Gearing Up for Augusta

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2007 Shell Houston OpenHOUSTON -- The Houston Open has been won by great American players like Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Payne Stewart, Raymond Floyd, Curtis Strange, Fred Couples, Fred Funk and Corey Pavin.
 
But the 10th oldest tournament on the PGA TOUR also boasts a strong history of international champions.
 
When Australia's Adam Scott won by three shots over Stuart Appleby and Bubba Watson last season, he became the 12th Houston Open champion from outside the United States since the event's inception in 1946.
 
Those 12 players boast 16 wins at the tournament, which serves this season as the last event before the Masters.
 
With the season's first major looming, some of the world's top golfers are taking the week off, including No. 1 Tiger Woods. But the field this week will still include Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, the defending champion Scott, K.J. Choi, and last week's surprise winner in New Orleans, Andres Romero.
 
Among the other players skipping the tournament are Jim Furyk, Justin Rose and Vijay Singh, who won the Houston Open three times between 2002-05.
 
The GOLF CHANNEL has coverage of the first two rounds, with NBC taking over on the weekend again.
 
Next week, Zach Johnson will defend his surprise win at the Masters.
 
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