The Shell Houston Open's Masters Metamorphosis

At year’s end 12 of the top 20 players in the World Golf Rankings did not hail from the old USA. International stars are invading the PGA Tour with regularity and winning on golf’s biggest and most lucrative stage.

The march toward The Masters, the season’s first and, as far as many in the golf industry are concerned, most prestigious major championship, is important. If not otherwise eligible, a player may earn a Masters invite with a PGA Tour victory.

Last year’s event drew 15 of the top 20 players at the time in the Offi cial World Golf Rankings and was won by Englishman Paul Casey

Holding the prime space on the PGA Tour schedule the week prior to the yearly pilgrimage to Augusta, organizers of the Shell Houston Open decided to transform their tournament into a lucrative dress rehearsal for the final performance on golf’s grandest stage.

This year’s edition of the Shell Houston Open, which now ranks as the 10th oldest tournament on the PGA Tour schedule, will mark the fourth time the event has served as the lead-in to the Masters and has featured conditions that aim to not precisely duplicate Augusta’s trademarks, but come as close as possible to replicating them.

Fans can expect a world-class field at the Tournament Course at Redstone Golf Club competing on a marvelously manicured layout with Augusta National staples such as lightning-fast greens with plenty of wrinkles, shaved slopes that won’t save wayward shots from the water and little or no rough around green complexes.

“I think the greens are obviously not as severe as some of the greens at Augusta, but there’s definitely a lot of shots that you can see similar to that and – around the greens, it’s very, very similar,” said Sergio Garcia, who competed in the event at Redstone for the first time in 2009. “On the greens you can get some really, really quick putts like you’re going to get at Augusta. So, yeah, there are definitely a lot of similarities that you can find.”

Last year’s event drew 15 of the top 20 players at the time in the Official World Golf Rankings and was won by Englishman Paul Casey. It was Casey’s first PGA Tour victory. Other past champions include Adam Scott (2007) and Johnson Wagner (2008), who earned a trip to The Masters by virtue of his win in Houston.

The 2010 Shell Houston Open will be played the week of March 29 – April 4. The weekend rounds will be televised on NBC Sports. For ticket information and more visit www.shellhoustonopen.com.

The Shell Houston Open’s Masters Metamorphosis

 

 

 

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