Yo Holmes, To Augusta – Final Thoughts On Shell Houston Open

Yes, That Was A Play On The Fresh Prince Theme Song

Not my best post title ever, I can admit that. I can also admit that J.B. Holmes was overdue for another tour win has he has been knocking on the door of winning all season long. His last 6 starts have resulted in finishes of 2, T10, T22, 2, MC, and now a win. Of course the missed cut at the Arnold Palmer is the week I chose to use him in my fantasy pool, but that is a tangent for another time. Holmes was in it to win it at Houston from his first swing on Thursday. Well, actually his 2nd swing because he holed out for eagle from the fairway on his 1st hole of the event. His opening 65 was good enough to be near the top of the leaderboard, but is 3rd round 73 meant he was going off well before the leaders on Sunday. That isn’t always a bad thing.

JB used his early time to his advantage by running out to a hot start with a front nine 28. He made birdies on 7 of his first nine holes. The #59watch was on (briefly). The back nine in Houston is much tougher than the front, especially the closing holes. The inward nine put a halt to the 59 thoughts and JB posted 64 for the round and a -16 total for the rest of the field to stare at atop the leaderboard.

Holmes waited over 2 hours for the field to finish. Once in the playoff his two pars on the tough 18th hole were good enough to get the win over Johnson Wagner and Jordan Spieth. I doubt he thought he could run down 54 hole leader Spieth when trailing by six shots to start the day, but goals change quickly when you shoot a 20 something on your first nine.

Now don’t go picking JB in your Masters pools this week just yet. For one, he was dead last in driving accuracy this week at the Shell. On top of that, Holmes often disappears from the leaderboard for a few weeks immediately after he wins.

The Field

Nobody roots against JB Holmes, but sentimentalists were pulling for Wagner in the playoff. Wagner won in Houston in 2008 and was playing on a sponsor’s exemption this week. He hasn’t won since the Sony in 2013. He had a horrible 2014 and hadn’t had a top 10 in forever. A win also would have put him in the Masters field next week. Plus, his reaction to holing his birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie Holmes was epic.

That hole is nearly impossible when you play it in cold weather with soft conditions and into the wind. JW birdied it with all the guacamole on the line. Then he missed a 4 footer to extend the playoff with Holmes in the 2nd playoff hole. Ouch.

Week in and week out no player on the Tour delivers like Jordan Spieth does. The kid is the perfect combination of clutch and talent. He’s played so well over the last 5 months you kind of expect him to win when he contends. I suspect a lot of journos penned their Spieth stories about him winning early on Sunday morning when he was the 54 hole leader. Jordan didn’t lose the Shell Houston Open, he got beat by Holmes. He did enough to find his way into the playoff, including a ballsy par putt at the final hole, then he played the first playoff hole like a nervous 21 year old.

His tee shot was way to close to the H2O and stayed on a severe ball-above-the-feet lie forcing him to throw a Hail Mary at the green. His 2nd shot found the bunker, and just as Johnny Miller told us how good Jordan is from the sand, Spieth hit one fluffy and blamed it on a fan taking a cell phone pic during his swing. Hey, you have to blame someone, that is what Tiger has taught us.

In the 3rd round Jordan played with Hunter Mahan. Late in the round the two failed to communicate as to who was away as they prepped approach shots. Mahan began his routine as did Spieth. They pulled the trigger about 3 seconds apart with Hunter playing first. The sound of Mahan’s club face hitting his ball during Jordan’s swing had no impact on Spieth’s stroke. In fact, he stuck it close. So why does a click that you can’t hear on TV make a player act like a grenade went off behind him? In a word….nerves. Jordan isn’t perfect but I wish he would have taken the non-Bubba approach to whatever distracted him in the sand.

Phil was in Houston, and for 36 holes Bitch Tits looked pretty damn good. Too bad for him PGA Tour events are played for 72 holes. Weekends haven’t been great for Phil as Golf Channel’s Justin Ray tells us via his tweet:

On Sunday FIGJAM had a decent round going until he found the hazard near the 18th green on his approach shot. He tried to play out of the shit and left it in, then dropped and got up and down for a double. His would-be 69 resulted in a sloppy 71. Anyone that has an opinion on what version of Phil will be playing Augusta next week is guessing. He’s always been a wildcard and will be even more so this year with the current state of his game.

The final SHO leaderboard shows the name Austin Cook if you look at is close enough and perhaps scroll down a hair. Who is he? He was Cinderella for 3 and a half days in Houston. Cook was making his 2nd PGA Tour start after Monday qualifying for the Shell. He previously played at St. Jude where he placed T13. Cook played at Arkansas. His brother carried the stand bag he’s still using like a college player or a weekend warrior would. The dude played great on Saturday paired with Phil Mickelson. I was impressed.

He had a pretty decent Sunday going until bogies on his last 3 holes dropped him to T11. There’s no shame in that, but it does mean he was one shot out of the top 10. That stroke cost him an automatic spot in the PGA Tour event played immediately after the Masters.

Shot Of The Week

With the shitty weather in Houston on Sunday there weren’t a bunch of great shots to consider for a Shot of the Day. So fuck it, I’ll give you the Shot of the Week. Patrick Reed’s ace from round 3 gets the nod:

In round 2 Reed complained about a knee injury. A day later he’s running down a wooden bridge celebrating his ace by racing his brother-in-law? Weird. He said his knee only hurt has he shifted his weight, not when he bent it. I don’t think I’d be fucking around with that with the Masters looming.

$woosh Ad Wizards At Their Best

I take plenty of shots at Nike. They’re an easy target. No cheap shots today. This one is legit. Here’s their latest spot featuring a young Rory idolizing his hero:

Cool, very cool. I’d love to know how they approached Tiger to get him to agree to it. I guess being idolized has a certain appeal, but the way he is portrayed in the add also makes it look like he’s near the end. Perhaps that is true, and we know it, but he does not.

Shouting In That Amen Corner

It is here. It is finally here…..sort of. By the time you read this post Masters week will be officially upon us. As always SFG will be all over the comings, goings, and happenings of the week at Augusta (from my living room). There will be posts every day and probably more tweets than you care to read. Tune in tomorrow. Its go time.

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