Shell Houston Open Preview – 2016

Shell Houston OpenShell Houston Open pre-tournament notes
Dates: March 31 – April 3, 2016
Where: Golf Club of Houston, Humble, Texas
Par/Yards: 36-36–72/7,441 yards
Field: 144
2015 champion: J.B. Holmes
Purse: $6,800,000 ($1,224,000 to the winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Website: Facebook: TheShellHoustonOpen Twitter: @shellhouopen
J.B. Holmes’ 2015 Shell Houston Open victory

  • After entering the final round six shots off the lead, J.B. Holmes birdied his first five holes en route to an 8-under 64 to join a three-man playoff with 54-hole leader Jordan Spieth and 2008 Shell Houston Open champion Johnson Wagner. Spieth dropped out of the playoff on the first hole, and Holmes parred the second playoff hole to win his fourth career PGA TOUR victory in his 210th career start at age 32 years, 11 months, 10 days.
  • His six-stroke, come-from-behind win was the best on the PGA TOUR last season. The current record this season is seven strokes by Smylie Kaufman at the 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
  • Holmes’ final-round 64 was the lowest by a winner since the tournament moved to the Golf Club of Houston’s Tournament Course in 2006.
  • Holmes shot 29 on the front nine Sunday in the final round, tying Fred Couples (2008) for the front-nine course record at the Golf Club of Houston.
  • With his third-round, 1-over 73, Holmes became the first Shell Houston Open champion with an over-par round since Vijay Singh opened with a 74 en route to winning in 2004

More on J.B. Holmes

  • Recorded his fourth career PGA TOUR win at the 2015 Shell Houston Open; posted a season-high seven top-10s in the 2014-15 PGA TOUR Season.
  • Went on to finish a career-high 14th in the FedExCup after advancing to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time in his career.
  • Finished the season 12th in the U.S. Team Presidents Cup standings, but was selected by U.S. Team captain Jay Haas to complete the squad after Jim Furyk announced he was unable to compete due to a lingering wrist injury. Holmes went 2-2-1 in his five Presidents Cup matches where the U.S. won 15.5 over 14.5 in South Korea.
  • Has recorded two top-10s in seven PGA TOUR starts in 2015-16, a pair of top-six finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
  • Ranked in the top-seven in driving distance every season he’s competed on the PGA TOUR since 2006 (except for 2013 when he was out with an injury); currently ranked third on TOUR.

Shell Houston Open and the Masters Tournament

  • The Shell Houston Open continues to embrace its pre-Masters date with similar course setup and conditioning at the Golf Club of Houston in terms of mowing patterns, green speeds (12 on stimpmeter), chipping areas and minimal rough (1 ¼ inches).
  • Currently, 33 players in the Shell Houston Open field are scheduled to compete the following week at the Masters Tournament and the event is the final opportunity for players not exempt for the Masters to play their way into the year’s first major championship.
  • In 2008, Johnson Wagner became the first player to capitalize on the win-and-you’re in berth into the Masters Tournament. The last player to play his way into the Masters Tournament was Matt Jones in 2014.
  • Masters invitees in the SHO field (33):
    • Daniel Berger
    • Steven Bowditch
    • Keegan Bradley
    • Angel Cabrera
    • Rafa Cabrera Bello
    • Jamie Donaldson
    • Ernie Els
    • Harris English
    • Rickie Fowler
    • Sergio Garcia
    • Charley Hoffman
    • J.B. Holmes
    • Thongchai Jaidee
    • Dustin Johnson
    • Brooks Koepka
    • Davis Love III
    • Shane Lowry
    • Hunter Mahan
    • Phil Mickelson
    • Louis Oosthuizen
    • Scott Piercy
    • Patrick Reed
    • Charl Schwartzel
    • Vijay Singh
    • Cameron Smith
    • Jordan Spieth
    • Henrik Stenson
    • Kevin Streelman
    • Vaughn Taylor
    • Jimmy Walker
    • Mike Weir
    • Lee Westwood
    • Bernd Wiesberger
  • Four players have won the week prior to the Masters Tournament and then gone on to win in Augusta – Ralph Guldahl (Greater Greensboro Open) in 1939, Art Wall (Azalea Open) in 1959, Sandy Lyle (Greater Greensboro Open) in 1988 and Phil Mickelson (BellSouth Classic) in 2006. Additionally, Sam Snead won the 1949 Greater Greensboro Open and the Masters, the tour’s next official event, with one week of separation between the two events.
  • There are five former Masters champions in the 2016 Shell Houston Open field: Phil Mickelson (3), Vijay Singh (1), Angel Cabrera (1), Jordan Spieth (1) and Charl Schwartzel (1).
  • In the 2016 calendar, the last four Master champions have all been victorious on the PGA TOUR: Jordan Spieth (2015), Bubba Watson (2014, 2012), Adam Scott (2013) and Charl Schwartzel (2011). With a win this week, Phil Mickelson, the 2010 Masters champion, would continue the streak.

A glance at the field

  • Twelve of the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking including Jordan Spieth (2), Rickie Fowler (5), Henrik Stenson (7), Dustin Johnson (9) and Patrick Reed (10).’
  • Thirteen of the top 30 in the FedExCup standings.
  • Nine past Shell Houston Open winners: J.B. Holmes (2015), Matt Jones (2014), D.A. Points (2013), Hunter Mahan (2012), Phil Mickelson (2011), Johnson Wagner (2008), Stuart Appleby (2006, 1999) Vijay Singh (2005, 2004, 2002) and Robert Allenby (2000).

Player notes
Five of the top-10 ranked players in the Official World Golf Ranking are competing:

Jordan Spieth (No. 2)

  • qThe reigning FedExCup champion Jordan Spieth will make his fourth start at the Shell Houston Open, following his playoff loss in 2015. After the playoff loss at the 2015 Shell Houston Open, Spieth went on to win his first major at the Masters Tournament. He is the last player on TOUR to lose a playoff one week and win a tournament the next.
  • Spieth owns three top-10s in seven starts in 2015-16 including an eight-shot victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He finished T9 at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play last week and is 13th in the FedExCup standings.
  • With five victories in 2014-15, Spieth became the youngest player since Horton Smith (turned 21 in the middle of the season) in 1929 to win five times in a season.

Rickie Fowler (No. 5)

  • Rickie Fowler’s four previous starts at the Shell Houston Open: 2015/71, 2014/6, 2012/T63, 2010/T65. While he has made the cut in all four starts, he is a combined 18-over par in his third and final-round scores, with only two under-par rounds in eight weekend rounds.
  • Fowler has posted four top-10 finishes in eight starts including a playoff loss at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He sits 18th in the FedExCup standings.

Henrik Stenson (No. 7)

  • Henrik Stenson will make his fifth start at the Shell Houston Open where he has two top-three finishes: 2014/T54, 2013/T2, 2012/T21 and 2009/T3.
  • Stenson will make his sixth start of the season where he has one top-five finish, a T3 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
  • The 2013 FedExCup champion finished second in the 2014-15 FedExCup.

Dustin Johnson (No. 9)

  • Dustin Johnson will make his fifth start at the Shell Houston Open and first since he withdrew after a first-round 80 in 2014. After two missed cuts in 2008 and 2009, Johnson finished T4 in 2013.
  • Johnson has recorded four top-10s in seven starts this season, including T5 at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play last week. He is 26th in the FedExCup standings.
    Patrick Reed (No. 10)
  • Spring, Texas resident Patrick Reed will make his third start at the Shell Houston Open: 2015/T17, 2013/MC.
  • Reed has a career-high six top-10s in 10 starts in 2015-16 including T9 at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play last week. Reed sits 17th in the FedExCup standings.

Phil Mickelson

  • World Golf Hall of Fame Member Phil Mickelson will make his 12th Shell Houston Open start and ninth consecutive. In addition to his 2011 win, Mickelson tied for fourth in 2012. He finished T17 in 2015.
  • Among his 42 TOUR wins, four are from the state of Texas (1996 AT&T Byron Nelson, 2000 and 2008 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational and 2011 Shell Houston Open).
  • Mickelson led the field in par-5 scoring average (4.31) at the 2015 Shell Houston Open and also led the field in birdies with a total of 23.
  • Mickelson currently leads the TOUR in Adjusted Scoring Average (69.008).
  • In seven starts this season, Mickelson has three top-fives, matching the number of times he finished in the top 10 in the 2014-15 season.

Sergio Garcia

  • Sergio Garcia will make his fourth start in the Shell Houston Open: 2015/T37, 2014/3, 2009/T77.
  • Garcia recorded his 15th runner-up performance on the PGA TOUR at The Honda Classic in February.
  • An eight-time PGA TOUR champion, Garcia is in search of his first TOUR win since the 2012 Wyndham Championship.

Jimmy Walker

  • Boerne, Texas resident Jimmy Walker will make his 11th start at the Shell Houston Open where he has yet to finish in the top 10. His best showing came in 2014 (T24).
  • Walker’s most recent PGA TOUR victory came in the state of Texas at the 2015 Valero Texas Open.
  • In nine starts this season, Walker has three top-10s: Hyundai Tournament of Champions (T10), Farmers Insurance Open (T4) and World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship (6).
    Tony Finau
  • A former Mackenzie Tour and Tour member, Finau captured his first PGA TOUR event last week at the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach in a playoff over Steve Marino.
  • A 2015 PGA TOUR Rookie of the year nominee, the 26-year-old sits 25th in the FedExCup standings entering the Shell Houston Open with two top-10s in 12 starts.

Rafa Cabrera Bello

  • Sponsor Exemption from Spain played his way into the Masters with a third-place finish at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play. Finish was second career top-10 on the PGA TOUR, his previous being a T10 at the 2015 Puerto Rico Open.
  • Longtime European Tour member has two career wins on that circuit.

Tournament notes

  • The Shell Houston Open has had 23 playoffs—the most for any non-major on the PGA TOUR (U.S. Open/32). Four of the last seven champions have been decided by extra holes (J.B. Holmes/2015, Matt Jones/2014, Anthony Kim/2010 and Paul Casey/2009).
  • Tournament Record: 266 – Vijay Singh (2002), Curtis Strange (1980) and Lee Trevino (1980)
  • Current Course Record: 63 – Scott Piercy (2015), Jimmy Walker (2011), Phil Mickelson (2011), Adam Scott (2008) and Johnson Wagner (2008)
  • The tournament’s largest come-from-behind win was seven shots by Mike Sullivan (1989) and Payne Stewart (1995).
  • Vijay Singh is the only player to successfully defend a title at the Shell Houston Open (2004-05). Singh also won the event in 2002, one of only two players to have three wins at the Shell Houston Open (Curtis Strange/1980, 1986, 1988).
  • Nine players have won the Shell Houston Open multiple times: Curtis Strange (1980, 1986, 1988), Vijay Singh (2002, 2004, 2005), Cary Middlecoff (1950, 1953), Jack Burke Jr. (1952, 1959), Mike Souchak (1955, 1964), Bobby Nichols (1962, 1965), Arnold Palmer (1957, 1966), Bruce Crampton (1973, 1975) and Stuart Appleby (1999, 2006).

Shell Oil Company

  • Shell, one of the original founding partners of The First Tee and a First Tee Trustee, is the title sponsor of the Shell Houston Open for the 25th year dating to 1992 and is the third-longest current title sponsor behind Honda (1982) and AT&T Pebble Beach (1986).


  • Since 1992, the Shell Houston Open and Houston Golf Association have raised more than $60 million for local charitable causes.




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