Memorial Park welcomes the PGA Tour for a second straight season. Words and form stats supplied by Andy Swales...
"Perhaps the best players to watch are those with something still to prove, such as Scottie Scheffler who is yet to register a maiden PGA Tour title. The world No 21 enjoyed a Ryder Cup high in September but awaits individual success and will be keen to make his breakthrough in his home state."
With the golfing year slowly drawing to a close, the PGA Tour travels to Texas for the fifth and final time in 2021.
This week's Vivint Houston Open is one of the longest-running top tier professional tournaments in American golf.
First staged in 1946, this year's instalment will be the 74th and returns to Memorial Park for a second straight year.
On the tee
The biggest name on the entry list is four-time major champ Brooks Koepka.
However, despite playing a key role in rejuvenating and renovating the course to PGA Tour standards a couple of years ago, the world No 15's form is hardly scintillating.
Koepka, by his own high standards, hasn't played well since July, and is without a single top-20 finish in seven outings.
At this time of year it's hard to judge the motivation of the pros heading into run of the mill tournaments such as these.
Unlike the European Tour, which reaches a climax in Dubai next week, its American equivalent is merely winding down ahead of a seven-week break over Christmas and New Year.
Latest betting for Houston Open
Perhaps the best players to watch are those with something still to prove, such as Scottie Scheffler who is yet to register a maiden PGA Tour title.
The world No 21 enjoyed a Ryder Cup high in September but awaits individual success and will be keen to make his breakthrough in his home state. He was fourth in Mexico on Sunday.
Matthew Wolff is already a winner but after a poor 12 months, finally discovered some recent good form in Nevada (2nd) and Mexico (T-5th) - and will want to keep that going this weekend.
Finally, two other in-form players are defending champion Carlos Ortiz and Taylor Gooch.
Ortiz was runner-up on home soil at the weekend, while Gooch has posted four straight top-12 finishes. He too awaits a first PGA Tour trophy.
Memorial Park is a leading public course located in one of the largest urban parks in the United States.
Starting out as a nine-hole venue, the site was completely re-designed by John Bredemus in 1936 and has staged the Houston Open 15 times.
It made its tournament debut in 1947, was host for 13 straight years from 1951, before returning to the schedule 12 months ago after almost six decades out of the spotlight.
The course was renovated 26 years ago, at a cost of $7m, and it was here where former PGA Championship winner Dave Marr learned to play golf.
And with the PGA Tour returning to Memorial Park in 2020, some more renovations were carried out under the watchful eyes of architect Tom Doak and Koepka.
This included the widening of some fairways, although the rough was toughened up to compensate.
The comprehensive redesign brought ravines and water into play, while reducing the number of bunkers from 54 to 19.
Located three miles west of downtown Houston, and approximately 35 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Memorial Park is a parkland layout which covers an area of 250 acres.
It has Bermuda grass fairways and undulating putting surfaces which are slightly larger than the PGA Tour average.
Water comes into play on just four holes, with all but one of these arriving late in the round.
However, with many of the ravines now coming into play more, the potential damage to a scorecard is far greater than it may appear at first glance.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves
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