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The Tour goes marchin’ in: Zurich Classic of New Orleans



By Pete Pappas

GolfWRX Staff Writer

The PGA Tour marches into Dixieland this week for the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.  The event history traces back to 1922 when it was first known as the Southern (Spring) Open and Gene Sarazen won with a score of 10-over par (but wasn’t played regularly on Tour until 1938).

The Zurich Classic is played on the challenging (mad-genius Pete Dye designed) TPC Louisiana course (built on swampland) with 71 sand bunkers and five water hazards sprawling the rolling hills, wetlands, and pestering cypress.

With some fairway bunkers nearly football-field size in length and several pot bunkers so deep you need a rope to climb out of them, TPC-Louisiana ranked 20th in difficulty on Tour in 2011.

And the “Triange of Doom” (a trio of lengthy consecutive par-4s on the front 9) is sure to give players nightmares (holes No. 4 and No. 6 are the first and third most difficult holes on the course).

“It wouldn’t be a golf course of mine if some players won’t scream and yell about it,” Dye said.  “But that’s the idea.  As an architect you want to get into a players head.”

Bubba Watson returns to defend his Zurich title in his first appearance since winning The Masters three weeks ago.

“[Zurich] was a big stepping stone for me,” Watson said of his win last year, where he was first in both Driving Distance and Greens-In-Regulation.

Watson defeated Webb Simpson with a birdie on the second playoff hole last year for his second win of 2011 (Simpson was in command coming down the stretch until calling a penalty on himself on the 15th green).

Four of the top-10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings will tee it up in “The Big Easy” including Watson (No. 4), No. 2 Luke Donald, No. 7 Steve Stricker, and No. 10 Justin Rose.

13 of the top 30 players in the FedExCup standings, 13 major champions, 12 past Nawlins’ champions, and 9 winners on Tour in 2012 will also be in the Bayou field this week.

Players to watch

Luke Donald (11/1)

Donald finished T-8 at Zurich last year, and he’s second on Tour in Strokes-Gained-Putting this year.  However it’s been hot or cold for Donald this season.

He won the Transitions Championship, and finished T-6 in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.  But he finished outside the top-30 in the other 4 events he’s played in.

Currently ranked 137th in Greens-In-Regulation, Donald will need to turn that around if he’s going to get a top-10 in New Orleans.  Don’t look for it to happen this week.

Bubba Watson (12/1)

Watson is the hottest thing on Tour and a win at Zurich would send his popularity not just through the roof but into outer-space.

Bubba is first in Driving Distance (313.1 yards) and second in GIR (73.61 percent) which sets up well on any course (let alone the long 7,341 yard TPC-Louisiana).

Critics point out Watson has never had to deal with the enormous media attention he’ll face as a major champion during the week of an event and that pressure might be too much.

But Watson flourished in what could arguably be the hottest pressure-cooker imaginable: a playoff victory in a major championship at The Masters.

There will be no wilt in Watson’s game.  I think Watson loves the spotlight, expect him to finish inside the top-10, and will be in contention again on Championship Sunday.

Keegan Bradley (18/1)

Bradley has played well all season with nine top-25 finishes, no missed cuts and a near victory in a playoff loss to Bill Haas at the Northern Trust Open earlier this season.

In his only appearance he last year (his rookie season) he finished T-26.  But he’s notched three top-10 finishes and is ranked first on Tour in All-Around Ranking this season.

Keegan should contend.

Justin Rose (20/1)

Along with his win at Cadillac Rose has two other top-5 finishes and five top-25 finishes.

He’s third in Scoring Average (69.31) and fifth in GIR (70.63%) and is having what could very well be a career year.

But historically Rose has struggled in New Orleans with two missed cuts and a T-43 in 2010.  Something about TPC-Louisiana is troublesome for  Rose and I expect him to struggle again this week.

Webb Simpson (20/1)

Simpson (World No. 14) has three top-10 finishes this season but hasn’t finished in the top-30 in his last three starts.

He suffered a heartbreaking loss here in 2011 when the wind moved his ball on the 15th green after he addressed it (which was a one-stroke penalty at the time).

Prior to last season Simpson struggled at TPC-Louisiana with a T-32 finish in 2009 and a missed cut in 2010 by 12 strokes.

Hoist the winner’s trophy

Graeme McDowell (28/1)

The 18th ranked player in the world finished inside the top-15 four times in six Tour events this season, with two top-10 finishes and one second place finish (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

He’s ranked second in Driving Accuracy on Tour (73.21 percent), 11th in Scoring Average (69.90) and 21st in GIR.

McDowell was frustrated with his overall performance (T-12 finish) at The Masters but a career-low 68 on Sunday makes me believe his attitude is in the right place and he’s going to put it all together for his first win this season.

Perfect Pairings

Camillo Villegas, Ryan Palmer, Fred Funk

Tim Petrovic, Cameron Tringale, Graham DeLaet

Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson

Ben Curtis, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell

Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley, K.J. Choi

Nick Watney, David Toms, Ernie Els

Michael Bradley, Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman

D.A. Points, Charley Hoffman, Retief Goosen

John Daly, Jason Dufner, Scott Dunlap


In 2005 Hurricane Katrina knocked over 1,000 trees and left standing water on the course for weeks forcing the Zurich Classic to move to the English Turn Golf & Country Club (where it was held from 1989-2004) until it returned back to TPC-Louisiana in 2007.

Two-time major champion John Daly is in the field on invitation replacing Boo Weekley who withdrew for medical reasons (Daly has not had a full Tour card in six years).

Lee Trevino won here in 1974 without carding a single bogey (the last time a player on Tour has gone bogey-free in a 72-hole tournament).

The tournament record for lowest winning score is 262 established by Chip Beck in 1988.  And Kyle Reifers holds the 18-hole record for low score with his a 64 in 2007.

Television Coverage

Thursday and Friday: Golf Channel 3-6 p.m. EST

Saturday and Sunday: NBC 3-6 p.m. ET

Radio Coverage

Thursday through Sunday: SiriusXM Satellite Radio 12-6 p.m. EST


Odds provided by Las Vegas PGA Tour Golf Betting Odds.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

You can follow Pete on Twitter @TheGreekGrind

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas

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Tour Photo Galleries

WRX Retrospective: Interesting photos from the 2019 Masters



As of now, we know the 2020 Masters is going to have to wait until November. The tournament will be as exciting as it will be interesting since it will be the first modern glimpse into Augusta National beyond April.

It has also given us the great opportunity to look back with hindsight 20/20 (that was very much an unintended pun) at our pictures from 2019 to showcase some of the most noteworthy and interesting, including some potential foreshadowing of the week that was to come.

2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson isn’t one to change putters too often, but he must have been searching for something last year when testing out this TaylorMade Spider.

This was Viktor Hovland’s last Masters as an amateur. He won low amateur honors and went on to capture the same distinction at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

TaylorMade always does a wonderful job with major-themed accessories and bags. 2019 was no exception.

Little did we know at the time this was taken, this man would be leading heading into Sunday’s final round. How the tables turned so quickly.

Callaway’s collab with Seamus Golf lead to these flower-themed headcovers.

We can’t forget that Tuesday practice day was rained out and the course was closed at 10 a.m. to both players and spectators. It wasn’t the warm spring kickoff many had hoped for!

Although it was short-lived, it was a rainy Tuesday for all, including caddies.

The weather broke on Wednesday and the view up the 10th hole never gets old.

Did you realize two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson’s Flightscope has a custom pink paint job?

Inexpensive snacks and beverages are always a highlight of any Master’s visit.

The 2019 Masters featured pre-bulked Bryson, who also happened to have a custom FlightScope X3. He looks like a veritable stick!

They say a picture says 1,000 words, but in the case of Tiger Woods, we had no idea how many words would be written come Sunday.

A peek into the bag of Gary Woodland, who would go on to become the U.S. Open Champion only a few months later.

Special shoutout to Gary Woodland’s caddy Brennan Little, who hails from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and is obviously a big Toronto Blue Jays fan. He was also on the bag for Mike Wier’s win in 2003.

Although the relationship was short-lived, Sergio used some very cool custom Toulon putters while on staff with Callaway Golf.

The eighth green is one of the most interesting and mounded on the course, there’s not a bunker to be found but danger lurks everywhere.

Undulations at No. 1 are a sight to be seen at ground level.

The iconic, understated clubhouse of ANGC.

The tucked-away first tee spike cleaner is something every course should have.

And of course, the iconic 12th, where so much would be decided come Sunday.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship



GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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Tour News

GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational



It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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