Dates: March 26 – April 1, 2012 Where: Redstone Golf Club (Tournament Course) Par/Yards: 36-36—72/7,457 yards Field: 156 2011 champion: Phil Mickelson Purse: $6,000,000 FedExCup: 500 points to the winner Format: 72-hole stroke play Website: shellhoustonopen.com Facebook: facebook.com/TheShellHoustonOpen Twitter: @shellhouopen
A look at the 2011 Shell Houston Open
Phil Mickelson won the 2011 Shell Houston Open by three strokes, thanks largely to a course-record tying, 9-under 63 in round three. It was his 39th win on the PGA TOUR and came in his seventh Shell Houston Open start. With the win, he jumped to No. 3 in the world ranking, surpassing Tiger Woods for the first time since the week before the 1997 Masters. Incidentally, with his 40th career PGA TOUR victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last month, Mickelson is now ninth all-time in PGA TOUR career wins, surpassing Cary Middlecoff and Tom Watson. Walter Hagen is eighth with 45 victories.
Shell Houston Open defending champion Phil Mickelson was named the PGA TOUR Player of the Month for February on the strength of his 40th career TOUR victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
14 of the top 30 in the FedExCup standings, including Kyle Stanley (2); Johnson Wagner (3); Phil Mickelson (5); Hunter Mahan (8); and Steve Stricker (11).
Six 2012 PGA TOUR winners: Steve Stricker (Hyundai Tournament of Champions); Johnson Wagner (Sony Open in Hawaii); Kyle Stanley (Waste Management Phoenix Open); Phil Mickelson (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am); and John Huh (Mayakoba Golf Classic).
Five previous Masters champions: Phil Mickelson (3); Jose Maria Olazabal (2); Fred Couples, Angel Cabrera and defending champion Charl Schwartzel.
Three of the four current major championship winners; Charl Schwartzel (Masters), Darren Clarke (British Open), Keegan Bradley (PGA Championship). Bradley, the 2011 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, currently sits 11th in the FedExCup standings.
Other names of note in the field include World No. 3 Lee Westwood, three-time major champions Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington, 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Steve Stricker and 2012 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship winner Hunter Mahan.
Fred Couples will make his 20th consecutive start in the event, dating to 1981. The former University of Houston All-America has made 18 consecutive cuts in Houston, surpassing the all-time record of 17 in 2011 he shared with Jimmy Demaret.
2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III will make his 10th career start, dating to 1986.
2010 Shell Houston Open champion Anthony Kim is poised to make a return to Redstone GC in 2012.
Kim is one of only seven players in their 20s with three or more wins: Dustin Johnson (5), Bill Haas,
Hunter Mahan, Sean O’Hair (4), Camilo Villegas, Rory McIlroy and Anthony Kim (3).
Seven past Shell Houston Open champions are among the 2012 field: Phil Mickelson (2011), Anthony Kim (2010), Paul Casey (2009), Johnson Wagner (2008), Stuart Appleby (2006), Fred Couples (2003) and Robert Allenby (2000).
Rookie John Huh defeated Robert Allenby in an eight-hole playoff at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Huh and Allenby are both scheduled to compete in the 2012 Shell Houston Open. The playoff tied the secondlongest in TOUR history. The 1949 Motor City Open in Michigan ended deadlocked after 11 playoff holes when future World Golf Hall of Fame members Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum elected to split the purse by mutual agreement. The eight-hole playoffs:
1965 Azalea Open, with Dick Hart defeating Phil Rodgers
1978 Greater Milwaukee Open, with Lee Elder defeating Lee Trevino
1981 Quad Cities Open, with Dave Barr defeating Woody Blackburn, Dan Halldorson, Frank Conner, Victor Regalado
1983 Phoenix Open, with Bob Gilder defeating Rex Caldwell, Johnny Miller, Mark O’Meara
2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic, with John Huh defeating Robert Allenby
Miscellaneous Tournament Notes
This week’s Shell Houston Open winner receives, if not previously eligible, the final invitation to the Masters Tournament. Ernie Els, currently not eligible, looks to extend his streak of starts in Augusta to 19 – he has played every year since 1994.
Two players have won the week prior to the Masters Tournament, and then gone on to win in Augusta – Sandy Lyle (Greater Greensboro Open) in 1988 and Phil Mickelson (BellSouth Classic) in 2006.
The Shell Houston Open has had 21 playoffs—more than any event on TOUR other than the U.S. Open (32). Two of the past three champions have been decided by extra holes (Anthony Kim/2010, Paul Casey/2009).
Two of the past four winners of the Shell Houston Open won their first TOUR titles here (Johnson Wagner/2008, Paul Casey/2009).
Should Phil Mickelson successfully defend his Shell Houston Open title, he would become just the second player in tournament history to do so. Vijay Singh achieved the feat in 2005. Should Mickelson win at Redstone and then the following week at the Masters, he would become the first player to win in successive weeks since Tiger Woods won the 2009 Buick Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
2012 Rookie class
Of the 26 rookies in the 2012 class:
John Huh is No. 17 in the FedExCup standings through 11 weeks thanks to a playoff victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Sang-Moon Bae is No. 18 in the FedExCup standings through 11 weeks after nearly winning the Transitions Championship two weeks ago. He finished T2 following a 1-hole playoff with Jim Furyk and Robert Garrigus.
18 of the rookies were under the age of 30 as of January 1.
10 of the rookies were 25 or younger as of January 1.
The youngest rookie is Seung-yul Noh, who will turn 21 in May. Noh is scheduled to appear at this year’s Shell Houston Open
J. Killeen was the 2011 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year highlighted by back-to-back wins at the
Utah Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission (last week of July) and the Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha (first week of August).
Double heart transplant recipient Erik Compton earned his PGA TOUR card for 2012 after finishing No. 13 on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2011. Killeen and Compton are both scheduled to appear in this year’s event.
The 26 rookies are divided as such:
Qualifying Tournament – 11
Nationwide Tour – 12
2011 Non-member money list – 1 (Bud Cauley)
2011 Q-School/Nationwide Major Medical Exemption – 2 (Jamie Lovemark and Joe Affrunti)
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