January 17, 2012
Three of the top players in the world are coming to the Shell Houston Open. Lee Westwood of England, No. 2 in the current World Golf Rankings, No. 29 Simon Dyson of England and No. 49 Darren Clark of Northern Ireland will be teeing it up at Redstone Golf Club the week of March 26-April 1.
Tournament Director Steve Timms believes even more high profile players from around the globe will put Houston on their schedule. "Our date the week prior to The Masters continues to make the Shell Houston Open an attractive choice for top players worldwide," said Timms. "Adding world class players this early is very positive."
Westwood is a full-time member of the PGA TOUR this year. Dyson and Clark received special invitations called "sponsor exemptions," to play in regular events. Both Dyson and Clark received an invitation under a special category reserved for non-PGA TOUR members in the top 100 of the World Golf Rankings and in the field for the 2012 Masters.
Westwood, who has 33 victories worldwide and two on the PGA TOUR, finished 8 th at the 2010 SHO and T-11 in 2009. Dyson has nine European Tour victories to his credit, including the 2011 Irish Open and KLM Open. He posted two Top 10s in 2011 major championships - a T6 at the PGA Championship and a T9 at the British Open. The veteran Clarke, winner of 14 European Tour titles and three PGA TOUR events, won the 2011 Britsh Open at Royal St. George's by three shots over Shell Houston Open winner Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
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.