|Shell Houston Open - April 17, 2006
SHELL HOUSTON OPEN
Dates: April 17-24, 2006
Where: Redstone Golf Club, The Tournament Course
Par: 36-36—72; Yardage: 7,422
Defending Champion: Vijay Singh 64-71-70-70—275 (-13)
Television: USA on Thursday/Friday; CBS on Saturday/Sunday
2006 Purse: $5,500,000; Winner’s share: $954,000
Update on Vijay Singh
Two-time defending champion heads into the Shell Houston Open without a victory in 17 starts, his longest victory drought since 2002 when he went 18 starts between wins. Regardless, Singh leads the PGA TOUR with seven top-10s in nine events, including a runner-up playoff loss to Stuart Appleby at the Mercedes Championships. He also contended most of the week the Masters Tournament before finishing T8, four strokes back of Phil Mickelson.
- Vijay Singh’s first-round 64 in 2005 tied the course record set by Hank Kuehne in 2003 and matched by Jeff Maggert and Greg Chalmers that same year. Singh’s 64 was also 10 strokes better than his first-round 74 in a winning effort in 2004.
- With his 2005 SHO victory, Vijay Singh joined Curtis Strange (1980, 1986, 1988) as a three-time winner of the Shell Houston Open, having won in 2002, 2004 and 2005. He also surpassed $40 million in earnings with a $900,000 paycheck for a total of $40,596,502, second all-time behind Tiger Woods.
- The playoff between Vijay Singh and John Daly was the 19th in the 58-year history of the Shell Houston Open and the first since 2000 when Robert Allenby defeated Craig Stadler.
The second-place finish by John Daly in 2005 was his third straight top-10 at Redstone Golf Club. Prior to the move to Redstone GC in 2003, he had just one top-10 in nine trips to The Woodlands, the previous home of the Shell Houston Open.
- Stephen Leaney and Jason Allred both posted aces on the par-3 third hole at the 2005 Shell Houston Open, the first time since 1995 that two players have recorded aces at the SHO. Leaney used a 6-iron from 199 yards in the third round while Allred used a 5-iron from 208 yards in the final round. There have been four holes-in-one since the tournament moved to Redstone Golf Club in 2003, all on the third hole.
- With his 2005 win at the Shell Houston Open, Vijay Singh moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time top-10 finishes list at the SHO with eight in 10 appearances. In fact, Singh has never missed a cut in Houston. Jack Burke, Jr. leads the top-10 category with nine in 24 appearances.
- Jimmy Demaret made 17 straight cuts at the Shell Houston Open from 1946-1964 to hold the tournament record. Demaret missed just one cut (1965) in 19 Houston appearances.
- For the second straight year, Vijay Singh posted a bogey-free final round in his victory at the Shell Houston Open. Singh also was bogey-free during round one of the tournament and saw his streak of 64 straight holes without a bogey at the Shell Houston Open come to an end on his eighth hole during round two.
- Gavin Coles, a co-leader through 36- and 54-holes at the 2005 Shell Houston Open, had never previously led or shared the lead at a PGA TOUR event. Coles, ranked No. 388 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering the week, was paired with No. 2 Vijay Singh in the final group in 2005 and finished T7 after a final-round 3-over-par 75.
- The 2005 Shell Houston Open field included Phil Blackmar at 6-7 and Gavin Coles at 5-4.
- Vijay Singh will be looking for his third consecutive Shell Houston
Open crown this week and his fourth in the last five years. If he succeeds, he’ll have won the event on three different courses.
- Who was the last person to successfully defend a PGA TOUR title, but on a different course? Tiger Woods, who won the 2002 WGC-American Express Championship in Ireland and the 2003 tournament in Atlanta.
- Winning the same event three years in a row has been done at two other Texas tournaments. Tom Watson won the EDS Byron Nelson Classic from 1978-80 and Arnold Palmer won the Valero Texas Open from 1960-62.
- If history is any indicator, don’t look for a Texan to win this week
at the Shell Houston Open. Only two native Texans (Phil Blackmar, Mark Brooks) have won the event in the last 45 years.
- When he won last week’s Verizon Heritage, Aaron Baddeley became the fifth player in his 20s to win this season. He joins J.B. Holmes, Rory Sabbatini, Geoff Ogilvy and Luke Donald on that list.
- Baddeley’s victory last week was the 182nd by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR and the seventh this year.
- A bit of golf history has collected in Savannah, GA, this week for
the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. The field at the tournament that prompted the Champions Tour features 30 former major championship winners.
- Look out for Tom Kite this week. The Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf is the 800th official money event in Champions Tour history and Kite won the 600th and 700th events.
- A couple of Champions Tour players tuned up last week by making the cut on the PGA TOUR at the Verizon Heritage. Peter Jacobsen and Loren Roberts both finished in a T27 while Craig Stadler and Jay Haas both missed the cut.
- If Tripp Isenhour picks up his third win of the season this week, he will earn the earliest automatic promotion to the PGA TOUR in Nationwide Tour history. Heath Slocum holds the current record, advancing to the PGA TOUR after his third win on Aug. 5, 2001.
- The field at this week’s inaugural Athens Regional Foundation Classic features 37 former PGA TOUR winners who have a collective 69 TOUR titles. Included in that list are former major championship winners Wayne Grady and Larry Mize, three former Ryder Cup competitors (Steve Pate, Chip Beck and
Mize) and two former Presidents Cup team members (Notah Begay III and Bradley Hughes).
- When Mize tees it up this week, he’ll become the eighth player to play on the Nationwide Tour after winning a major championship. He joins Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Dave Stockton, Andy North, Bob Charles, Scott Simpson and Grady.Z
- There will be a distinctly local flavor to this week’s event in
Athens, the home of the University of Georgia. No less than nine former Bulldogs are competing — Nick Cassini, Erik Compton, Franklin Langham, Tim Simpson, Chip Beck, Paul Claxton, Justin Bolli, Tommy Tolles and David Denham.