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 champions – eight different nations have been represented in the winner’s circle over the last 20 years. Given the cultural melting pot that is the city of New Orleans, such variation seems appropriate.
For the last four years the title has gone to first-time winners: Tim Petrovic, Chris Couch, Nick Watney and Andres Romero. In 2008, Argentina’s Romero finished hours before his nearest challengers owing to weather interruptions. He had a long and anxious wait to see if his total of -13 would hold up. When Peter Lonard missed a birdie putt on the final green to force a playoff, the title went to Romero.
The course was altered dramatically by Pete Dye after the 2005 tournament. Bucking the modern trend, the majority of his alterations involved shortening holes and adding hazards to demand a more strategic approach.
Venue: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana
Date: April 23-26
Course stats: par 72, 7,341 yards
Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,116,000
Defending champion: Andres Romero (-13)
Thursday 23rd – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Friday 24th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Saturday 25th – Live on Setanta Golf from 6pm
Sunday 26th – Live on Setanta Golf from 6pm
Nick Watney – He’s enjoyed good form in 2009 and he won this tournament in 2007. He must be in with a chance this time out.
Kenny Perry – It’s hard to overlook the veteran Kentuckian in any tournament he starts at the moment. He’ll be keen to bounce back from his disappointing defeat at Augusta and victory here would be the perfect tonic.
Tim Wilkinson – The Kiwi was third in this event last year and recorded a sixth place finish last week. He should be there or thereabouts on Sunday afternoon.
Key Hole: 15th. A very tough par-4 of 480 yards. The hole requires a solid drive and, although there are no bunkers, the green is surrounded by tricky run-offs making pitching very difficult.
Skills Required: Course management. The winner will carefully plot his way round this re-designed layout. Bludgeoning it with the driver is not always the most prudent option.