Expert Picks: Shell Houston Open

March 26, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
How it works: Our experts from PGATOUR.COM select the player they think will win this week's event. By using a draft process, no two picks can be the same. The player who wins the previous week picks last the following week.
MORE: Power Rankings | Inside the Field | Inside the Course | FANTASY GOLF: Play our game
SLEEPER PICKS: Who will surprise at Redstone?
Expert picks: Shell Houston Open
Pick orderPlayer selected
STEVE STRICKER. Tough choice this week with the first pick. My heart wanted Ernie and my sense of adventure wanted Phil. But my head, heeding my last-place spot in the standings, insisted on Stricker, who has three top-10s in four starts in 2012.
JOHNSON WAGNER. Sure, he's not posted a top-30 finish here since an '08 victory, but the January Player of the Month has seven top-30 finishes in nine 2012 starts. I'm still not sure if his 'stache is to be feared, but the FedExCup leader's game should be.
If Dunham had the top pick ... Stricker
PHIL MICKELSON. He's the defending champion, tied the course record with a 63 in the third round a year ago and has a win and runner-up already this season. Plus he's putting it great at the moment.
If Wacker had the top pick ... Stricker
GRAEME MCDOWELL. Can't ignore his recent results -- three consecutive top-15s, including solo second at Bay Hill. "My game is in great shape," he said. Doesn't have much of a history at Redstone, though -- his only appearance was a T-54 in 2006.
If McAllister had the top pick ... McDowell
HUNTER MAHAN. He tied for eighth here last year and has also placed T6, T5 and T11 at Redstone. Mahan's already earned one win this season at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and is ninth in FedExCup points.
If Deason had the top pick ... McDowell
LEE WESTWOOD. I strongly considered Ernie Els because I would like nothing better than to see him play his way into Augusta. In the end, though, I went with world No. 3 Lee Westwood, who has two finishes of 11th or better in the last three years.
If Ross had the top pick ... McDowell
ERNIE ELS. I'm happy Helen passed on The Big Easy, because I would have taken him even with the first pick this week. Obviously, he is playing great golf right now, and no one wants to win more than Els this week at Redstone.
If Balionis had the top pick ... Els
BUD CAULEY. Last push to get into the Masters for the kid who's first full season on TOUR is getting better each week. After a T16 at Innisbrook and a T4 at Bay Hill the last two weeks, this Bud's for me.
If Swantek had the top pick ... Cauley
KEEGAN BRADLEY. Somewhat surprising Bradley was available this far down. He hasn't finished outside the top 22 all season. After a couple weeks off he should be ready to go at Redstone GC.
If Szeker had the top pick ... Bradley
AARON BADDELEY. He's really off to a great start in 2012. We last saw him at WGC-Cadillac, where he was solo 12th. In his last three starts, hasn't been out of the top 15. Tied for fourth at Redstone last year. Another guy I like? Ryan Moore.
If Smithson had the top pick ... Stricker
Standings after Week 13
LAST WEEK: Ryan Smithson was lucky to have the No. 1 pick last week, which he used to take Tiger Woods in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. More impressively, Anne Szeker had a top-five finish with Bubba Watson:
Position Name Wins Top-5s Top-10s Top-25s MCs FedExCup points
1 Ryan Smithson
Site Producer
2 5 6 10 1 1663.25
2 Amanda Balionis
Host, PGA TOUR Today
1 4 6 7 3 1374.75
3 Lauren Deason
Editorial Coordinator
1 2 5 8 0 1280.24
4 Mike McAllister
Managing Editor
1 2 3 6 1 991.85
5 Chris Dunham
Editorial Coordinator
1 2 3 7 1 971.58
6 John Swantek
Host, On The Tee
0 1 4 5 2 866.42
7 Brian Wacker
Site Producer
1 2 3 3 2 863.71
8 Helen Ross
Chief of Correspondents
0 2 2 7 0 749.80
9 Anne Szeker
Site Producer
0 1 2 6 0 534.92
10 John Schwarb
Site Producer
0 1 2 6 2 443.75

The PGA TOUR travels to Humble, Texas for the Shell Houston Open this week. Here's how the PGATOUR.COM experts sized up the top contenders: