Houston, we have an attendance problem. The resurrected Houston Open kicks off tomorrow at the Golf Club of Houston, but this year’s field is… lacking. We also have European Tour action in Rome and the “Smiling Cinderella” making another appearance on the LPGA Tour!
Not so oiled up
It has been 18 months since the PGA Tour has played in Houston. Historically held the week before the Masters, the Houston Open has now been relegated to the fall series. The schedule change has resulted in a weakened field, as many of the big names are preparing for the Asian swing. Still, plenty of up-and-comers and Korn Ferry Tour grads are fighting for FedEx Cup points this weekend. Tee Times
The 2018 Houston Open was a tense affair. Ian Poulter thought he had earned a Masters invitation at the WGC-Dell Match Play, but he had in fact come up short. That meant that the only way the feisty Englishman could play at Augusta National was to win in Houston. And win he did. He made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Beau Hossler, and Poulter sealed the victory in extra holes. The defending champion is not in Houston this week, however; Poulter will be competing in the Italian Open instead.
Recovery – The Houston Open was left for dead before Astros owner Jim Crane got involved. Crane helped raise money to bring the event back to the city, arrange for a move from the Golf Club of Houston to a renovated Memorial Park (which will happen next year), and has generally reinvigorated interest in the Houston Open around town. At its current date, however, the tournament will always struggle to attract top players, who will have their eyes on the Asian swing and easy FedEx Cup points. So while Crane’s efforts have been admirable, he will need some help to keep the Houston Open afloat.
Historically weak – When we say the field is lacking in star power, we are understating the case. The 2019 Houston Open’s OWGR strength-of-field rating is 73, the weakest such rating for a non-opposite-field event since the 2014 Mayakoba tournament.
Hammer time – One of the most-recognizable names in the field isn’t even a professional! Texas star Cole Hammer will tee it up on a sponsors exemption this week. It will be his first start in a non-major on the PGA Tour. As a 15-year-old, Hammer qualified for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, and has had an unbelievable career as an amateur.
In the exceptionally weak Houston Open field, Paulie is building his DraftKings squad around guys who have been flushing it lately. See his full fantasy picks HERE.
Landmand GC: How it started
As announced last week, The Fried Egg and StoryLounge will be documenting the building of Landmand Golf Club, the first 18-hole design by King-Collins Golf. Check out our introductory video.
The Euros head to Rome for the next Rolex Series event, the Italian Open. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has a fantastic field this week. Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Eddie Pepperell, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett, Paul Casey, and Shane Lowry are all in attendance. The Italian Open is the final Rolex Series event before the final three tournaments of the season in November. Tee Times
Following in the Masters Tournament’s footsteps, PGA Tour Live will feature every shot from every player at the 2020 Players Championship. Full Story
Brooks Koepka announced he is returning to the Saudi Arabia Invitational next year. Let’s just say that his comments were less than attentive to the issues surrounding the country.
Scottie Scheffler won the Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year on Wednesday. Scheffler won two events in 2019 and was also named Rookie of the Year. Full Story from Will Gray
Hinako Shibuno, the “Smiling Cinderella,” is set to make her return to the LPGA Tour at the end of the month. The AIG Women’s British Open champion captured the attention of golf fans everywhere with her performance at Woburn Golf Club this summer, but has not played on the LPGA Tour since. Full Story from Randall Mell
Eclectic 18 UK – Hole No. 12, The Addington Golf Club – For the next installment of our Eclectic 18 UK, Jaeger Kovich goes to a personal favorite of his: J. F. Abercrombie’s passion project at The Addington Golf Club. The 12th hole covers some of the craziest terrain you’ll see on a golf course.
Shotgun Start: The Houston Open has a problem and The Players gets every-single-shot coverage
With Andy on the road, this early edition coffee-recording starts off with some quick catharsis on the Browns MNF destruction. Then the field strength, or lack thereof, at the Houston Open is put in the crosshairs. Andy runs through some names in the field and quizzes Brendan on the last time they had a top 10 on the PGA Tour, illuminating an ongoing problem and proposing changes. He also explains how the Tour has “defecated” on Houston, a community and extremely large market that came together to save its event. On the Euro Tour, they discuss the Italian Open field as well as the release of some renderings of the Ryder Cup course in Rome for 2022, which now appears to be a go. In news, they hit on the announcement that the PGA Tour and NBC will set up streaming of every single shot at the 2020 Players Championship. They discuss whether there’s demand for this and how it’s a positive development for the core fan. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
Brooks Koepka doesn’t have his head on straight, but we’re pretty sure you do. Keep it looking stylish with one of our navy Fried Egg hats from Imperial. Get yours today!