Previewing the Shell Houston Open; The field, course and predictions

He finished second in the WGC-Dell Match Play event last week, going toe-to-toe with numerous top golfers in the world. He is the short-priced favourite for the Masters next week despite a best Augusta finish of tied fourth.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spent some time at Augusta National with the 2015 Masters champ, and posted a photo on his Instagram account on Monday of himself, UnderArmour CEO Kevin Plank and Augusta National member Jimmy Dunne with Spieth on the famous Par 3 12th hole.

"I think for anybody who watches golf, the Masters is the pinnacle", Paul said.

"So, that side of things, getting number one isn't the pressure that I feel, but that's the only way to really take big strides towards him because I don't think he's letting up any time soon".

"I'm not in the least bit surprised that he is the guy to beat", said Spieth.

The Texas-born Spieth believes he plays better golf the second, third, fourth week in a row and this is no more evident than the past two years leading to Augusta. "But I think that he is the guy that everyone is saying he's playing the best golf in the world right now". Indeed, there is every likelihood that the victor will emerge from this lot, which includes Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia. "Not the slightest bit", the 23-year-old said.

"Am I wrong? I mentioned this going back years that Dustin Johnson is the most talented player and it's a matter of time". Once he gets that click.' It probably was the US Open [last year], looking back on it now. That was good advice, just to get as close to the tournament as you can to prepare for it ...

"It's pretty special. We got the full tour from a guy who has been there his whole life", Summerhays said. "So I'm not in the least bit surprised that he is the one to beat and it's going to very hard at this point".

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'I'm just trying to learn.

There are good vibes aplenty for the Australian contingent teeing up this week in the final PGA TOUR event before the Masters. The way he is playing right now, it will be insane for anyone to pick against him.

One final place will be reserved at Augusta for the victor of this week's Shell Houston Open should the champion not already be eligible, which would bring the field up to 93 players.

The Shell is a hard tournament to research because if players feel their game is off, they might withdraw before the cut to get an early start on Masters prep.

"I like to feel like I'm always on it, I'm always. ready to go and trying to compete and I want to get back to that stage but sometimes it's very, very hard". There's a lot of ways to do it.

Spieth said his compatriot is undoubtedly the cream of the crop at the moment, but is confident he can take anybody on as he aims to heal the wounds of his final-round collapse at the first major of the year in 2016.

"If you play your own game, having the advantage of having been there before, him knowing that, too".

"I played past year the week before Troon and we all know how that turned out, so playing in the Scottish Open definitely helps to fine tune the links game". The Houston Open still includes Scott, British Open champion Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson.

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