Hey! We're back to a field that looks more like the PGA Tour than the Nationwide. Bubba, Luke, JRose, Stricker and others are in New Orleans for the Zurich Classic, and James Dalthorp (over his illness) will be there to report on all the action. Check back here for updates, news and notes from the TPC.
The greens in N'awlins are small and have lots of humps and bumps. Iron play is key, and if the weather gets nasty or windy (as is relatively common, and there are thunderstorms in the forecast) good scoring can be difficult.
So a few of the big guns are here, but before Bubba won last year did you know the previous three winners were Jason Bohn, Jerry Kelly and Andres Romero? This tourney has the tendency to crown a serious darkhorse.
Notable players who have withdrawn: John Huh, Brandt Snedeker, Anthony Kim. You can see the updated list at the bottom of this page.
The obvious picks this week:
- Bubba Watson (defending champ, last tournament was The Masters victory)
- Luke Donald
- Steve Stricker
- Justin Rose
- Keegan Bradley
Onto the 10-Fer, where we highlight the non-obvious picks, and for time-based reasons I can only give you five guys this week (but they're super strong, TRUST ME):
5. David Toms. He's from Louisiana, he's won this tourney before (at English Turn in 2001) and hasn't finished worse than 28th the last three years.
4. Matt Every. Finished t2 last week in San Antonio and now has four top-10's this year. He's a great iron player and this course rewards that, with small undulating greens.
3. John Senden. Hadn't missed a cut this year until The Masters, and had a top-15 here in 2011. Classic tee-to-green guy who just has to make a couple of putts per round to be in the hunt.
2. Ben Crane. He's been solid this year, finished t20 here last year and is probably tired of Bubba, Mahan, and Fowler getting all the attention of the 'Golf Boys.'
1. Jason Dufner. He's climbing his way into contention every week but can't seem to pull it together for four rounds. He's great here, with top-10's the last three years. He should be a good bet for a big check.
Player to avoid: Webb Simpson. That's hard to type, especially since he lost in a playoff to Bubba here last year, but he's been very average in 2011. Wait for him to get his game back to an elite level, because eventually he will.
Decent picks last week: Bobby Estes (t4), Charley Hoffman (t13), Bud Cauley (t18) each earned decent checks.
Bad picks: Chappell and Na both W/D after round one. Ouch. Kevin Stadler, making his debut in the 10-Fer, rewarded us with rounds of 77-80. No soup for you.
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Photo: US Presswire