|Graeme McDowell joins SHO field|
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, No. 12 in the World Golf Rankings, has committed to tee it up the week of March 28-April 1 in the Shell Houston Open.
Winner of the 2010 U.S. Open, McDowell joins countryman Darren Clarke, the 2011 British Open champion, in the field that also features No. 2 Lee Westwood of England and No. 27 Simon Dyson of England. This will be McDowell's second appearance at Redstone Golf Club. He also played in 2006 when the Shell Houston Open made its debut on the Tournament Course.
McDowell, or "G-Mac" as he is known on the European Tour, has actually played in another Shell Houston Open. As an amateur in 2001 he was awarded a sponsor's exemption. At that time he was an All-America at the University of Alabama-Birmingham who would go on to win the Haskins Award as the nation's outstanding collegiate golfer.
Players with Shell Houston Open on their schedule continue to make PGA TOUR headlines. Defending SHO champion Phil Mickelson won his 40th PGA TOUR event last weekend at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Mickelson is now No. 11 in the World Rankings. Mickelson was the second former SHO winner to step into the victory circle thus far in 2012. Texas native Johnson Wagner, 2008 SHO champion, won the 2012 SONY Open in Hawaii, and currently ranks third in the FedExCup Points Race.
Tournament Director Steve Timms will next be visiting face-to-face with players at the Accenture Match Play World Golf Championship event, set Feb. 22-26. "All indications are we will attract more marquee players in the coming weeks," said Timms. "We feel very good that both Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell, who are now PGA Tour members, committed to our event early."
Players have until March 23 (the Friday before tournament week) to commit or withdraw from the Shell Houston Open. The starting field will be 144 players. A player, not otherwise eligible, could earn an invitation to The Masters by winning in Houston.