Given his strong relationship with the course, and the redesign, I was tempted to back Louisiana resident David Toms. He started the season on fire, looking right back to his best and a winner waiting to happen. However, he hasnít played well at all here in the last couple of renewals, which may be down to the faster than normal greens. Looking through his career, Toms has rarely performed at his best on surfaces rating 11 on the stimp-meter.
Instead, Iíve gone for a trio who have performed well already here; JOHN MERRICK, LUCAS GLOVER and RYAN MOORE. After an outstanding performance to finish the Masters as top debutant, Merrick must rate one of the best players yet to win on the PGA Tour. The fast greens certainly didnít deter him at Augusta, and finishes of 18th and 7th in the last two years at Louisiana confirm he has no problems with the putting surfaces here either. Nor was the Masters his only good finish to date in 2009. Merrick was also 6th at Pebble Beach, and may be the first player ever to have failed to win a tournament after shooting 30-under, when being edged out at the Bob Hope Classic.
Glover has struck me as overdue a second PGA Tour title for some time, and this looks ideal, having finished 3rd before the course changes, and 8th afterwards in 2007. Since finishing 3rd at Torrey Pines at the end of January, Glover has been playing solidly well just off the pace, tending to throw in the one bad round. Normally, thatís the sign of a player who is due a payout week, and his course history would suggest the same.
As for Moore, this once well-touted prospect has gone off the boil for a while, but has shown marked signs of improvement in recent weeks. His last two events have yielded top-20s, and bar a poor final round 76, he would have been much closer at Redstone. On his sole previous visit to Louisiana in 2007, Moore finished a promising 11th.