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BlogPreview and Picks Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

TPC Louisiana

Avondale,, La.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,425

Purse: $6.8 million

with $1,224,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Billy Horschel

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 9 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with no players from the top-ten: The highest ranked player is #11 Justin Rose. The other top 50 players are #21 Keegan Bradley, #25 Patrick Reed, #31 Graham DeLaet, #36 Rickie Fowler, #42 Matt Every, #44 Ernie Els, #49 Nick Watney and $50 Billy Horschel.

The field includes 8 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2014.  Those players are #4 Patrick Reed, #9 Matt Every, #12 Kevin Stadler, #15 John Senden, #19 Graham DeLaet, #21 Ryan Palmer, #24 Keegan Bradley and #25 Russell Knox.

The field includes 8 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. Those players are #5 Patrick Reed, #9 Matt Every, #14 Kevin Stadler, #16 Graham DeLaet, #17 John Senden, #23 Rickie Fowler #24 Ryan Palmer and #25 Keegan Bradley.

The field includes 11 past champions: Billy Horschell (2013), Jerry Kelly (2009), Andres Romero (2008), Nick Watney (2007), Tim Petrovic (2005), Vijay Singh (2004), David Toms (2001) and Scott McCarron (1996).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Zurich Classic field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Zurich Classic in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Zurich Classic.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Player RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Accenture Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open
Rickie Fowler
(243.33 pts)
DNP T5
(140)
6
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(3)
DNP T24
(8.67)
3
(45)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
John Senden
(202 pts)
DNP T8
(100)
DNP T42
(5.33)
T52
(0)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matt Every
(169 pts)
T12
(38)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP T6
(20)
CUT
(-3.33)
T37
(4.33)
Kevin Stadler
(166.67 pts)
T38
(12)
T8
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
T23
(9)
T45
(1.67)
Win
(44)
Will MacKenzie
(147 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
T43
(4.67)
T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T6
(20)
DNP T52
(0)
T13
(12.33)
DNP
Cameron Tringale
(130 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 4
(80)
T46
(2.67)
T56
(0)
T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
DNP T12
(12.67)
T13
(12.33)
T12
(12.67)
Justin Rose
(124.83 pts)
DNP T14
(72)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(33.33)
T34
(8)
DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP
Russell Knox
(120 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP T26
(16)
T43
(4.67)
T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T27
(7.67)
DNP
Freddie Jacobson
(106.33 pts)
DNP DNP T19
(31)
T16
(22.67)
T10
(26.67)
T20
(20)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
George McNeill
(100.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
7
(36.67)
DNP T19
(10.33)
T12
(12.67)
DNP T6
(20)
T52
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Patrick Reed
(95.83 pts)
T48
(2)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP Win
(66)
DNP T24
(8.67)
T17
(16.5)
DNP T13
(12.33)
T19
(10.33)
Ryan Palmer
(95 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
T48
(0.67)
Graham Delaet
(94.17 pts)
DNP CUT
(-20)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
T34
(8)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
T70
(0)
DNP T2
(33.33)
Erik Compton
(94 pts)
T68
(0)
DNP T12
(38)
WD
(-3.33)
T5
(46.67)
T32
(12)
DNP DNP T71
(0)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP T48
(0.67)
J.B. Holmes
(93.33 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP T12
(38)
T64
(0)
T10
(26.67)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T52
(0)
T61
(0)
T58
(0)
Chris Stroud
(90.67 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP T9
(15)
T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
Ben Martin
(86.67 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 3
(30)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Keegan Bradley
(82 pts)
DNP CUT
(-20)
T43
(7)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T50
(0.5)
DNP T12
(12.67)
T33
(8.5)
T20
(10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
William McGirt
(78.33 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T29
(7)
T71
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
CUT
(-3.33)
T19
(10.33)
Charley Hoffman
(77 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP T37
(13)
T11
(26)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T61
(0)
Daniel Summerhays
(76.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T70
(0)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP T29
(7)
T19
(10.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Carl Pettersson
(73 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T31
(19)
T16
(22.67)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T4
(26.67)
T46
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jonathan Byrd
(71.33 pts)
T31
(19)
DNP T19
(31)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T61
(0)
Brice Garnett
(71.33 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T7
(55)
T31
(12.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T72
(0)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP
Shawn Stefani
(70 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP 5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Player RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Accenture Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open
D.A. Points
(-48.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T62
(0)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP DQ
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Derek Ernst
(-41 pts)
DNP CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T69
(0)
Scott Stallings
(-36.5 pts)
DNP CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
T45
(1.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Charlie Wi
(-35.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Kyle Stanley
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T61
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
John Peterson
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T67
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DQ
(-1.67)
T64
(0)
T61
(0)
Mark Wilson
(-28.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
J.J. Henry
(-28.33 pts)
DNP DNP T72
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DQ
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T40
(3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
D.H. Lee
(-28.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Mike Weir
(-28 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T44
(12)
CUT
(-10)
T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The season is halfway over and already folks feel comfortable that they don’t need to increase FedExCup points and are taking the week off.  This is probably the lowest ranked field on the PGA Tour since the fall events, guess the timing is good for many of the top names to take the week off.  For those playing this week, it’s a love affair with the great city of New Orleans.  The Cajun food is still great and the folks that run this event take good care of the players with a fishing trip, plenty of good food and the New Orleans spirit that hasn’t gone away with all the hardship that has hit the region with Hurricane Katrina almost 7 and a half years ago.  For many of the players making the decision based on their stomach with such great places like Emeril’s and Brennan’s and you can’t beat breakfast at Cafe Beignet this is the best eating week on tour.  With the French Quarter back to normal after Katrina it’s a bit hard to see players taking this event off their schedule.

The U.S. Open:

It’s only seven weeks away and I got a sneak preview of Pinehurst #2 on Monday.  Boy has it changed since being here in 2005.  In a way many that played it during the 2005 U.S. Open will shake their heads and wonder if Pinehurst has cut their maintenance bill in half. (they kind of have, explain a bit later).  In looking out over it my mind wondered back to Sam Snead and his comments about St. Andrews the first time he saw it from the train in 1946, “that looks like an old, abandoned golf course.”  In a way when I saw Pinehurst on Monday, it looked like a course on the verge of closing.  It’s fairways were a mix between brown and green, and the rough looks scraggly with little plants (from afar they almost looked like weeds) growing.  The bunkers, again from afar look unkempt with things growing in them.  So for may they will have to not have first impressions steer them in the wrong direction.

That was the plan as Mike Davies who will set up the course for the Championship in June explained.  The USGA and the folks that own Pinehurst decided to turn the clocks of time back to the 30s and 40s when Pinehurst was considered one of the greatest courses in the world.  Not that it lost anything over the years, but while the course grew up, the resort changed the course making it more lush and green.  They also made the bunkers very lush and not the hazards that they use to be and they let rough grow along the fairways which would not allow balls to go into the trees and pine scrub.  So after the U.S. Amateur in 2008 they decided to bring in Bill Coore to renovate the course to the way it was when Donald Ross first built it.  Now it wasn’t in tip-top shape on Monday, as the burmuda grass is started to bring the color back after a dormant state.  In playing the course you kind of like the changes, the course is much different than any other course in the world.  It’s probably one of the great shotmakers courses because you have to hit the drive in the perfect spot for your shot into the green.  The putting surfaces are above the levels of the fairways and look like a upside down coffee cup.  So shots to the greens could roll off the front, the back and the sides if not hit right leaving a tough up and down.  This will also be a scramblers delight because it will take a great deal of skill to get it up and down.  The greens were wonderful, very fast on Monday and lot’s of undulation.  Now I said that it looked like Pinehurst was getting cheap on their maintenance cost, they have.  With water getting in short supply and the cost to maintain a golf course rocketing, this new style is saving on water and maintenance cost which is good.  Of course looks are deceiving at first glance so you have to play it to love it.  This will be a very interesting U.S. Open, one that will be different and will take a player with a bit of creative style to win it.  In thinking about it the USGA is doing a great job in selecting courses for the Open, they go to just about every different type of venue from parkland, to seaside to now inland linksland.  So Pinehurst will be special and we will see a pretty good battle taking place this June.

Things you need to know about the Zurich Classic:

This will be the 65th edition of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which was formerly called the New Orleans Open, then the USF&G Classic,then the Freeport McDermott Classic followed by the Compaq Classic before Zurich became the sponsor in 2005.  English Turn was the site of the tournament between 1989 and 2004.  It moved to TPC Louisiana in 2005 but because of Hurricane Katrina it went back to English Turn in 2006.  In 2007 it returned to TPC Louisiana and the course is back to normal again.

The first New Orleans Open was played in 1938 and was won by Harry Cooper.  Between 1949 and 1957 no tournaments were played, with the tournament starting back up in 1958.

Course information:

  • TPC Louisiana
  • Avondale, La.
  • 7,425 yards     Par 36-36–72

TPC Louisiana features a course rating of 76.6 and a slope rating from the back tees of 138. The tees, fairway, and rough are TifSport bermudaGrass as the greens are bermudagrass overseeded with Poa. The course is semi-private and can be played by the public.  In 2013 TPC Louisiana was the 34th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.75 average which is 1.25 strokes under par.

The course was designed and built by Pete Dye with player consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.  The course opened in 2004 and held the Zurich Open the next year.  The course is on 250 acres of former swamp land that Dye transformed into a course that can stretch up to 7,600 yards. The average green size at TPC Louisiana is 5,700 square feet, which is pretty much the average on the PGA Tour.  It features 71 bunkers with 20 acres of area covered in sand. Water comes into play on eight of the 18 holes

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Zurich Classic:

Key stat for the winner:

The TPC Louisiana has hosted eight Zurich Classics, 2005, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12 & ’13.  In looking at the 74 players that were in the top-ten, one common trend shows.  Of the 74 only 19 were in the top-ten of driving accuracy giving the tale that you don’t have to be a straight driver to do well at TPC Louisiana.  Here is how the eight champions did in that stat:

  • 2013 – Billy Horschel             31 of 54 hit – ranked T63rd
  • 2012 – Jason Dufner              36 of 54 hit – ranked T31st.
  • 2011 – Bubba Watson            40 of  54 hit – ranked T13th.
  • 2010 – Jason Bohn                 43 of 54 hit – ranked T2nd.
  • 2009 – Jerry Kelly                  35 of 54 hit – ranked T30th.
  • 2008 – Andres Romero         30 of 54 hit – ranked T73rd.
  • 2007 – Nick Watney               37 of 54 hit – ranked T32nd.
  • 2005 – Tim Petrovic               23 of 54 hit – ranked 81st.

One thing all eight of the TPC Louisiana champions had in common were putting well on greens hit.  Here are those averages:<BR>

  • 2013 – Billy Horschel hit 59 greens (T2nd) and took 108 putts for a 1.559 avearge – 1st
  • 2012 – Jason Dufner hit 52 greens (T25th) and took 105 putts for a 1.458 average – 3rd.
  • 2011 – Bubba Watson hit 58 greens (rank T1st) and took 117 putts for a 1.625 average – T57th.
  • 2010 – Jason Bohn hit 54 greens (rank T6th) and took 107 putts for a 1.486 average – 5th.
  • 2009 – Jerry Kelly hit 57 greens (rank 1st) and took 114 putts for a 1.583 average – T36th.
  • 2008 – Andres Romero hit 54 greens (rank T6th) and took 113 putts for a 1.569 average – ranked T35th.
  • 2007 – Nick Watney hit 51 greens (rank T9th) and took 108 putts for a 1.500 avearge – ranked T14th.
  • 2005 – Tim Petrovic  hit 50 greens (rank T20th) and took 109 putts for 1.514 average – ranked T7th.

Silly fact: The course has been shortened, but length and accuracy doesn’t seem to be a key

  • Fitness around the greens will be needed.  Miss a green and you will have to master the chip and roll. This venue will be a perfect preview for the greens of Pinehurst next year.
  • The greens do not have as much undulation as the average TPC courses, so look for an average to below average putter to have a good week.
  • Since this is the eight year in a row for this course being used, anything can happen and anybody can win. Of the 7 champions at TPC Louisiana, four of them have been rookie winners and Bubba Watson was the most experience champion, when he won in 2011 he only had two PGA Tour wins.
  • One major trait at this event is the fact that many of its champions don’t have a lot of experience playing in this event. 11 of the last 18 Zurich Classic winners and 18 overall have not won on the PGA Tour, including 8 of the last 12. Ten of the last 21 winners, including 2013 winner Billy Horschel,  2010 winner Jason Bohn, 2009 winner Jerry Kelly and 2008 champion Andres Romero, had either missed the cut the year prior or were making their tournament debut.
  • Lastly there is no rhyme or reason for why a player wins here.  In the case of the last eight winners — Tim Petrovic, Chris Couch, Nick Watney, Andres Romero, Jerry Kelly, Jason Bohn, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner and Billy Horschel — they weren’t favorites to win coming in so the odds are pretty good that another long shot could rule this week.
  • The weather forecast couldn’t be better for the week in Louisiana with temperatures in the 80s each day with no wind and very small chance of rain.

 

 

Who to watch for at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Best Bets:

Rickie Fowler

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T32 T10 T26

It’s time for him to win, the new swing is becoming more routine and it’s his time.

Justin Rose

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T15 T10 CUT T43 CUT T66 T17 T5

There has to be something that Rose likes here, hopefully it’s not the food but more about the course.

Ryan Palmer

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T32 T4 T46 CUT T59 T38 T12

Someone to watch, has knocked on the door this year, just has to get someone to answer.

Best of the rest:

Keegan Bradley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT T26

About time for him to wake out of his winter sleep.

John Senden

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T39 T13 T43 T34 T12 T15 T20 T56 CUT

Watch him, still playing well and this course is good for him.

Matt Every

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T32 CUT CUT

Another of those winners of 2014 that are still playing well.

Boo Weekley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6 CUT T10 T13 CUT CUT

Good ball striker who could have a great week.

Solid contenders

Russell Knox

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T30

This is the kind of guy that fits the other Zurich champions, someone that hasn’t won before and is ready to go this week.

Ken Duke

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T21 T7 T21 CUT CUT 2 T12

Played well before on this course, he could fit the mold of someone that could win here.

Lucas Glover

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T4 T66 T19 CUT T8 T7 T3 CUT

His game seems to always come around this time of year.

Charles Howell III

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T39 T13 T43 T2 T2 T59 T5 T50 T16

His game does well in New Orleans.

Long shots that could come through:

Geoff Ogilvy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T45 T25 T25 T2

Has had a rough time of late, still chomping at the bit to get back into the winners circle.

Luke Guthrie

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8

Finished T8th last year.

Ken Looper

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T21

Sorry but I love this kid’s name.

Comments

  1. So based on the driving accuracy and putting trends of success historically in New Orleans, I picked Matt Every in my winners pool.

    Ranked 101st in Driving Accuracy, but 1st in Strokes Gained Putting.

    We’ll see.

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