HUMBLE, Texas -- The Shell Houston Open is the last chance for players to claim the final spot in next week's Masters.
Of course, the 12 players in this week's four Featured Groups are already in the field for the season's first major. But one of the reasons they like to play in the Shell Houston Open is because tournament officials try to set the Golf Club of Houston firm and fast like Augusta National.
Here are the groups PGATOUR.COM is watching. Use the comments section below to let us know who you've got your eyes on.
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Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald (1:40 p.m. ET Thursday off No. 1, 8:50 a.m. ET Friday off No. 10): McIlroy, the seventh ranked player in the world, is looking to extend his streak of top-25 PGA TOUR finishes this week in Houston. Johnson tied for fourth last year while Donald is returning to Houston for the first time since 2010.
Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Steve Stricker (1:50 p.m. ET Thursday off No. 1, 9 a.m. ET Friday off No. 10): This threesome features players from three different decades, all of whom will be looking to win their first major next week. Spieth tied for 50th here last year while Garcia shared 77th in his only appearance in 2009. Stricker, who cheered his Wisconsin Badgers on last weekend at the NCAAs, has a trio of top-10s in 13 starts.
Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley (8:50 a.m. ET Thursday off No. 10, 1:40 p.m. ET Friday off No. 1) Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, comes to the Golf Club of Houston battling a balky back. Simpson, a former U.S. Open winner, returns to Houston for the first time since 2011 when he tied for 16th while Bradley, the 2012 PGA champ, has top-10s in his last two starts here.
Matt Kuchar, Henrik Stenson, Jimmy Walker (9 a.m. ET Thursday off No. 10, 1:50 p.m. ET Friday off No. 1): This group features the reigning FedExCup champion in Stenson and the current leader in Walker, a three-time winner in the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season. Kuchar is a six-time PGA TOUR champ who has seven top-10s already this year, including a tie for fifth last week.