Shell Houston Open, Humble, TX (March 30-April 2)

This week on the tour marks the final week until The Masters! Since 2007, the Shell Houston Open has been the last opportunity for players to qualify for the first major of the year as well as served as a final tune-up for the pros. Through the years, this has made for some great fields and great storylines going to Augusta National. This year, some of the biggest names in golf are here to compete and golf,  maybe more than ever, golf fans are ready to get past this week to The Masters.

Picture of Phil Mickelson after his victory in 2009.

The Houston Open has been a tournament in the greater Houston area since 1922, originally just a thirty-six hole event for local professionals. The tournament became an official PGA tour event in 1946 moving around to different courses throughout this history with the current course at the Golf Club of Houston since 2003. The title sponsor has been the Shell Oil Company since 1992, but that sponsorship will expire after this year. Since 1992, the Huston Golf Association has been able to raise $60 million dollars for local charities through the tournament.

Big name players in the field this week include Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Matt Kucher, all of these players being in the top twenty in the world. Phil, Jordan, and Rickie have all had pretty great starts to the season. Phil, with the least exciting performance, has not yet missed a cut this year (10 consecutive) and placing in the top twenty most of those tournaments. Jordan won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year and hasn’t missed a cut in 18 consecutive events. Rickie, being the streaky player that he is, hasn’t played that great this year but won a very difficult tournament, the Honda Classic. My guess is that each of these players will play well this week with the Masters on their mind.

Since this is my last post, I will leave you with this: golf is a great outdoor game of skill and strategy that can be enjoyed at almost any stage in life. It has changed my life for the better and continue to love the game, though I don’t play competitively anymore. I encourage you to tune into the Masters next week at enjoy the great display of power, skill, and sportsmanship that is associated with this game. Who knows, you might love it just as much as me one day.


WGC-Dell Technology Matchplay, Austin, Texas (March 22-26, 2017)

This week on the PGA Tour marks the two week mark until the start of the Masters, and the best of the best in the world are gathered in Texas for the next two weeks for a stretch of unique tournament golf. This stretch is designed to best prepare them for the conditions found at Augusta National, the host of the annual Masters tournament.  It all starts at Austin Country Club for this special matchplay formatted tournament. Similar to last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the events happening off the course are seeming to steal the headlines. The format of the tournament is also a spot of controversy this week.

The PGA Tour has kept this matchplay style event on the tour since 1999, matchplay being a playing of matches between two players against each other with the player at the end of the match who has won the most amount of holes being declared the winner. This is opposed to the conventional method of the entire field competing against each other with a score relative to par, which is refreshing for a

Image of Jason Day as he explains to the media about his future absence from golf.

number of reasons. Golf was originally played as a one on one kind of game where winning was a very defined thing, and every match very intense and personal. Another reason is simply the application of a new style of play. Week in and week out, these tour players grind at a very individual level that can be very hard to maintain mentally and physically. Weeks like this allow for players to destress and work different parts of their golf brain.

As far as the player headlines this week, Jason Day, the number two player in the world had an emotional media day this Tuesday announcing that he was withdrawing from the tournament and from professional golf in general for a while to be with his terminally ill mother who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. Because of Day’s influence in the world of golf, his absence will be missed, especially at the masters tournament where he was a big favorite.

AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 22: Phil Mickelson reacts after putting on the 15th hole of his match during round one of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at the Austin Country Club on March 22, 2017 in Austin, Texas.

With Phil Mickelson playing so well this week and going into the Masters, everyone is sure to be a little more excited about the next couple weeks. The Masters is always the true start of Spring and a place to remember great golf of the past. I truly can’t wait! Anyway, tune in this weekend to catch the end of the tournament. It is sure to be a fight to the death come Sunday.


Arnold Palmer Invitational, Orlando, FL ( March 15-19, 2017)

The entire world of golf comes together this weekend to mourn and celebrate the life of Arnold Palmer, one of the game’s all-time greatest players who died this past November. Bay Hill, the site of
this weeks event, had been the winter home Arnold and the site of his PGA Tour tournament since 1979. This is the first year without the honorable host who created the game of golf we know today. But there is still a tournament to be played, and it’s certain to be a special week in regard to both golf and the golf community.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational started out as the Florida Citrus Open at another club in the Orlando area before Arnold brought the tournament to his home course in 1979. In its short 38 year history, the Arnold Palmer Invitational has seen many notable players in the winners circle including Tom Kite, Payne Stewart, Ben Crenshaw, Fred Couples, Vijay Singh, Phil Michelson, and Tiger Woods. Woods has won the tournament a record-shattering eight times, many including dramatic finishes that has defined Tiger’s career. Jason Day, the current number two player in the world won here last year, receiving Mr. Palmer’s last winner’s handshake on the 18th green.

This year, the Bay Hill Golf Course is in the best shape it has ever been. The greens are rolling at a championship level and the rest of the course is healthy and lush. As far as the weight of the field is concerned, the Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, and many other top players are playing this week. The only reason other big names like Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, and Adam Scott are not here this week is due to scheduling issues, with each of them playing the next three weeks on tour going into the Masters. If there s anything the PGA Tour needs to improve, it’s their ability to schedule.

Either way, this week is going to be super special. No one has done the amount of great for the game of golf that Arnold Palmer has done, and no one is ever going to forget it. No one could ever forget a golfer and personality so well liked. Hopefully this Sunday, a worthy champion will be crowned and Arnie will be watching down from above.

Genesis Open, Pacific Palisades, CA (February 16-19)

Although the stakes of performing well this week at the Genesis Open are not higher than any normal week on the PGA Tour, the drama has definitely turned up in the early stages! With Tiger Woods announcing his withdraw from both this week’s tournament and next week’s Honda Classic, the golfing world has been turned on its head. . . again. As for the other players that frequent this blog, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, and Dustin Johnson, they are on cruse control until the Masters in early April. Here we go!

Our tournament this week is set at the historic and beautiful Riviera Country Club located just outside Los Angeles, CA. Played since 1926, this tournament is extremely rich in history. Just to name a few highlights through the years, the Genesis Open has seen:

  • 1938: “Babe” Zaharias became the first woman to play in a PGA TOUR event.
  • 1952: Joe Louis became the first African-American to compete in a PGA TOUR event.
  • 1962: Jack Nicklaus won his first professional paycheck, earning $33.33.
  • 1969: Charlie Sifford, the first African-American member of the PGA TOUR, won the tournament.
  • 1992: Tiger Woods played in his first PGA TOUR event as an amateur at the age of 16.

With such a exciting track record, its no wonder why a great tournament such as this brings the best in the world year after year.

A look down the 18th fairway from behind the green.

On another note. . . Tiger Woods. Oh man, what a crazy year its been for him already. Just as a recap, Tiger has had to undergo three back surgeries over the past five years with his last occurring at the end of the 2015 season. With this being his third in just a few years, Tiger made it a goal of his to not return to competition until he was completely health and ready to win again.

So fast forward to this January when Tiger made his latest return at the Farmer’s Insurance Open. He failed to make the cut, but he didn’t play that bad, and he was scheduled to play four more events before March.  Everyone, including myself was still pretty excited until two weeks ago when Tiger had to withdraw from a tournament in Abu Dhabi due to back spasms. Here we go again! So now all the golf people are trying desperately to make something out of what is going to happen now. Retirement? Fourth comeback? Who knows. All we can say is get well soon Tiger.

Phil Mickelson sinking a put to win the 2009 Genesis Open.

Moving back to this week, Jordan Spieth is coming off of his first win of the season at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and is looking to continue his good play at Riviera, a course that seems to really fit his game. Number three in the world, Dustin Johnson is looking to also bounce off of a good week at Pebble Beach and play well here. This may prove difficult for DJ considering the accuracy required to win at Riviera. As for Jason Day, the world’s number one player, the season has started off quite slow, but again, a strong performance last week could propel him to greatness.

The weekend at Riviera is sure to be a treat! Even if you don’t usually watch golf, this week is a great time to flip the tournament on and watch.

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Pebble Beach, CA (February 9-12)

Similar to the Waste Management Scottsdale Open last week, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is sure to be a blast! This tournament, originally the Bing Crosby Pro-Amateur Golf Championship, has been played on the tour at Pebble Beach since 1947 and has year after year offered timeless memories. As for the players who are competing this week, we have a great field. Phil Mickelson returns with Pebble Beach being one of his most winning courses and a good record to his season so far. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and Jason Day (World #1) also top out this great field each looking to win on tour for the first time this season.

Like most other tour events, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am consists of 72 holes over the course of four days. As you may have guessed by the title, along with the regular stroke play event that is held between the professionals, a best-ball format tournament takes place between pro-amateur teams. The aspect is what makes this tournament so fun! Through the years, so many well known individuals have played in this tournament right along side the professionals. This week, some of the more notable amateur players include Mark Wahlberg, Bill Murray, Peyton Manning, and Patriot’s coach, Bill Belichick.

Picture of Bill Murray in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, always a staple of the amateur field.

Phil Mickelson has continuously play better and better since his start of the season four weeks ago. Speaking of fours, Phil has won this tournament a record-tying four times with the last being 2012. With such good form coming into the week, he can surly turn back the clock and be in contention on Sunday. As for Jordan Spieth, in the three tournaments that he has played this year, he hasn’t finished the week outside tenth place, so his game should also prove worthy enough to win on Sunday. We haven’t seen much of either Jason Day for Dustin Johnson in the early season, but in their appearances have not lived up to the high standards they each for themselves last season, so the jury is still out on how they will finish the week.

Phil Mickelson tees off during the first round of the tournament.

The weekend is sure to be very entertaining! Even if you don’t usually watch golf, this week is a great time to flip the tournament on and watch. Not only are the celebrities going to be noticeable, the Pebble Beach itself will also be the center for many beautiful backdrops.

Waste Management Phoenix Open, Scottsdale, AZ (February 2-5)

The PGA Tour meets this week in the dessert of Arizona for arguably the most electrifying and fun events of the season. The Phoenix Open, aside from its rich history on tour, proves to be a premier event due to the diverse course conditions, large crowds, and the spectacle that has become the last three holes of the tournament. I touch a little for on that in a bit. As for the player storylines, Phil Mickelson has come back to Arizona for a home crowd, Justin Thomas makes his first appearance back on tour since his third win of the season two weeks ago in Hawaii, and Jordan Spieth looks to capitalized on the great start he has to the year. 

The Waste Management Phoenix Open proves to be the highlight of the early season every year for many reasons. The tournament always falls around being the fifth or six  of the season, allowing players to come into the tournament  with a few good starts under their belts to continue that good play and those without much to show for, to capitalize on a big event still early on in the season. The Phoenix Open was started in 1932, so there is definitely a lot of history involved. Aside from being a very community oriented event since its inception and having been won by many of the game’s greats, the tournament has grown specifically over the past 20 years as “The Greatest Show on Grass”. This reputation is a result of the 16th hole, a very short par three that is now completely surrounded by a stadium of bleachers and box seats. It gets crazy, especially on Sunday!

An overhead view of the iconic 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale.

Phil Mickelson, the second best player on the PGA Tour over the past 20 years (only second to Tiger Woods) and fan favorite, comes back to not only the site of his first win on tour,  he comes to Phoenix to a home crowd because of his attendance of the University of Arizona. Phil is also off to a great start this year already earning a top 25 and top 15 in his first two events of the year. He is expected to deliver!

Due to the amazing season that he has had so far, Justin Thomas is also expected to play well here. Not only is his very long golf game perfect for TPC Scottsdale, he also plays great in an environment where the fans can be more involved. Similar to Phil, Justin is a man of the people. The best part is, these two are actually paired together in the first two rounds.

As for Jordan Speith, despite having not won jet this season, his game a looked great and ready to break through at any tournament. At both of the events that Justin Thomas won earlier this season, Jordan finished third, so he is definitely not far off from getting it done. After the amazing 2015 season and the following, somewhat disappointing 2016 season Jordan had, it will be interesting to see if he can start the climb back to number one in the world.

Hope you tune into the tournament this weekend! It is sure to be a lot of fun. Looking forward to next week at the beautiful Pebble Beach Golf Course.

Farmers Insurance Open, La Jolla, CA (January 26-29)


This week the Professional Gofer’s Association Tour makes the trip from Coachella Valley in Southern California to one of golf’s greatest venues, Torrey Pines, for the Farmers Insurance open. Not only does this tournament have the largest in size and the best field of all the tournaments played so far this year, Tiger Woods is making his official debut to the professional game from taking another lengthy break (522 days) due to back surgery. Other headlines include the first appearance of Jason Day and Dustin Johnson  for the year on the regular tour. Its an exciting time to be a golf fan! Lets take a closer look into what this weeks holds.

So the most obvious highlight of the week is the return of one of the greatest players to have ever played the game. Since the scandal the broke in the Woods family in 2009, which lead to a divorce from his wife and the creation of a huge divide in his career, Tiger has also been plagued with a series of injuries mostly in his knee and lower back. This week at Torrey Pines marks the second return of Tiger Woods to the PGA Tour off of back surgery with the last being  after a 2014 procedure. There are two clear differences that separate those previous returns from the one this week:

  1. Tiger has prepared a TON to be ready to compete again. Because the anticipation for Tiger to return to the game after any absence, he has to emphasize to the world that he will only return when he is able to compete at the highest level. This was a problem for him and rise of controversy from his last return when he was pressured to make a debut in mid-season. This year, he has taken his time for he has been at least practicing at that high level for over four months.
  2. We have also already seen Tiger compete at a professional level prior to this tournament. In November, Tiger hosts his own tournament for charity and invites the top professionals in the game to play. Here, Tiger had the most birdies in the field and only finished in the middle of the pack because of a number of double bogies.

    A look at Phil Mickelson teeing off in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

Among other news, Jason Day, the worlds number one player makes his 2017 regular season debut along with Dustin Johnson who ranks number three in the world. These two always increase the credibility and crowed excitement associated with a tournament. However, no on brings more excitement than the likes of Phil Mickelson. Always a fan favorite, Phil has put together a string of impressive seasons over the last few years with last year being most consistent. Great things look to be in order throughout this week. I sure will be watching!