John McNamara

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Another Maiden Victory?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Yardage Book

Date: April 28-May 1, 2011
Tournament: The Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Location: New Orleans, LA
Course: TPC Louisiana
Course Par & Length: 36-36=72 / 7,399
Architect: Pete Dye ('03)
Feature Designs by Architect: Crooked Stick GC, Kiawah Island (Ocean Course), Long Cove Club, The Honors Course, Oak Tree CC, The Golf Club, Atlanta National Golf Club, Whistling Straits
Course Record: 64, Troy Matteson, ('09) Kyle Reifers ('07)
Tournament Record: 262, Chip Beck (1998-Lakewood CC)
Greens: Bermuda
Stimpmeter: 11 feet
Green Size: 5,700 sq. ft.
Fairways: Bermuda
Rough: Bermuda….2"
Sand Bunkers: 71
Water Hazards: 5
Needed Attributes: Total Driving, GIR, Scrambling, Par-4 Scoring Average
Defending Champion: Jason Bohn, 18 under-par


The Pro Shop

The PGA Tour heads to the Big Easy for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at the TPC Louisiana, which is 7,399 yards and is a par-72. Pete Dye designed the course with the help of Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson, former PGA Tour player and New Orleans resident.

TPC Louisiana has been the host course for six out of the last seven years, with '06 being the lone year where the tourney revisited English Turn because of Hurricane Katrina. Do not pay attention to history at this event except for the years in '10, '09, '08, '07, and '05.

The course resembles other Pete Dye layouts, sprawling waste areas, water hazards, numerous bunkers, with 69 of them being pot bunkers. Many of the sand traps are for aesthetic purposes and do not cause the players as much trouble as we have come to expect from pot bunkers. Wind can get tricky at this venue and the players will need precision with their irons to control their trajectory in the wind. The last three holes provide some risk-reward opportunities and a tough par-3.

The 348-yard par-4 16th provides an opportunity for the longer hitters to position their tee ball close to the green, but anything left will find the water. The 215-yard par-3 17th requires precision with a long iron approach to an elongated green that is guarded on the left side of the green by the same water on 16. The finishing hole is a 589-yard par-5 that has water running down the entire right side of the fairway and green. The aggressive play is to carry a fairway bunker on the player's second shot, but an intricate bunker to the front-left of the green is a tough up-and-down, especially on Sunday afternoon.

These three holes could provide some fireworks on Sunday and we could see some players play this stretch two-under par and either separate themselves from the field or throw their name in the mix as Brandt Snedeker did this past week in Hilton Head.

The course favors neither the bomber nor the short knocker, but the contenders have shown the tendency to be either one or the other throughout the course's history. Total driving (combo of driving distance and driving accuracy) will guide us to the right player off the tee, while GIR and par-4 scoring average will pinpoint the proper iron-players. The final attribute this week is scrambling. The greens are rather flat with little undulation, so this will help the players who seem to struggle at times, with their putting. However, the runoffs and collection areas will put a premium on a player's ability to chip the ball.

Utilize total driving, GIR, scrambling, par-4 scoring average, and course history at TPC Louisiana as your tournament attributes for the week. Do not put too much emphasis on course history here; few players have shown consistency over the last five years, which is different from last week at The Heritage. Three out of the last five and nine of the last 17 winners at this tournament won on the PGA Tour for the first time and the wide-open field indicates we might have another "Maiden Victory", but I am counting on a win from a previous winner on the PGA Tour.

Please utilize my "Open Door" email policy to make each Fantasy Team a success in '11. I will answer every email and will prefer to talk via the phone on certain occasions. Follow me on Twitter at my Twitter page or email me at JMacFantasyGolf@aim.com with any questions.

Back to Defend


Jason Bohn: Bohn showed positive signs last week during the final rounds of The Heritage, but his inconsistent '11 season is too tough to Promote at the present moment. His irons have slipped over his last three tourneys and his scrambling is tagging along… 26+

Promotions

Ben Crane: Crane has never made a cut on this course in three attempts, but I love where his game is presently. His biggest concern going into last week was his chipping proximity; his scrambling thrived while his irons slipped, but he finished T6. He ranks first in par-4 scoring average and 34th in total driving. His irons will bounce back this week and he will ride his hot putter to another win… First

Nick Watney: It is no surprise that Watney won this event in '07 and he ranks second in my stat calculations to Ben Crane. Disregard the T46 at the Masters and expect an improvement in his irons from ANGC… Second

Justin Rose: Rose did not have his A-Game at the Masters, but he finished T11 and he has finished inside the top-11 in his last three tourneys. Do not worry about his stats; he ranks fourth in the needed attributes… Third

Bubba Watson: If I was not so worried about his consistency, I would have him higher and as my one-and-done selection. He ranks second in GIR, third in total driving, and 22nd in par-4 scoring average. He finished T5 at this track in '07, but his last three appearances have been rather meek (T43, MC, T70). I am counting on him to take advantage of his length on the three finishing holes and get into contention… Fourth

Steve Stricker: Stricker finished seventh in '09 and 11th in '07, but missed the cut in '08 and '05 at TPC Louisiana. He got up for fourth in Houston and finished T11 at the Masters and it looks like he is starting to find his form, but I am still a bit cautious... Fifth

Webb Simpson: It is hard to ignore Simpson's recent success and it looks like the experience of Paul Tesori on the bag has been a great combination thus far in '11. Simpson ranks third in my stat calculations and he has five top-25s in his last six starts… Sixth

David Toms: DT is hitting the ball so good right now and the only thing slowing down the LSU Tiger is his putter. Toms now ranks fourth in GIR, but he is actually trended forward with his scrambling. He finished T5 here in '09 and ranks eighth in par-4 scoring average… Seventh

Spencer Levin: This young skipper could break through for his first win this week and he has the perfect game for this course. Levin's record at this event is not great, but I am overlooking this and I am expecting the California native to contend for the first time in New Orleans… Eighth

Pat Perez: "Double-P" is on fire right now (two straight top-six's) and Perez is showing the signs of why gamers saw him as a Sleeper before the season started. Both his GIR and scrambling numbers are trending forward and he ranks 22nd in par-4 scoring average… Ninth

Robert Allenby: I get giddy when this consummate ball-striker trending forward with his irons (39th in GIR) and Allenby's scrambling numbers are holding steady. He last played this course in '05 and finished T47, but Allenby will improve upon that finish in '11… 10th

Demotions

Graeme McDowell: It is only a matter of time before McDowell finds his rhythm again, but his last four tourneys have been rough for McDowell owners (T42, MC, MC, T61). Sit out the storm and look for sunny days in the future… 26+

Vijay Singh: Singh's scrambling numbers continue to creep backwards (52nd), but we are not seeing his GIR (74th) overcompensate for poor scoring around the greens as we have come to expect from Vijay. I will need to see more consistency with his irons before I can get bullish again… 26th

Camilo Villegas: I was high on Villegas because of course history last week in Hilton Head, but this is his first time at TPC Louisiana. I would like to see a better stat line before I get Villegas back into my Promotions... 36+

Sean O'Hair: O'Hair has now missed four-straight cuts, but has two top-15s in two appearances at this course. Including him in your lineup is a risk, but it will interesting to see how he plays at course with good history... 36+

Tim Petrovic: Petrovic has not played particularly well this year, but before missing the cut at this event in '10, he won in '05 and finished inside the top-24 the other three appearances. Do not count on the same success with Petrovic this year. Normally, a great iron player, Petrovic now ranks 158th in GIR and is trending backwards... 36+

Tim Herron: It was nice to see Lumpy finish inside the top-five last week in Hilton Head, but sit tight until we see another consistent performance from Herron. He missed both cuts at this course, but showed positive trends with his irons and scrambling last week... 36+

Alternates

Brandt Snedeker: Obviously he would be higher, but I worry that he cannot continue his recent run (T15, T4, T4 and a win in four of his last five starts). Interesting stat, he has made six cuts thus far in '11 and every cash has been six figures, very impressive… 11th

Charley Hoffman: Good luck with Hoffman, but his T2 at the Valero Texas Open warrants this spot this week. His inconsistencies have me worried, but his irons are starting to find form and he putted great in San Antonio… 12th

Jeff Overton : Overton's stat profile does not indicate this is the spot for the Indiana Hoosier, but the Zurich jump started his year in '10 after finishing T2. In addition, he finished T13 in '09, but including Overton on your team comes with some risk… 13th

Luke Donald: I am curious to see how Donald responds to the playoff loss last week. This course requires more precision with approach shots and Donald ranks 141st in GIR. His irons did trend forward after The Heritage, but this is his first crack at TPC Louisiana. I am cautious with Donald this week… 14th

K.J. Choi: Choi brings up the rear of my Promotions and Alternates, but I could not overlook him after finishing inside the top-eight in his last two tourneys. He finished T37 and T24 the last two years at the Zurich… 15th

Sleepers

Tommy Gainey: Showing positive trends in both GIR and scrambling. When he is hot, ride Gainey holding on with "Two Gloves" (Could not resist, but that was bad)…Top-20
Jason Dufner: Scrambling stats were crazy good last week and he has two straight top-10's in New Orleans… Top-20
John Senden: Four straight top-24s in '10… Top-20
Jerry Kelly: There is not enough mustard to cover him, but he won here in '09… Top-25
Brandt Jobe: Three top-15s in his last five events… Top-25

One-and-Done Selection

I will make a weekly one-and-done selection each week and will list the players I have already used for you to follow.

Ben Crane: I almost used Bubba Watson here, but I am going to ignore Crane's MC's at this event and go with the number-one ranked player in my stat calculations for the week. I might have gone with Nick Watney here, but I am not sure I would have taken a risk with him on a course that provides inconsistent results… $1,903,915

Already Used: Ernie Els, Charles Howell III, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney, Ryan Palmer, Dustin Johnson, Rory Sabbatini, Alvaro Quiros, Spencer Levin, Fredrik Jacobson, Charl Schwartzel, Jerry Kelly, Justin Rose, Chad Campbell, J.B. Holmes, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker, Luke Donald, Ben Crane

The Locker Room

Please check out the ProGolfTalk blog on NBCSports.com for continued golf coverage throughout the week and you can click PGT link for direct access. Ryan Ballengee runs the blog and does a great job with his golf coverage.

Check out Fantasy Crystal Ball's Live chat at 4:30 pm on Tuesdays. Click the link to the NBCSports.com site for the interactive roundtable amongst Ryan Ballengee, Rob Bolton, and myself. This live chat will be a great dynamic each week and I look forward to answering your questions.

In addition, look for Kevin Merfeld's recap of the tournament each week at Rotoworld.com, we are lucky to have his passion and insight. Here is the link to his recap of The Heritage.

The Golf Channel has a fantasy game as well and I have posted a link for this game. Join the action and see how you rate against the Golf Channel's analysts.

Once again, email me at JMacFantasyGolf@aim.com with any questions.


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John McNamara wrote full-time for Rotoworld in 2010 and 2011, but he still maintains the pulse of the landscape. He was FSWA’s Golf Writer of the Year in 2008 and 2010.
Email :John McNamara



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