Friday, April 4, 2008

Proof is in the Setup

I talked several weeks ago about the efforts in recent years by the Shell Houston Open to attract players to the event given its date so close to the Masters. They have basically decided to set up the host course - Redstone - like Augusta. It paid off this year in getting Phil Mickelson to commit to the field in the first place. After being at Augusta Lite, Mickelson is convinced that this tournament is going to become a permanent stop for him.

Q. Phil, lot of guys yesterday kind of said the course is set up similar to Augusta but there's only so much they can do. Can you kind of address? Do you think it's ideal preparation or only so much you can do?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's ideal. It really is. It may not be exact, but all the shots that you have to hit next week, you have the same conditions here. You have the same shots out of the first cut, same shots around the green, tight lies, grain into you. It's very similar. It was just a tremendous job. I'm very impressed.

Q. Is it too early to say you'll be back here again next year?

PHIL MICKELSON: It might be too early, but I would say given the efforts that I've seen this week, I would plan on making this a permanent stop.
As I have mentioned before, and will again now, the SHO has been brilliant in using their date the week before a major to their advantage. They are the only tournament before a major that knows the major it precedes will always be hosted at the same place. So, why not take advantage of it by setting up a reasonable facsimile of Augusta? It was a brilliant play and is paying off for them in spades.

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