What a weekend for PGA Tour golf. The RBC Heritage came down to two previous Major Champions in Graeme McDowell and Webb Simpson. In a war of a playoff McDowell prevailed. What a tournament and what a weekend for competitive golf.
This week the tour makes its way to the TPC Louisiana and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The Zurich Classic is a tournament that has attracted many of golf’s greats. Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III and Billy Casper are just a few of the tournaments previous winners. The 2012 defending champion, Jason Dufner, is in the field along with the 2013 Masters low amateur, 14-year old Guan Tianlang, on a sponsor’s exemption.
The Zurich classic has been through some name changes over the years but at its roots the event has been played annually since 1958. Before the TPC Louisiana, three other courses held the event to include City Park Golf Course, Lakewood Country Club, and English Turn Golf and Country Club. This week at the TPC Louisiana the players will face a par 72, 7,341 yard Pete Dye design that will challenge them at many turns. There are over 100 bunkers (not counting the waste bunkers) on the course and many will play a role in deciding the outcome.
With any tournament, in any venue there are a few holes that should be watched closely throughout the week. The TPC Louisiana is no different. The middle of the players round will have them approaching two holes that will go a long way in determining tournament success. The par 5 11th hole will play to a hefty 575 yards. The tee shot should not be of primary concern here (although important) it is decision from the fairway that can be the difference between birdie or Eagle and a bogey or worse. While standing in the fairway, looking at the green, players will see a mammoth cypress tree in the middle of the fairway approximately 80 yards from the green. If going for the green players will either have to summon a quality fade or draw around the tree to have a chance to get there. If laying up the players must make sure to lay up right of the tree to limit its impact on the approach to a tight, narrow green.
The par 4 12th will play 486 yards and require the players to shape both their tee and approach shots on this hole. The tee shot will require a draw into the fairway. Playing from the left side of the fairway is key allowing for a fade into a big green. Players must watch out for the right side deep bunker when hitting a mid to long iron approach. If the players successfully navigate 11 and 12 they will eventually run into 18, a par 5, 589 yard finishing hole designed for drama. While it boasts the largest fairway on the course it is not without drama. Water runs the entire right side of the hole and is sure to capture a few errant shots throughout the week. Longer hitters will have a chance to challenge the incredibly difficult bunkering that surrounds the 18th green. These bunkers will also come into play with players that laid up and are attacking with a short iron. If focus is lost on 18 the tournament can be as well.
The main charity of the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans is The Fore!Kids Foundation. Since its inception 55 years ago, The Fore!Kids Foundation has donated more than $23 million to Louisiana children’s organizations. The driving purpose and focus of the foundation is on health-care and education projects.
While from 2009, the following video shows just some examples of great moments throughout the history of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Remember and enjoy.
YouTube Video Courtesy of pgatour
But who has a chance to win this week? Only six of the world’s top 25 are in the field but there is still a stable of talented professionals ready to take home the title in New Orleans. Let’s look at a few of them and come up with a logical win choice at this year’s Zurich Classic.
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