The 4 fan-friendly changes coming to the Texas Children's Houston Open

Greg Bailey Image
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
The 4 fan-friendly changes coming to the Texas Children's Houston Open
The Astros Golf Foundation locked up defending champ Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala for the Texas Children's Houston Open set for March 28.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Back in the PGA Tour rotation with a coveted spring date, the Texas Children's Houston Open is working to bring an elite field of the world's best golfers to Memorial Park March 28-31.

On Monday, the Astros Golf Foundation president, Giles Kibbe, announced that defending champion Tony Finau committed to play in Houston, along with world No. 21 Sahith Theegala. World No. 1 Scott Scheffler and Wyndham Clark, the 2023 U.S. Open champion, committed earlier.

Kibbe expects more top-ranked players will commit as the tournament moves to a scheduled slot two weeks before The Masters.

SEE MORE: Astros Golf Foundation introduces PGA Tour's Texas Children's Houston Open as part of spring move

"We fully expect to have more announcements on players as the days and weeks go by," Kibbe said.

Tournament planners are setting up the Memorial Park course to mimic the conditions at Augusta National, with fast greens and greenside shots similar to the icon.

Kibbe also told ABC13 Sports that fans will notice changes to the golf course. The tourney altered the 17th hole to set up more of a "risk-reward" for the Sunday finish.

The tournament also set up the green to accept more tee shots on the par-four that can roll onto the putting surface. Players can bring eagle - or two shots under par - into play more often for more exciting finishes.

The Houston Open set the 15th hole grandstands as "the place to be" for tournament week with more seating this year.

Kibbe mentioned that tournament officials want local fans to have fun, just not too much like the Phoenix Open, which saw more than 50 fans arrested in alcohol-related incidents.

"We haven't had any of those issues before," Kibbe explained. "We want to grow that area. We want to keep it respectable and have a lot of fun with it."

Fans will also notice the new barbeque cookoff area and a watch party set up for Astros opening day. The first round of the Houston Open tees off in the morning on March 28. The Astros face the Yankees at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to stay at Memorial Park and watch along on big screens as the Astros start a new season.

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