Though the Zurich Classic of New Orleans is one of the longest running fixtures on the PGA Tour, TPC Louisiana is not the easiest venue to draw conclusions about. The course had to be completely redesigned after Hurricane Katrina, so all form prior to 2007 can only be of limited value.
Looking purely at the two winners; NICK WATNEY and Andres Romero; it would be easy to conclude that driving distance is a significant advantage. The presence of Anthony Kim and Bubba Watson in the frame two years ago appear to strengthen that conclusion, but I doubt its that simple. For also amongst the 13 players to have made the top-5 since the redesign are Ken Duke, Peter Lonard and Woody Austin; players who usually tend to prefer courses with a greater emphasis on accuracy and position.
In short then, Louisiana suits a variety of types of player, so the best sense may be to stick to those who have shown their liking for the place before. None more so than Watney, who is at least twice the player now than he was when winning this in 2007. Nobody has been more consistent in the States this year, confirmed by another top-20 last time at the Masters. If he keeps this up, it won’t be long before Watney is adding to his triumphs here and in this season’s Buick Invitational.
Watney is vying for favouritism with Kenny Perry, and makes infinitely more appeal. Besides the fact that Perry finished outside the top-20 here in the last two years, one has to wonder what effect his disastrous finish at Augusta will have had on him. In interviews afterwards, he was admirably philosophical about it, recognising what a good life he has a pro golfer. But he would only be human if that shocking, totally unforeseeable bogey-bogey finish hasn’t constantly played on his thoughts over the last fortnight.