Preview: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open

ByDavid M. Conte

Nov 9, 2021

After 43 events for the calendar year (including seven on the current schedule), only this week and the next are left in terms of open field events for 2021 that comfortably meets the dictionary definition of the penultimate.

(Greg Norman’s Tiger’s Hero Challenge and Shark Shootout will attempt to quench the public’s seemingly insatiable thirst for golf in December.)

Decent terrain and a more interesting course than that offered most weeks by the Tour make this a tournament to watch.

TITLE CHAMPION: Carlos ortiz became the first Mexican player to win a PGA Tour event in 42 years with an impressive two-stroke victory over Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama in 2020.

CLASSES: The Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston is one of the most interesting tracks on the Tour schedule for two reasons: it’s public and is a collaboration between quadruple major winner Brooks Koepka and legendary architect Tom Doak.

LAW: Carlos Ortiz of Mexico claimed a drought victory for his country here in 2020. PHOTO: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images.

On his website, Doak describes the plan to redesign one of the city’s busiest public courses: home of the PGA Tour’s Houston Open. The other imperative was to make sure the course would be well drained to deal with whatever the weather might throw at a future event.

“Together with our consultant, (now former) World No. 1 player Brooks Koepka, we agreed that our priority should not be to defend the par, but to provide opportunities for dramatic lead changes and excitement for golfers and golfers. the fans.”

The 2020 event certainly served that purpose with eventual winner Ortiz fending off two of the game’s biggest stars at Johnson and Matsuyama in a dramatic final battle of nine.

Ortiz practically sealed the deal with a two-putt birdie in the 16th par-5, the icing on the cake being a 20-foot birdie on the last to make it a two-stroke win instead of one.

Expect more of that kind of drama this year on a course that has been transformed into a course almost universally considered to be one of America’s best municipal facilities, perhaps more important than who wins the check. of the winner of over a million dollars this week.

For an organization that is not used to setting a good example, the PGA Tour gets a tick in the case of Memorial Park.

They deserve credit for drawing attention to an aspect of the game (public golf) far more important than the value of their members’ pension funds and this week’s event certainly does.

PRICE : US $ 7,500,000

A regular winner in the State of Texas, Adam Scott will play the game for a second consecutive year at Memorial Park. PHOTO: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

There are 19 of the top 50 in the world this week with 6th place Justin thomas the only top 10 player to make the trip.

The real storylines of most events at this time of year in the United States, however, are not the stars of the game, but only die-hard fans can find out and they are often rewarded with some gripping golf.

With more to play than the gaming superstars and the possibility of finding a job for the next year with decent play, golf tends to be both aggressive and train crash prone.

Among those who could benefit from a FedExCup point boost before Christmas are some interesting and well-accredited players with two stars of the European Tour standing out.

South Africa Christiaan Bezuidenhout and England Tyrrell hatton are both currently outside the top 100 and while neither panics, both would prefer to be a bit higher at the end of the year.

Hatton finished in the top 10 here last year and a similar result wouldn’t be a surprise this week as Bezuidenhout makes his Memorial Park debut.

The South African is a quantity less known in the United States than in Europe but he knows how to impose himself with three victories on the continent and four trophies of the Sunshine Tour in his cabinet.

His current form is good with a T13 result in Mexico and it would be a surprise if he didn’t continue this good game in Texas.

72 HOLE RECORDING: 266, Strange Curtis and Lee trevino (1980), Vijay Singh (2002).

FORMER AUSSIE WINNER: Bruce Devlin (1972); Bruce Crampton (1973 and 1975); David Graham (1983); Stuart Appleby (1999 and 2006); Robert Allenby (2000); Adam Scott (2007); Matt Jones (2014).

AUSTRALIANS ON THE GROUND: Cam Davis, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott and Cam Smith.

TV SCHEDULES*
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
2nd round: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5h – 8h)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5 a.m. – 8 a.m.)
* AEDT, consult local guides

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