"From a ball-striking standpoint, it's probably a perfect warmup."

Steve Campbell writes about the Houston Open's attempts to set up Redstone like Augusta National.

"We want to make it as Augusta-friendly for the pros as we can," Goettsch said. "We want to make it the best possible venue prior to the Masters that we can make. That's our goal: Get the golf course to that kind of condition and standard. We've tried to give them the type of shots they'll have at Augusta."

One of Goettsch's marching orders was to get the green speeds to at least 12 on the Stimpmeter. Another mandate was to shave the banks alongside the greens and water hazards, thus raising the cost of a slightly mis-struck shot. Closely mowed chipping areas are another ode to Augusta, which places a premium on creativity with the short game.

The rough of the 7,457-yard Redstone layout will be cut to an Augusta-esque 1 1/2 inches, which figures to bring the art of the recovery shot into play. That should come as welcome news to all the players who grouse about the mindless, hack-and-gouge play that tends to result from 4- and 5-inch rough.

"I think it's going to be a pretty darn good test," said Joe Ogilvie, who is the player director on the PGA Tour policy board. "(Virtually) every hole is a hook. At Augusta, (virtually) every hole is a hook. From a ball-striking standpoint, it's probably a perfect warmup."

And and there's a catch. Because as blogger Tom Kirkendall points out, there's one major difference between the two courses: the greens.

Mickelson -- who has not played in the SHO in years -- replied that he is not playing this week because the Tournament Course at Redstone is nothing like Augusta National and Redstone's bermuda greens will do nothing to prepare him for Augusta's bentgrass greens. Mickelson's comments were a clear shot at the SHO and the PGA Tour's decision to move the tournament to a date the week before The Masters.

So much for that "resemble Augusta" approach to reinventing the SHO.