Roll Call: Houston Open


#1

Anyone making the trek out to the now sponsor-less Houston Open? Very curious to see how Shell’s departure effects hospitality tents, attendance, etc. I will be out there Friday morning assuming the weather is good.


#2

I am making a appearance.


#3

I’ll be out at least one day and maybe more depending on what tickets are passed to me. I sure hope the HGA/PGA Tourget this sponsorship thing sorted out.


#4

It looks like Shell’s departure is having serious ripple effects for the tournament (and my personal 6th major). Losing the spot before the Masters will significantly hurt the quality of the field. The HGA losing the lease on Golf Club of Houston is also painful, but not an insurmountable challenge when attracting players. This tournament has bounced around from Sharpstown to the Woodlands and improved with each iteration.

I had heard through the grapevine that the HGA had plans to renovate Memorial Park and move the tournament from Humble to Houston which would be fantastic. The city getting an improvement on their best Muni would benefit all stakeholders. It would be exciting for the HGA to follow the trend shown with Winterpark 9 and Goat Hill and develop a master plan for Memorial, Sharpstown, Gus Wortham, Brock Park, Herman Park, etc. ( http://www.houstontx.gov/municipalgolf/index.html )

All of this, of course, won’t happen without sponsorship dollars. Below are some community leaders that should step up and #SaveOurTourney

  • Johnny Dang & Co. - replace the traditional trophy with an iced out grill. Have Bun B and Paul Wall announce each group on the first tee. Convince me this won’t be the best #GrowTheGame initiative to date

  • Jim Crane - already owns the Floridian and the Astros. Everything he touches right now is gold

  • “Big Oil” - tie the size of the purse to WTI’s spot price

  • Insperity - already sponsor a Senior Tour event

Who else am I not thinking of from the greater H-Town area needs to step up and sponsor this event?


#5

United? They have that huge hub at Bush Airport. They aren’t a great airline but they have the dollars to keep it tied down here


#6

I just got home from following Mickelson, Rose and Henley (hat tip to Phil for washing his ball twice on 18). Sean Foley was walking outside the ropes and being very gracious with his fanboys. Hair gel game was on point as well.

Great crowds for a Friday morning but the lack of a title sponsor was very apparent. The grandstands, sponsor demonstration areas and merch tent were all much smaller than in years past. The course is in immaculate shape.

Heard an interesting rumor that the HGA had a multi year sponsorship offer from the hospitals in the Medical Center, but they declined it hoping for a single title sponsor.


#7

Yeah I was out on the course for most of the day and the #Csuite has seen its presence dialed back. The crowds are very lively and the leaderboard looks very nice going into the weekend.


#8

further confirmation that this tournament’s future is in jeopardy.

HOWEVA (stephen a. smith voice), Rich Kinder did just give $70MM to Memorial Park for updates. I doubt they could revamp the course in time for 2019, but I’m not ready to say the Houston Open is dead yet.

http://memorialparkconservancy.org/latest-news/98-kinders-pledge-70-million-to-fast-track-memorial-park-restoration.html


#9

Besides Memorial, where else could host? I know The Woodlands has that Champions Event and Champions has had the tour championship and has the US Women’s open in 2020. Maybe Bluejack National and get Tiger to host (more or less a pipe dream)


#10

Bluejack is like 60 miles from downtown. It would be more feasible to drive to Austin for the match play than put a tournament in Patrick Reed’s backyard.

Blackhawk (formerly Houstonian) hosted the web/nationwide tour championship something like 10 years ago. Sharpstown has also hosted the Houston Open

Wikipedia:
History
The event was played at several Houston venues until the 1970s, starting 72 years ago at River Oaks Country Club in 1946 before moving to Memorial Park Golf Course in 1947 and, after a year off, moving again to Pine Forest Country Club in 1949 and BraeBurn Country Club in 1950. After this period of wandering, the tournament settled in at Memorial Park from 1951 through 1963. It was at Sharpstown Country Club in 1964 and 1965, moved to Champions Golf Club in 1966 for six years, and then to Westwood Country Club in 1972.

The tournament ventured outside of the city limits in 1973 and 1974 at Quail Valley Country Club in Missouri City, a southwest suburb.[3] It relocated north to The Woodlands in 1975, at Woodlands Country Club until 1984, then at the TPC at The Woodlands through 2002. It moved to its current location near Humble in 2003; initially played at the Members Course, it changed to the Tournament Course in 2006. The facility was known as Redstone Golf Club until December 2013, and is now The Golf Club of Houston.

Memorial is the best bet unless river oaks wants to open their doors (they don’t).

If Ian James Poulter is this tournament’s final champion I won’t ever forgive Shell for dropping sponsorship.


#11

Well looks like Memorial is the hail mary at this point. The lack of a sponsor still is the biggest worry to me since Colonial once again has a sponsor and The National seems very likely to move to Detroit and be sponsored by Quicken Loans once again.


#12

Jim Crane, bucking his head and landing a fall series event? I’ll take it.


#13

I must have totally missed the news. What came out?


#14

#15

Thanks. I wasn’t using the google machine too good apparently.


#16

I tend to be a skeptic, so when all reporting is positive it leaves me concerned. I am happy that Jim Crane seems to have preserved PGA golf in Houston, but I am worried about the impact it will have on the HGA. Playing HJGA summer tournaments helped form my foundation and passion for the game of golf. The HGA also manages and runs the city’s municipal courses. A proper partnership here could allow for a city-wide renovation of golf courses, baseball and softball fields and the other existing green spaces.

Press Release:

Info on the Houston Astros Foundation:

The Foundation has already committed $18MM to renovating baseball and softball fields in public parks. With their other stated goal being moving the tournament to Memorial Park, I can only hope Houston muni’s get the upgrade they deserve.

Rich Kinder has already committed $70MM to the Memorial Park conservancy, hopefully expediting the course renovations ( http://www.memorialparkconservancy.org/latest-news/97-memorial-park-accelerates-visionary-plan-with-70-million-gift-from-kinder-foundation.html )

Someone with more journalistic experience than me needs to tie all of these disparate threads together. I have to imagine there is an opportunity for a “winter park 9” style master plan for all of the city’s golf courses now that most of the funding is in place.


#17

I don’t think Kinder’s money is going to the golf course at all - it’s funding the big projects on walking trails, planting of trees, etc.

While I am glad Houston will still have an event, being in the fall series is a major step back so the tournament director is going to have a mighty struggle to get a field anywhere close to as strong as the pre Masters time slot drew (and that one was wildly uneven). I am not sure how/if they can overcome that, even if they got the TMC consortium to layer in over the top sponsorship to make the purse outsized compared to other fall series events.


#18

My only thought is the Crane owns the Floridian where Claude Harmon teaches. That might encourage guys like DJ and Rickie to come play. I agree, losing the pre-masters spot will significantly impact the field quality. Then again, Jim Herman won a few years ago when the field was supposedly strong.


#19

HGA only runs FM Law Park and they just got the rights to Gus Wortham in 2016 and hopefully the project is compelted soon, as it looke beautiful. I really wish they would give out more updates as I love that course. I think if they ran other courses like Sharpstown, Herman and Memorial they would be more successful, since only Memorial makes money and there are only three public courses in the 610 loop. I too grew up playing in HJGA events and enjoy what they do but I really feel like the HGA dropped the ball here and was very stubborn with their sponsorship. I know people that work with HGA and apparently Timms would not accept anything under the 12-15 million dollar price tag and had multiple offers, which seems ridiculous to give that up. After reading NO LAYING UP reviews of other tournament I think the HGA really misses the mark on making the tournament stand out. I love the Houston Open but it is pretty BLAH when you attend. My wife and other non golfers get bored with any thing but the drunk caddie races on 16. I think Crane taking over will really benefit the city and he certainly know how to bring in crowds.


#20

Sorry to disappoint the non golfers, but it is a golf tournament not a school carnival.