|Zurich Classic of New Orleans - March 24, 2008
ZURICH CLASSIC OF NEW ORLEANS
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,341
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $6,200,000Winner: $1,116,000
2007 Champion: Nick Watney (273, -15)
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Notes
New Orleans has one of the most storied relationships with the PGA TOUR. Since first hosting a PGA TOUR event at City Park Golf Course in 1938, the list of those who have won includes World Golf Hall of Fame members Harry Cooper, Henry Picard, Jimmy Demaret, Byron Nelson, Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Vijay Singh.
For the third time since 2005, TPC Louisiana will play host to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, designed by Pete Dye with assistance from PGA TOUR player consultants Steve Elkington and Louisiana native Kelly Gibson.
Last year, the 480-yard, par-4 15th hole at TPC Louisiana was the most-difficult. That week the hole yielded a stroke average of 4.244, with players recording 29 birdies vs. 129 bogeys.
First-time winners have dominated at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Last year, Nick Watney became the third consecutive first-time winner of this event and the fifth in the past six years. Watney was the 16th player to make the Zurich Classic of New Orleans his first win. In 2005, Tim Petrovic won in a playoff followed by Chris Couch’s victory in 2006.
Nick Watney won three days before his 27th birthday, making him the third-youngest winner. Since 1994, just two players in their 40s have won. In 2004, Vijay Singh was the winner two months following his 41st birthday. In 1994 Ben Crenshaw won two months after his 42nd birthday.
With runner-up finishes and a tie for sixth from 1998-2000 and a win in 2003, Steve Flesch leads the field in career money made at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Flesch has made $1,473,655. Last year’s winner, Nick Watney, holds down third place in that category, with $1,194,262.
Jim Furyk, the No. 9-ranked player in the world, will be playing in New Orleans for the first time since 1996. In the past 12 years, Furyk has won 11 PGA TOUR events, including the 2003 U.S. Open. Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, will play in this week’s tournament. It will be his second appearance. Johnson missed the cut in 2006.
LSU graduate Brian Bateman will be right at home at TPC Louisiana. The cooking and wine enthusiast will mix well with all the food cooked and served by some of the areas most renowned chefs. Bateman claimed his first PGA TOUR title last year at the Buick Open.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is making only his second career appearance at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after tying for 25th in 2006. Padraig Harrington, the 2007 British Open champ, will also play this week—for the third time in his career.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
Last week’s World Golf Championships-CA Championship wasn’t just good for winner Geoff Ogilvy, it was also good for Adam Scott, Zach
Johnson, Retief Goosen and Nick O’Hern. That quartet of world-class
players each earned his first Top-10 finish of the season last week.
More on Ogilvy: He’s now the third player to win more than one World
Golf Championships title joining Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke.
With his fifth-place finish last week at the CA Championship, Tiger
Woods went over the $80-million mark in career earnings.
Winning has many rewards and among them is a substantial jump up the FedExCup points list. CA Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy climbed
from 79th all the way to 10th while Puerto Rico Open presented by
Banco Popular winner Greg Kraft surged from way back in 162nd place
up to 37th.
This week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans comes 70 years after the
first New Orleans stop on the PGA TOUR. While the event is 70 years
old, this will be the 60th playing of the tournament. The TOUR
didn’t stop in New Orleans in 1943, 1947 and from 1949-57.
When Greg Kraft won last week in Puerto Rico at the age of 43 years,
11 months and 19 days, he became the oldest first-time winner on the
PGA TOUR since Ed Dougherty won the 1995 Viking Classic at the age of
47 years, 8 months and 19 days.
While a strong field has assembled in New Orleans this week, you
might want to look for a first-time winner to emerge. The last three
winners in the Crescent City were first-timers—Nick Watney, Chris
Couch and Tim Petrovic. In fact, five of the last six winners of the
Zurich Classic of New Orleans won for the first time.
When Bob Gilder tees it up this week at The Ginn Championship at
Hammock Beach, it will mark the 100th consecutive tournament in which
This week’s field includes all 30 of the Top 30 money winners from
the 2007 season on the Champions Tour. That’s the first time it has
happened since the 2005 Constellation Energy Senior Players
Former Masters champion and European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam will make his Champions Tour debut this week. Seven-time PGA TOUR winner Joey Sindelar turns 50 this coming Sunday (March 30) and will make his debut next week at The Cap Cana.
Brad Bryant has finished second in the last three Champions Tour
events. He’s the seventh player in Tour history to finish in the runner-up spot in three consecutive events. He joins a list that includes Chi Chi Rodrguez (1986), Dale Douglass (1987), Bob Charles (1987), Jim Albus (1994), Ray Floyd (1995) and Larry Nelson (2000). No one has ever finished second in four consecutive tournaments.
Chris Couch won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2006, but this
week he’ll be a hundred or so miles down the road in Lafayette for
the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Dynamic Industries. Couch
has not played on the PGA TOUR this season due to a shoulder injury
and will be making a rehab start this week on the Nationwide Tour.
While Chris Couch will be in Lafayette this week, former Chitimacha
Louisiana Open winner Johnson Wagner (2006) will be in New Orleans
competing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
When Greg Kraft won the Puerto Rico Open presented by Banco Popular
last week he became the 100th different Nationwide Tour alum to win
on the PGA TOUR. Overall, former Nationwide Tour players have won
224 TOUR titles.
This year’s tournament will mark the 17th consecutive year the event
has been held at Le Triomphe CC, the only course the tournament has
ever known. Only two other tournaments on the Tour have been played
on the same course for a longer period of time—the Price Cutter
Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper and the Albertsons Boise Open presented by First Health.