Fantasy Island Shell Houston Open

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Its funny how the speed-bump-on-the-way-to-Augusta-National has been transformed from a non-starter to a star-studded gathering that includes eight of the top 10 players in the world.
 
More players are trying to play their way into major championship shape, ala Phil Mickelson, and the result is one of the deepest fields this year and one of the more difficult fantasy weeks on Tour.
 

2007 Shell Houston Open

 
Pick a Foursome: Redstone is a second-shot golf course, having ranked 17th or better in proximity to the hole since it became the SHO home in 2006 and its last two champions are among the circuits ball-striking elite (Adam Scott and Johnson Wagner).
 
Depth of field makes head-to-head comparisons difficult, so your best bet is to pick the best ball-striker and hope history holds.
 
Picks: Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Justin Leonard, Dustin Johnson
 
Note: One player from four categories based on the World Golf Ranking (1-10, A; 11-20, B; 21-30, C; 31-40, D). Points awarded on money earned ($1 = 1 point).
 

Salary Cap: Check the record, young Aussie with tons of game rolls into Houston with an eye on Augusta National and breaks camp four days later with a healthy bump in his bank account and confidence. Adam Scott did it in 2007, dont be surprised if Ogilvy stars in Act II.
 
As for McIlroy, theres more to the Northern Irishman than hype. Chances are he will elbow his way into the mix over the next two weeks, and if Knost ' who turned down an invitation to play last years Masters to turn pro ' qualifies it could become the greatest make-good in major championship history.
 
Picks: Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy, Lucas Glover, Rory McIlroy, Colt Knost (Total: $9.23 million)
 
Note: Five players with a $10 million cap based on 2008 earnings. Rookies without 2008 earnings will be priced at $250,000. Standings based on overall team earnings.
 

Pick One: Adam Scott. Hindsight can be cruel. The Aussie seemed like a good pick in January, when his 07 victory and opening-round 63 at last years event made him look like a lock. Who knew hed pick this year to bypass a little Masters prep work?
 
Note: Players must be picked before the start of the season and used only once. Standings based on total earnings.
 
In addition to my PGA Tour Pick One, the GolfChannel.com staff will be offering up their picks to win. A player can be picked a maximum of five times. We will be keeping a running tally of the monies earned each week. The participants include: Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.
 
STAFF PICKS:

NamePlayer PickReasonMoney
Rex HoggardGeoff OgilvyIt may be a tad early to celebrate, what with our sad status in the GolfChannel.com leagues basement, but following back-to-back runner-up weeks we have two words for Gerald Foltz: foot steps.$1,541,140
Jay CoffinStuart ApplebyNot crazy about a T-52 last week at Bay Hill but a T-8 at Transitions and a great history at the Houston Open (two victories and a second-place tie) and hes the easy pick for this week.$3,333,060
Mercer BaggsStuart ApplebyIt would just be too good if Mickelson won this week. Going with Appleby. It's not a major so he might be able to win.$2,898,093
Erik PetersonPhil MickelsonWhen Tiger doesn't play, it's Phil all the way. Now I think I may go eat some hay by the bay.$2,415,517
Brian KoresselStuart ApplebyA win and a pair of runner-up finishes for the Aussie the last four times he's teed it up in Houston.$3,007,566
Dena DavisBob EstesComing off a T17 finish at the 'API ' (that's what the kids call it), I like the 40-year-old journeyman to fare well at Redstone CC (a 'home game' for the Texas native) where he's notched top-10 finishes the last three years.$2,319,672
Jerry FoltzGeoff Ogilvy Aussies tend to do well in Houston and I don't think Norman will surprise us again. Ogilvy, however, is no longer a surprise when he wins.$1,593,569

 

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