Houston, We Have Fantasy Solutions!
By James Dalthorp III
BEAST DOME NATION.
This week marks a strong shift in the guard in general professional golf and if you’ve found this page, you are quite lucky because I have the insights you need to make this week happen. We’re two weeks away from the first ever November Masters Tournament and we’re also headed to a city I’ve lived, Houston, for a brand new edition of a tournament at a golf course that has never had ANY competition on it. And I have the deets!!
I don’t expect anyone to know this information and publicly talk about it, so brace yourselves. There is more if you want it so make sure to hit the BEASTDOME email in the bottom if you’re interested.
Memorial Park Golf Course was redesigned in part by Ben Crenshaw and with additional insight from Brooks Koepka. I have competed at the old course and they are COMPLETELY different now. Early feedback from reputable names in the game of golf tell me that this course is actually much easier than the old layout – which makes me think that maybe Astros owner Jim Crane, who was determined to keep this event in Houston, is trying to make this a shootout tournament and bring more attention to the event.
For pros, I can see this course being much easier. It was already gettable – and by all accounts, there appears to be a clear difference between this event and the previous Houston Opens at Redstone (or Golf Club of Houston, as it’s now known).
The clear thing to me that makes this a possible birdie fest is the fact that the greens are probably still new and therefore may not be receptive in some areas and more receptive in others. For pros, that shouldn’t make a difference. The greens might just be a little slower in spots – and from what I can see, there’s really not much trouble if you miss the greens (which keeps the course true to it’s original form).
This event was held here very long ago – and Crane spent over 30 million dollars completely reinventing this wheel. I think the event was meant to break current PGA records – which might give the event more prominence. This is Astros country – and I think based on the current climate in this very volatile sports town – there will be a high level of expectation that this event will not only deliver huge attention but provide great golfers with a chance to show off. The course has some water, but overall it’s fairly flat and offers longer hitters a chance to really capitalize.
1. Tony Finau
Here are 3 reasons why I think Tony Finau is your top choice this week. First, he finished T8 and T11 in his last two starts with great fields. One of those was a major. That’s significant, considering he didn’t play too well closing out last season. He’s playing great! Plus, he’s paced his season and had more reps so far than Koepka and DJ. Finally, my ultimate reason: I think Tony plays well this time of the year. And this course gives Tony a unique opportunity: nobody knows the greens, nobody knows the tricks of the course. No veteran will have an advantage over him under pressure. And those are all the things Tony needs to get his first win.
2. Matt Jones
After a solid week in Bermuda, it’s apparent to me that Jones is in the years of his career where he can truly break through. He has tremendous experience and he’s had some high finishes in events like this in the past. I believe that Jones like this event, because he’s played the Houston Open many times. He hasn’t been great there, but with a new course and coming off a good week – he should be a strong contender.
3. Beau Hossler
Texas natives will find a lot of solace in having a Houston Open in such a prime location. I think Hossler will certainly thrive in this type of environment. A U. of Texas alum, Houston’s courses should fit Hossler’s eye. He plays well at traditional courses and is also a birdie machine. I believe his game will fit this layout quite nicely – and he has tons of experiences playing golf in this state.
4. Talor Gooch
We’ve seen some up and coming players finally rise to the top of their games of late – for example, Doug Ghim last week. Gooch has been trending in the right direction for quite a while and I think he’s finally ready to get some. I think his experience as an Oklahoma State alum will help – and I will add Viktor Hovland to this mix as well. I think Gooch can do better at an event like this than Hovland because Viktor is great on tougher courses. Gooch is a birdie maker – and this is his show.
5. Justin Harding
Justin went to local Lamar University, just an hour away – and the South African has had a very interesting professional career to date. This event is not only a familiar return to the states for him – but gives him a unique opportunity to claim status over here. He’s had some top 25 finishes in big majors – including his first one at the Masters in 2019. Harding is returning to Augusta in 2 weeks – and this is the ideal place for him to tune up. I know his game and he’s a great ball striker and makes tons of birdies.
6. Ryan Armour
Coming off a good performance in Bermuda, Armour is a true representation of a journeyman and a birdfiest in Houston is a great place for such a player. Armour’s game is not flashy and his swing is not exciting. He hits solid shots and controls his ball flight quite well. No matter what happens between now and the first round in Houston, I know that Armour will bring his best stuff next week. He’s in his prime.