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BlogZurich Classic Preview and Picks

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

April 23 – 26, 2015

TPC Louisiana

Avondale, La.

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $6.9 million

with $1,257,477 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Seung-Yul Noh

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 8 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three players from the top-ten; #6 Jason Day, #7 Dustin Johnson & #9 Justin Rose. The rest of the top-50 players are #13 Rickie Fowler, #19 Billy Horschel, #29 Jamie Donaldson, #34 Keegan Bradley and #42 Bernd Wiesberger.

Last year there were 9 top-50 players

The field includes 7 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2015.  Those players are #6 Dustin Johnson, #9 Jason Day, #13 Robert Streb, #20 Brendon de Jonge, #22 Daniel Berger, #24 Scott Piercy and #25 Harris English.

The field includes 5 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. Those players are #3 Dustin Johnson, #10 Jason Day, #13 Robert Streb,  #23 Daniel Berger and #25 Nick Watney.

The field includes 8 past champions: Seung-Yul Noh (2014), Billy Horschel (2013), Jason Bohn (2010), Jerry Kelly (2009), Andres Romero (2008), Nick Watney (2007), K.J. Choi (2002) and David Toms (2001).

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 North America, Vovada.  They give winning odds plus top-five and first round leader odds.

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

**NOTE**

We have made a lot of changes in GOLFstats and one of the biggest is that every on-going event gets updated every hour.  It’s not real time scoring, but after each day you will see our database change.  This will help look at things like good scores in a row and how each player does after every round.

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

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We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

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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 Shenzhen Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Valspar Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic
Dustin Johnson
(222.67 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Rose
(203 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(200)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 55
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Morgan Hoffmann
(150.5 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP T28
(44)
DNP DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
Sean O’Hair
(142.33 pts)
6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T29
(14)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
Keegan Bradley
(129.33 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(56)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP T49
(0.67)
DNP DNP T38
(6)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Brendon De Jonge
(128.33 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
Cameron Tringale
(120.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T38
(24)
T5
(70)
T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T38
(6)
DNP DNP T44
(2)
Troy Merritt
(120 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
71
(0)
DNP DNP 6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(112 pts)
DNP DNP T12
(76)
71
(0)
DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP T12
(19)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
Kevin Kisner
(106.67 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T26
(16)
DNP T49
(0.67)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
Charles Howell III
(101.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T21
(19.33)
T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(2)
Alex Cejka
(98.67 pts)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Johnson Wagner
(83.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP
Brendan Steele
(81.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T25
(25)
T8
(33.33)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
Russell Knox
(80.67 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T29
(14)
T33
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
Jason Day
(75.5 pts)
DNP DNP T28
(44)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP T31
(9.5)
DNP DNP DNP
John Peterson
(74.33 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T35
(10)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Daniel Berger
(69.67 pts)
T72
(0)
DNP DNP T25
(25)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
Bernd Wiesberger
(58.83 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(56)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T31
(9.5)
DNP DNP DNP
Jonas Blixt
(58.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T28
(44)
T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Justin Thomas
(57.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP T50
(1)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T49
(0.67)
T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Luke Guthrie
(57 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
T50
(0.67)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Chesson Hadley
(56.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T50
(1)
T4
(53.33)
DNP T67
(0)
T44
(4)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
John Huh
(55.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
T35
(10)
DNP T55
(0)
T33
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
Sam Saunders
(54.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP T29
(14)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player RBC Heritage Shenzhen Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Valspar Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic
Andrew Svoboda
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 76
(0)
DNP DNP
Trevor Immelman
(-36.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Tim Wilkinson
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
Justin Leonard
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mike Weir
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
Robert Streb
(-30.67 pts)
T44
(6)
DNP CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
Scott Stallings
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
Woody Austin
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Colt Knost
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Derek Fathauer
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T59
(0)

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.  Still there are a lot of loyal folks that like the course and are showing up.  But with the Match Play next week and the Players the week after, you can’t blame folks for not showing up.

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.

I am in California (an all day affair, thanks to United Airlines for making my day so horrible) and will be in Seattle checking out Chambers Bay over the weekend and on Monday for Media Day.  Since the Match Play will start on Wednesday, will probably have the Match Play up on Sunday and update it on Tuesday.

Things you need to know about the Zurich Classic:

This will be the 66th 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 2014 TPC Louisiana was the 37th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 71.211 average which is three quarters of a shot under par.  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 & 14.  In looking at the 84 players that were in the top-ten in the nine years, one common trend shows.  Of the 84 only 19 were in the top-ten of driving accuracy (none in 2014) giving the tale that you don’t have to be a straight driver to do well at TPC Louisiana.  Here is how the nine champions did in that stat:

  • 2014 – Seung-Yul Noh     32 of 54 hit – ranked T59th
  • 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 nine of the TPC Louisiana champions had in common were putting well on greens hit.  Here are those averages:

  • 2014 – Seung-Yul Noh hit 56 greens (T4th) and took 109 putts for a 1.625 average – 7th
  • 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 ninth year in a row for this course being used, anything can happen and anybody can win. Of the 9 champions at TPC Louisiana, five 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. 12 of the last 19 Zurich Classic winners and 19 overall have not won on the PGA Tour, including 9 of the last 13. Eleven of the last 22 winners, including 2014 Seung-Yul Noh, 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 nine winners — Tim Petrovic, Chris Couch, Nick Watney, Andres Romero, Jerry Kelly, Jason Bohn, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Billy Horschel and Seung-Yul Noh — 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 with the exception of Friday that has a 50% chance of rain.

 

 

Who to watch for at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Best Bets:

Dustin Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT

Of those in the field is playing the best. Course is perfect for him to overpower, even though he has missed the cut the one time he played here.

Justin Rose

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T15 T10 CUT T43 CUT T66 T17 T5

Coming off a good Masters and a course he plays well.

Morgan Hoffman

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

Your off the wall pick, these are the type of guys that win here.

Best of the rest:

Brendon de Jonge

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T18 T26 CUT CUT CUT

Fits the mold of the other winners, he missed the cut last year at Zurich and can overpower this course. Playing good and ready to finally win. Perfect pick for the week.

Jason Day

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T32 CUT

Hasn’t been playing well but only a matter of time before it comes back, could be this week.

Troy Merritt

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T48 CUT 3

Watch him, he played well last week and he is ready to win.

Rickie Fowler

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T32 T10 T26

Played great over the weekend at the Masters, maybe his game is coming around.

Solid contenders

Harris English

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T6 CUT

Guy knows how to play well on this course and has not had that bad of a year.

Boo Weekley

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T29 T6 CUT T10 T13 CUT

Great from tee to green, could be a good choice for the week.

Billy Horschel

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT Win CUT T26

This is the time of year his game starts getting better.

Nick Watney

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T75 T15 CUT T20 CUT T42 Win T15 T47

Guy is ready to get back into the winners circle.

Long shots that could come through:

Justin Thomas

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

Time for this kid to shine like his friend Jordan Spieth has done.

Brendan Steele

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T52 T32

Watch him this week, good course for him.

Andrew Svoboda

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2 T47

Has had a horrible last month but that seems to be the way past champions have won here, so maybe this will be a good week for him.

Comments

  1. steven englebright says:

    any of last years gun dot com players take your fancy sal..cheers

  2. Benjamin M says:

    I love the info and have been killing it since I signed up. How do you feel about Sean O’Hair this week?? One other question as well. I love Jamie Donaldson, but was wondering how his game will transfer to this course?? Just wondering

  3. I notice you don’t have Keegan Bradley (#34) listed in your top 50 OWR in field. Is there a reason he doesn’t play into the analysis this week or just a mistake ommission?

  4. Mark, Sorry my screw-up. In doing the world ranking I past him over (have since updated the world ranking paragraph to include Bradley). Sorry with the trip to California getting screwed up, in my rush to get the preview done I forgot about him.
    As for me picking him, I would probably of made him one of my picks. He was in contention last year, shooting a final round 75 to fall into a T8th. This year has been a mixed bag, did finish 5th in Houston but the rest of the year is not very good.

    As for Benjamin’s question I don’t think that Donaldson hits it far enough to be a favorite here. The course is for bombers and of course new comers. As I said in my preview, the person that wins on Sunday will be one of the last players that we think about today.
    Again, sorry for being late in a response, but with the time change and all I am a bit behind.

  5. Michael B says:

    Using Golfchannel fantasy

    Group A: For me I was between Jason Day and Dustin, I went with Day

    Group B: I was between Steele, Thomas, and English and I am going with Justin Thomas. To me, he’s the sneaky young player that could take this tournament out of “nowhere.” He’s 19th in putt average, 76th in GIR and 23rd in driving. Add in his “newcomer” status and he just fits real well.

    Group C: I took Sean O’Hair. I almost took McGirt or Peterson but landed on O’Hair.

    Group D: Will Wilcox to me was the obvious choice there. Not a lot of good picks in that group but he seems to have the most logical game for this course.

  6. Michael B says:

    What happened to…

    “Small chance of rain” yikes, WGC must be sweating this weekend huh

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