The Houston Open is back on the PGA TOUR schedule. No problem.
Made possible by a five-year agreement with the Astros Foundation, the hiatus for one of the longest-running stops lasted only one season. And given the emergence of the Houston Astros as a perennial force in the Major League Baseball playoffs, it's fitting that the tournament returns in October.
The Tournament Course at Golf Club in Houston hosts for the 14th consecutive and last time. For details on the track, what's next and more, scroll past the projected contenders in the 144-man field.
Power Rankings: Houston Open
Cameron Champ, Kyle Stanley, Harris English, 2014 champion Matt Jones and other notables will be reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Since its debut in 2006, the Tournament Course has served as the backdrop for the Houston Open in late March or early April, so this week's setup will differ than what returning competitors have experienced.
With the winter overseed unnecessary this deep into the year, the large, segmented greens are entirely MiniVerde bermudagrass running at 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. That's a foot shorter than the max when the course was prepped as a primer in the week before the Masters, but the challenge remains high due to distinct undulations. The rest of the property is blanketed with TifSport bermuda.
The value of finding fairways will be higher perhaps than in any of the previous contests. With the new date, primary rough has been allowed to grow up to two inches. And with a rainy summer in advance, the grass is lush. So, the wise strategy on the stock par 72 tipping at 7,441 yards is to attack most holes backwards for GC of Houston may no longer be a second-shot track.
Although the course is one of the easiest on which to salvage par, the premium will be on piling up scoring opportunities so as to have a chance at the trophy. Consider that the 2018 field averaged just 70.600. It was a record low due to the extended impact of Hurricane Harvey the previous fall. With higher primary rough and pure bermuda this week, scoring should rise.
Summertime air will hang on through Thursday when the daytime high could touch 90 degrees. A system will pass through by Friday when a delay in the action cannot be ruled out. In its wake will be a drop of 15-20 degrees for the weekend highs. Moderate winds will influence club selection during the first three rounds.
Sunday's scheduled finale just might be the best day over which Mother Nature ever has presided at GC of Houston, so it'll be a terrific way to bid the course adieu. Beginning next year, Memorial Park Golf Course will take over duties as host. It's just five miles west of Minute Maid Park where the Astros call home.
NOTE: Defending champion Ian Poulter is scheduled to play the European Tour's Italian Open.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
THURSDAY: Champions One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.