What To Watch For At The Shell Houston Open

2013 Shell Houston Open kicks off today albeit two week prior to the Masters this year given a weird shift in the calendar days. Here are the players Mulligang will be looking out for this week:

Rory McIlroy


Rory casually working on his swing at Miami Muni Municipal Golf Course

All eyes will be in Rory this week, which is actually no different than any other week. Even though Tiger is now the new world number 1, McIlroy is really naive thinking that that will remove him from the public microscope. McIlroy has real issues though it’s safe now to rule out his equipment being the root problem seeing as how Woods, a lifetime Nike endorser, has already won three tournaments this season.

McIlroy’s problems are entirely his own and the scrutiny will not stop until he starts winning because “Winning Takes Care of Everything.” Going into the Shell Houston Open, McIlroy has missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, lost in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and walked off the course in the second round of the Honda Classic later citing a bogus toothache. McIlroy managed to break par for the first time all year in the final round of Doral where he closed with a 65 to crack the top 10. However, Rory shouldn’t even have been playing in that final round if it had a 2nd round cut like all other tournaments.

With two weeks off and Woods not playing this week, question is, will Rory get his “finger out of his ass” and win? Maybe a good shag by hot girlfriend tennis player, Woz, and a long session at the public range (badass that he turns up at a municipal course with the other amateur hacks) is all he needs to get back on track.

Phil Mickelson
Lefty has had an up-and-down ride this year. After winning the Pheonix Open and finishing T3 at the WGC-Cadillac Open, Mickelson has failed to finish inside the top-20 in each of his five other appearances including being cut at the API after a sh*tty Friday where he posted a 79 that included a four-putt from five feet.

Catchy viral videos like his lob shot over Roger Cleveland (here) have kept him in the spotlight and in the good graces of his fans. Question is, how will Mickelson, who has fallen out of the world top 10 rankings, do this week at an event he’s won and T-4 at the past two years?

Steve Stricker

Semi-retired, world number 8 is having a stellar year. Stricker has already earned over USD1.8 Million this season with three top 10 finishes in three starts (2nd at Hyundai Tournament, T-5 at WGC Match Play, 2nd at WGC-Cadillac). Pair all of that with Stricker’s soon to be part time gig as Tiger Woods’ trusty putting coach and he’s well on his way to a monsters year. Let’s see if he can keep his top 10 streak going at the Shell Houston Open this weekend. Seeing as how well things have been going for him, wouldn’t be surprised if he won the damn event.

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley
Bradley has gone T-4 (Honda Classic), 7th (WGC-Cadillac) and T-3 (Arnold Palmer Invitational) in his last three starts. Can he pull together a few wins starting with the Shell Houston Open this weekend before he’s forced to give up his broomstick putter?

Hunter Mahan
PGA Championship - Round Two
Last year’s defending champion has had a B+ season finishing in the middle to bottom half of the top 25 pack in all of his starts aside from an 8th at Northern Trust against less than stellar competition and a 2nd place finish at the WGC-Match Play. Let’s see if he can pull it together and defend his title this weekend. Seems highly unlikely… At least he’ll be swagged out in his Ping flat-bill and Under Armour gear.

Anthony Kim
On a side note, where the heck is Anthony Kim? The wonder kid who stormed into the public view in 2008 when he helped the US team win the Ryder Cup. Since winning the Shell Houston Open just three years ago, he’s basically fallen completely off the radar and has yet to compete this year. Don’t believe Kim’s playing this week and is currently listed at 1,000-to-1 odds that he’ll win a PGA Tour event this year. What’s happened to you, AK? Still having problems with your Achilles?

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