FedEx Cup: Zurich Classic

Fed Ex Cup:        Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Welcome to the Big Easy! Birthplace of modern jazz, jambalaya, mufaletta’s, Hurricane Katrina and the Mardi Gras (No! Not the bar in Dundee!). None of which are relevant this week as the finest game on grass takes up residence in New Orleans for some good old Southern hospitality…

Date:                     26th to 29th April 2012

Venue:                 TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana

The 2012 Zurich Classic will be the sixth event held at TPC Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina when the course suffered severe damage, but that opened the floodgates (no pun intended) to allow for changes to be made on the course. Former President George Bush called the rebuilding of New Orleans one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen, second only to Cher.

Yards:                   7,341 yards

Par:                        Par 72


Notable troops levied into battle this week include Luke Donald (13/1), Blubber Watson (14/1), Carl Petterson (33/1) and Brandt Snedeker (40/1). While downstream but at least back to business playing the beautiful game again after a spell reporting for the Golf Channel is Mickelson cheat accuser Scott McCarron (500/1 – all BoyleSports) (who once finished tenth in a major).


The course is 7,520 yards long and a stern test for the tour players but it is designed to give players a chance but to also challenge their shot-making ability as there is plenty of trouble if players stray from the fairways. Look out for the hard par-3 215-yard 17th where bunkers left were eliminated and replaced by bulk heading while a solitary pot bunker on the right remains. Par here is a great score on the newly reshaped green. Then look out for the finish – a daunting par five where, needless to say, anything right finds a typically New Orleans watery grave.

Ones to watch:

With three top tens and no finish worse than 27th (at the Masters) its 2011 US PGA Champ Keegan Bradley (20/1 with SportingBet) who looks tidy for a place this week. Leads the PGA Tour on all round stats and ranks in top ten for sand saves, scoring and birdies and will be fresh after a two week lay-off since the first major in early April. I’m hoping that his form will tide him over to the business end of the week.

Having a quiet season by his own high standards, but with 9 top 25’s in 2011 and three already in 2012 despite a drop in form, it is Aussie grinder Geoff Ogilvy (80/1 with BetFair) who could be waterskiing down the Louisiana streets in celebration come the weekend.  One of the best putters on the Tour within 10 feet, he will be put to the test over these tricky greens and one would hope that he plays as he should leaving others in his wake.

Ones to win:

With one win to his name already and three top tens’ from just six starts, Steve Stricker (25/1 everywhere including WilliamHill) will be doing his best to take another victory come hell or – no pun intended – high water in New Orleans. The World number 7 currently lies 15th in the Fedex Cup and leads the Tour in consecutive cuts with 48! Is one of the best wedge players around which will be needed when the big clubs go a little awry.

England’s Rose, that’s Justin (23/1 with BetFair) to you, believes another win will mean the victory floodgates are open again after his recent win at the WGC Cadillac tournament. He has amassed an incredible $2.2M already this year from just 8 starts and returned 5 top 25’s. Rose ranks in the top 5 for scoring, greens in regulation and in approaches from 200 yards and so these fundamentals should stand him in great stead for his next wave of high finishing results.

Trick shots:

Reigning Masters Champion and all-round awesome golfer, Bubba Watson (22/1 with SkyBet) to be the first round leader exactly as he was when he won this same event in 2011.

Goofball and former village idiot, Ben Crane rewards 7/1 with Ladbrokes for a top ten finish – and he has had seven of them in the last 16 months!

Thank me later!