Cameron Tringale - $8,000
Jamie Donaldson - $6,700
Will Wilcox - $6,500
Cameron Smith - $6,500
Henrik Stenson - $10,800
Dustin Johnson - $10,700
Jamie Lovemark - $7,900
Scott Piercy - $7,700
Brandon de Jonge - $6,200
Nick Taylor - $5,900
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.