Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana Preview, Picks + Predictions Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week

Following an impressive performance at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town by Graeme McDowell in what was surprisingly only his second PGA Tour victory, the PGA Tour heads to the bayou for this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

This year’s tourney boasts a solid field including Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Ernie Els, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Nick Watney, defending champion Jason Dufner and others.

The TPC Louisiana course measures a beastly 7,425 yards and typically ranks as one of the more difficult on Tour; however last year, playoff contestants Jason Dufner and Ernie Els scorched the course to the tune of a record four round total of 19-under par 269 in the bayou (Duf won on the second playoff hole with a birdie).  Overall, 71 bunkers, multiple water hazards plus small and undulating greens that average just 5,700 square feet make the Pete Dye design a feisty one.

Now, on to some picks:

LOCKZILLAS: (Last week: Dufner t-35th, Furyk t-42nd)

Justin Rose
Justin Rose
– The man is a top-25 machine, and would be a victory machine if he would switch to a belly a putter so he could cheat with the rest of ’em…..I mean if he just learned how to putt consistently.  I’m a huge Justin Rose fan, but there’s something just off with his putting.  Call it lack of confidence, mechanical flaws, or what you will, there’s something missing.  Nevertheless, Rosey could putt with the short end of a pool cue and still finish in the top 15 this week.

Freddie Jacobson
“Freddie” Jacobson– His name change still hasn’t quite settled in with me, so I had to put his new Americanized name into quotes (he’ll always be Fredrik to me).  Anyway, the painter-capped Swede continued his top 25 streak with a t-25th at the Masters two weeks ago and has been an ATM all season long on Tour.  Expect more consistency from “Freddie” this week.

Also keep an eye on Nick Watney and Jason Dufner this week.

SEMI-FLIERS: (Last week: de Jonge t-9th, Rollins MC)

Brendon de Jonge
Brendon de Jonge
– I had Brendon in this same spot last week as he finished a solid t-9th at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, despite his final round 75 in those windy conditions.  Brendon is a GIR machine, has some solid momentum on his side and finished t-18th here a year ago.  The man who made the most total birdies on Tour last year WILL win out here sooner than later.  Stay on that de Jonge train.

Jeff Overton
Jeff Overton– The player with the most unnecessarily high speed practice swings in golf (he would definitely lead the Tour in imaginary distance) is finally hitting the real golf ball well and loves this tourney.  Overton finished t-7th at the Valero Texas Open the week before the Masters, and placed t-18th, solo 2nd and t-13th here in NOLA three of the past four years.  Look for those high speed practice swings to be well on camera come this weekend.

HOSEL-ROCKETS: (Last week: Hanson MC (WD during 2nd round would’ve MC’d) Day t-30th)

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson– The 2011 Zurich champ no doubt is glad to have his Masters title defense behind him, as even #Bubbagolf was struggling with that level of attention.  That all being said, I’m going back to what Bubba said before the ’11 Zurich tourney (which he ironically won) in him saying the TPC Louisiana course “doesn’t fit my (his) eyes.”  I forsee Bubba with a bit of a Masters title defense hangover along with some critical Pete Dye TPC Louisiana design comments coming at some point this week.  Stay away from #Bubbagolf this week.

Tianlang Guan
Tianlang Guan– I’m of course cheering for the 14-year-old along with the rest of the golfing world, but this is a classic case of too much too soon.  Take note Guan’s parents and bring the kid back to his Chinese homeland where he can gain more experience playing against kids his own age.  He has the rest of his life to be a grown-up, hopefully they’ll realize this after his guaranteed weekend off.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK: (Herron t-59th)

John Peterson
John Peterson– Playing on a sponsor’s exemption this week, the young LSU grad will no doubt have some fans in the gallery cheering him on.  John qualified for this year’s Masters following his impressive t-4th at last year’s U.S. Open at Olympic Club and made the cut following a solid first round 1-under 71 at Augusta.  John has been playing some solid golf on the Web.com Tour this year and with some competitive momentum on his side coupled with being in front of the home crowd, will have a fiery and solid week on the Pete Dye track.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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