The PGA Tour heads to Louisiana this week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Billy Horschel defends the title and a strong field has assembled at TPC Louisiana in Avondale.

TAGS:

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour heads to Louisiana this week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Billy Horschel defends the title and a strong field has assembled at TPC Louisiana in Avondale.

One of the oldest events on the PGA Tour, the New Orleans Open was first contested in 1939. Over the years the tournament has produced a diverse selection of victors – nine different nations have been represented in the winner’s circle over the last 25 years. Given the cultural melting pot that is the city of New Orleans, such variation seems appropriate.

Last year Billy Horschel came through two final round weather delays to fire a final round of 64 and beat D.A. Points by a stroke. His four-round total of 20-under-par was the lowest ever recorded at TPC Louisiana.

TPC Louisiana was altered dramatically by original designer Pete Dye, together with Steve Elkington after the 2005 tournament. Many of his changes involved adding hazards to demand a more strategic approach. It’s a course where precision is essential. The greens are relatively large but they are undulating and it’s vital to leave yourself on the right side of the flag.

The forecast is for rain on Saturday and fog on Sunday. There were weather delays last year and they’re certainly not impossible again this year.

Venue: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana
Date: Apr 24-27
Course stats: par 72, 7,399 yards
Purse: $6,800,000 Winner: $1,188,000
Defending Champion: Billy Horschel (-20)

Player Watch:

Ryan Palmer – He was tied seventh in the Shell Houston Open and was tied fourth here back in 2012. He’s looking to avoid U.S. Open qualifying and a win here would achieve that goal.

Patrick Reed – He’s not played too well since winning the Cadillac, but showed glimpses of a return to form last week at Harbour Town. He was tied 24th here two years ago.

Paul Casey – The Englishman played solidly last week in the RBC Heritage and could just spring a surprise this week.

Key Hole: 17th. A par-3 of 215 yards, this tends to rank as the toughest hole on the course. With a recently reshaped green, a pot bunker guarding the right side and difficult run-off areas, par is an excellent score here.

Skills required: Course management. Finding the right positions to attack the undulating putting surfaces is a key to success here.