Preview: The Houston Open

By Chris Havlicek

Updated 3/27/24 12:03am ET

The PGA Tour travels to Texas for a quick two-week stint before the first major championship at Augusta. The Houston Open is reintroduced this week after its absence in 2023, and the event will welcome a strong cast to Memorial Park Golf Course.

All eyes will be on Scottie Scheffler (+270 favorite), who is widely considered the world’s best player right now. The big Texan looks to become the first player since Dustin Johnson to win three straight PGA Tour events after victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship.

A player who has challenged Scheffler’s dominance in recent weeks is Wyndham Clark (+1200 second favorite). The reigning U.S. Open winner finished runner-up to Scheffler in these two recent wins, in addition to his earlier win this season.


What: The Houston Open
Where: Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston, TX 
When: Thursday-Sunday, March 28 – March 31
Purse: $9.1 Million
Defending Champion: Tony Finau (2022)

The Course:

Previously played in November for the past three years, the tournament will return to its pre-Masters spot and feature some dramatically different course conditions, due to the Bermuda grass seeding. Even if it will not play as firm and fast as prior editions, Memorial Park remains one of the strongest and most difficult tests on the PGA Tour. Originally designed by John Bredemus, Memorial Park received a complete transformation in 2019 in preparation for future PGA Tour events. Architects lengthened the course, removed dozens of bunkers,  and added more difficulty to the green complexes. In the three prior Houston Opens at Memorial Park, the track has ranked inside the top 12 in scoring difficulty.

The Field:

While the reigning Players champion will garner much of the attention, Wyndham Clark, Will Zalatoris (+1800), Jason Day (+2500), Sahith Theegala (+1600) and defending Houston Open champion Tony Finau (+2500) will all look to dethrone the World No. 1.

Odds: Top 10 (Courtesy of FanDuel):

Scottie Scheffler -900

Will Zalatoris -230

Wyndham Clark – 220

Tony Finau -185

Sahith Theegala -185

Jason Day -160

Alex Noren -150

Si Woo Kim -140

Keith Mitchell -115

Billy Horschel -105

Keys To Victory:

Being good with your long and mid-irons seems to be a key skill for the Houston Open. This course wasn’t built for wedges. Over one-third of the approach shots are expected to come from over 200 yards between the three par-5s, two long par-3s, and five par-4s over 490 yards. The top 10 long iron players in this week’s field are Keith Mitchell, Tom Hoge, Thorbjorn Olesen, Chez Reavie, Robert MacIntyre, Tony Finau, Kevin Dougherty, Luke List, Joe Highsmith, and Matt Wallace.

Birdie opportunities are few and far between at Memorial Park, so it’s crucial to take advantage of those elusive chances. The par-5s ranked inside the top-3 most difficult in scoring average each of the last two years, but even so, this is still where players can gain separation.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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