Shell Houston Open 2013: Golfers Who Need Strong Showings Ahead of Masters

Eric BostContributor IIIMarch 29, 2013

HUMBLE, TX - MARCH 28:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits on the second hole during the first round of the Shell Houston Open at the Redstone Golf Club on March 28, 2013 in Humble, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It wasn't too long ago when many avid golf fans held Rory McIlroy in the same breath as Tiger Woods. We saw Woods fall down to No. 58 in the world rankings and saw Rory go in and out of No. 1.

Low and behold, with another Woods surge that we've all been accustomed to seeing, he has roared back to No. 1 and seems to be the only golfer we can talk about again.

With only weeks before the Masters Tournament at Augusta National, Tiger seems to be the odds-on favorite to win the first major of the season, not to mention his first major since 2008.

Here are a few other golfers who are looking to impress at this weekend's Shell Houston Open and take some of the focus off Tiger heading into the Masters.


Lee Westwood

Westwood has been one of the more consistent golfers on the PGA Tour since he made his debut in 1995. This year has been no different, as he is averaging a score of 70.8 per round this season. He has shot under par in six of the seven tournaments he’s played in this year and has only seven rounds over par out of his 29 played.

After a less-than-stellar five-over in the Arnold Palmer Invitational (which Tiger won at 13 under), Westwood needs to have a good showing this weekend for his name to be among the few who can challenge the surging Woods.


Geoff Ogilvy

With Westwood looking to add his name among the contenders, Ogilvy needs a spectacular score this weekend just to have his name among those invited to the Masters.

To solidify a spot in the Masters field, golfers must be in the top 50 in the world rankings. Heading into this weekend, Ogilvy is dead on the bubble as the No. 50 ranked golfer in the world. But in order to maintain that world golf ranking, he has to make the cut later today.

Ogilvy has made the Masters field every year since 2005. After a first-round 73 on Thursday, Ogilvy is in jeopardy of not making the cut this weekend or in the Masters.


Rory McIlroy

2013 hasn't been the best season so far for Rory McIlroy. He has withdrawn from multiple tournaments, has been knocked out early in match-play and hasn't played through more than one PGA Tour event. But nothing was worse than having to relinquish his world No. 1 ranking to Tiger Woods after the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week.

With all eyes on Tiger and none on McIlroy right now, he needs to assert himself this weekend to make his presence known and to let everyone else know that he’s coming for that No. 1 spot at the Masters.