Shell Houston Open Moves Back to Week Before The Masters in 2014
The Shell Houston Open has traditionally been played the week before the Masters. That scheduling decision made a great deal of sense due to the fact that tournament organizers do their best to replicate the conditions the golfers will see at Augusta National. As such, many of the PGA Tour pros use the event as their last tune-up before heading to Augusta.
This year, the tournament was played a week earlier than usual, with the Valero Texas Open providing a buffer between Redstone Golf Club and Augusta National. In 2014, the Shell Houston Open will move back to its spot as the event immediately preceding the Masters.
There are certainly some drawbacks to this position on the schedule. One of the biggest obstacles is the fact that many of the higher-profile players in the world prefer to take the week before the first major championship of the year off in order to focus on the task at hand. This can be somewhat mitigated by the fact that the course at Redstone is an adequate representation of what they players will face at Augusta.
The event has had no trouble attracting top-tier talent in the past, and I don’t anticipate that problem arising next year. Additionally, there were several players in this year’s field that had not played the even in the past and there’s a good chance they could return next year, despite the change in dates.
Some players were not exactly enthused about the fact that tournament was moved up a week this year because they took advantage of playing competitive golf on a course that resembled Augusta as a chance to fine tune their game for the major. “I haven’t taken the week off before the Masters in a couple of decades,” said Phil Mickelson. “But I’m going to have to learn how to do that now that we’re not really having tournaments conducive to getting ready for those tournaments.”
Mickelson and those that share the same mindset will be happy to see next year’s schedule leading up to the Masters.