The Houston Open often gets buried on the PGA Tour calendar because it currently sits between a WGC and the most important tournament of the year, next week's Masters. But we shouldn't completely dismiss the final tune-up for Augusta National, given who's in the field and what's at stake.

Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler headline this week's tournament in Houston, and it will be nice to get back to some regular 72-hole stroke play golf following last week's marathon match play tournament (especially if those stars get in contention).

Let's take a look at this week's contest, which could be the last pre-Masters Houston Open ... ever.

Event information

What: Houston Open | Where: Humble, Texas | When: Mar. 29 - Apr. 1

Field and odds

  • Justin Rose: 10-1
  • Rickie Fowler: 10-1
  • Henrik Stenson: 12-1
  • Jordan Spieth: 12-1
  • Phil Mickelson: 12-1
  • Daniel Berger: 25-1
  • Tony Finau: 28-1
  • Luke List: 28-1

Field strength: B-

It's a really solid field for it being the week before a major. You get all the guys who love playing the week before one of the big four events plus a classy list of golfers who have yet to qualify for Augusta National (more on this in a minute).

Three stories to watch

1. Can Spieth find a stroke? Spieth currently ranks No. 172 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting and finished No. 62 out of 64 last week in the WGC-Match Play event. It's not time to hit the alarm, but we should have at least one eye on it, right? For me at this point, it's less about the statistics and more about whether Spieth feels confident at all about his flat stick driving down Magnolia Lane. I don't know if we'll get answers this week in Houston, but we'll at least get a few hints.

2. One last Masters bid: There are a litany of high-profile names who will likely miss the Masters this year. After Ian Poulter fell one OWGR spot short last week, it shined a light on who else isn't in the Masters yet. Only a win this week can save these guys and get them a Thursday tee time at Augusta National next week.

3. Augusta streaks: One of the more impressive streaks in recent memory is on the line this week in Houston. Lee Westwood has played in 13 consecutive Masters and has five top-eight finishes in that span. He's not currently in -- neither is Ernie Els, who has played in every Masters but one since 1994 -- but both would have to win this week to get in (although Els will be in Augusta either way).

Past winners

That is truly an amazing list of golfers.

Houston Open picks

Winner:  It's going to click for Spieth at some point, and he has good vibes here. A T13 and T2 preceded his missed cut last year at this tournament, and he, maybe more than anyone, needs to play well here before next week's Masters.  Odds: 12-1   
Top 10:  Rose has top 10s in 13 of his last 15 starts worldwide, and he took last week off to recharge after a top five at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Finished T15 in his last appearance in Houston.  Odds: 10-1   
Sleeper:  Howell is coming off a terrific week at the WGC-Match Play event, where he made it to the final 16. He has a strong recent history here, too, with two top 10s in his last three starts and plenty of incentive to try and win to get into Augusta next week.  Odds: 50-1