The Shell Houston Open tees off on Thursday, March 22. This is the last event before the Masters, and all of the golfers in the field are looking to build some momentum. Some players are simply looking to get a strong performance in before the first major of the year. Others like Ernie Els are fighting for the chance just to qualify for Augusta. The tee times and groups are set for the Shell Houston Open.
Here are some of the most intriguing groups to watch:
This group features two former major champions and the third-ranked golfer in the world. Bradley has had a strong season so far and is looking to build confidence in hopes of seeking his second straight major. McDowell is coming off of a runner-up finish at Bay Hill and should be a factor. Meanwhile, the highly ranked Westwood is hoping to round into shape as he pursues his first major title.
Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel, and Fred Couples
Mickelson won in Houston in 2011 and should be a contender again. Schwartzel wants to prove that he will be a contender for his second straight Green Jacket. The veteran Couples might not be a big contender, but he will be one of the most popular players at the event.
All three of these golfers own titles in 2012. Mahan's WGC title might be the biggest of the year so far. He is a rising star and many think he is due to break through at a major. Meanwhile, Stricker and Wagner won early-season events and should be threats once again.
Ernie Els, Anthony Kim, and Kyle Stanley
All eyes will be on Els. He essentially needs a win in order to avoid missing the Masters for the first time in nearly two decades. Els has contended at his last two events and should do so again here. Kim is a popular golfer that seems to be up and down. Meanwhile, Stanley has already won once in 2012.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.