Let’s take a moment to remember there is a PGA Tour event this week – the Shell Houston Open – even if it seems everything is about The Masters.
It’s also worth pointing out the Houston Open has done a terrific job at repositioning itself on the Tour schedule and creating an event that draws a strong field with a number of top players believing the set-up helps them get ready for Augusta National.
This week every stroke counts, unlike last week at the WGC-Dell Match Play when one bad hole didn’t necessarily ruin an otherwise good week. So who strongest this week? Here are our picks:
5. Charl Schwartzel: He just goes about his business, rarely drawing much attention but that’s okay with Schwartzel. He’s been very solid this year and there’s no reason to expect that to change any time soon.
4. Henrik Stenson: He skipped the Match Play event because he’s in the midst of a busy run of tournaments. Stenson seems to hang around the leaderboard when he plays but he’s had trouble nailing down wins. Needs to focus on finishing.
3. Jordan Spieth: He’s No. 2 in the world now which Spieth said may be a good thing for him entering Augusta, taking a tiny bit of the focus off him. His game has been scratchy in recent weeks but he’s not terribly far from the form that earned him a green jacket last year. This is an important week for him.
2. Patrick Reed: He’s a Houston guy, though he says the only time he plays the Golf Club of Houston is during tournament week. He’s a top-10 machine this year and this feels like a place Reed might win.
1. Louis Oosthuizen: He reached the finals of the Match Play and when Louis finds his rhythm, he can ride it for a while. He doesn’t make many mistakes and as long as his back feels good and his focus is on golf (it’s been known to wander from time to time), Oosthuizen is a handful.