A lot of the world’s best head to H-Town to get their final reps in before Augusta, and for some good ole fashioned Southern Hospitality. There’s also a golf tournament here as well for those that aren’t already in the field at Augusta, where those outside the top 50 in the world make their final dash for that Houston Oil. (What? Oil? Who said something about oil?)

The field is actually sneaky good this week, but you can’t help but get the feeling that the Houston Oil is used more to grease the kinks in the swings of the world’s elite, rather than Daniel Plainview drinking your milkshake “There Will Be Blood” style. Our eyes are already on Augusta, so this will be short and sweet this week, but let’s drill into the preview…


The Golf Club of Houston

Formerly known as Redstone Golf Club, the course was purchased in April 2013 by Escalante Golf, Inc. and renamed The Golf Club of Houston. This is like that girl Betsy from high school who went off to college, dyed her hair and got bangs, got with a new female-friendly physio and now goes by “Bets.” It’s still the same shitty track, it just goes by a different name. I’m guessing some glasses of chardonnay were clinked when the track didn’t make the dubious “10 Worst Tour Courses” (it came in at 11th). The Golf Club of Houston implies a lot of history, but there is very little. Developed in 2003, the course has played host to this event since then. When your course has three sentences on its Wikipedia page, you quickly see why this event is seen as simply a warmup for Augusta.

The course is similar to Augusta in that they are both green. Other than that, any other comparisons are exaggerations at best. Tournament organizers do get the greens running at a 14 stimp, and with shaved banks and firm and fast fairways, and they at least advertise the track as a place to prepare for Augusta. However, playing Augusta National on the Tiger Woods video game is closer to the real Augusta than The Golf Club of Houston is.

There are some great NLU style holes coming home, including the driveable par 4 12th, and some long par 5’s that play shorter than the card says. Plenty of chances for these guys to hit drivers this week, which they will need next week.


One word: Sprawl. Houston noses Atlanta and LA as ‘Home of the Highway’ (only because ATL is primarily known as the home of FreakNik and LA has too many other things that call it home). Take one look at this map below, and you can see Houston takes the interstate (and state road) system next level. The Golf Club of Houston is located up in that Northwest corner of the map below – just east of George Bush’s airport.

That’s not a dreamcatcher, it’s urban planning!

With urban planners insisting that citizens rely solely on their automobiles to get around a maze of multi-lane, elevated highways, coupled with the fact that everyone I’ve ever met from Texas drives a vehicle over two metric tons, no wonder Houston’s PGA stop is really just a Big Oil Fiesta. H-Town and nearby Galveston Bay are the port of call for BIG off-shore oil operations, and Shell just happens to slap its name on the tournament to close funding on a couple new DeepWater Horizon rigs later this year. Houston is a celebration of the SUV, dickheads like Roger Clemens, global warming, special purpose entities, and the old adage: Things are bigger in the LoneStar State (kill me). Welcome!

Last Year

Heartbreak hotel for Kuch, who dominated this stretch last year, but was only able to scrape out a win at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head. Matt Jones holed a 40 footer on 18 to get into a playoff, then chipped in to steal the title and make his way into the Masters.


Brendan Steele (65/1) – I’m only playing one guy this week, as I don’t like a lot of of what I’m seeing on the betting sheet. Top 15 finishes in three of his last four starts, and the only guy I saw that has been playing well that you could get for more than 50/1.

Fantasy Corner: It’s a really strong field at the top. Reed, Spieth, Kuchar, Holmes, and Sergio should all be in your lineups.

Drinking Game

As we suggested last weekend, this is your last chance to earn some goodwill before next weekend. You have a duty to be on your couch the entire weekend, so put in the quality time with the kids and the significant other. If you do tune in, here’s what to watch for:

  • A swig of beer every time the Masters and/or Augusta is mentioned.
  • A shot every time it’s mentioned that “so and so” is “not in the Masters yet” as they climb up the leaderboard.
  • A beer thrown towards the TV every time they try to compare Golf Club of Houston to Augusta.

The Fringe

  • This event is a homecoming of sorts for University of Houston alum Freddie Couples, but unfortunately he’s not playing this year. His 2008 & 2009 performances were ridiculous considering his age and stature on tour. In ’08 he shot 67-66 on the weekend to grab a share of 4th. BoomBoom returned in ’09 and should’ve won the damn thing – he showed up on Sunday tied for the lead at -11 with Geoff Ogilvy, Paul Casey, and Ryan Moore. He bogeyed the last three holes, posting a 74 and finishing two shots out of a playoff between Casey and J.B. Holmes. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.


  • This week marks the change from the horrific “everything’s bigger in Texas” jokes to the “Houston, we have a problem” cringe-inducing attempts at humor. Who is going to be the first to make the crack when someone flies off the rails?
  • The preview is short this week. Not going to apologize. I’m in full Masters mode, and I will be travelling through three countries in the former Yugoslav bloc this weekend and won’t be around for the proceedings. Follow @TronCarterNLU and @BigRandyNLU for your fire takes.