Zurich Classic of New OrleansThursday Apr 24 - Sunday Apr 27, 2014 • Purse: $6,800,000 • Winning Share: $1,224,000 • FedExCup Points: 500 • zurichgolfclassic.com
The first hole is one of the shortest Par-4s on the golf course. Most players will hit a fairway wood or long iron off the tee into the narrow fairway trying to avoid the long fairway bunker on the left. The right side of the green has a nasty pot bunker that must be avoided.
A mid-length Par-5 that has been shortened since 2005. The green was shifted to the left and the bunker complex on the right was enlarged and flattened to make a 3rd or 4th shot out of that area less punishing. It is also a bit smaller so placement of the tee shot to the right side of the fairway is critical if going for the green in two.
The tee shot on this Par-3 is visually deceptive, as the front part of the large green is hidden by a grass mound. The green is relatively flat, but players should be aware of water behind and to the right of the green.
One of the longer holes on the course, the 4th sets up for a fade off the tee to avoid a hazard on the right. This will leave players with a mid-to-long iron shot into the green that favors a left-to-right approach. Trees on the left took a hit during Katrina but still pose a problem. Beware of the deep pot bunkers left of the green, but don't short-side yourself if the hole location is on the right.
This beautiful hole requires a little draw off the tee box. The second shot will favor a cut over a long fairway bunker and multiple pot bunkers on the right side of the green.
The third long Par-4 in the front side's "triangle of doom" requires a long, straight drive that avoids a hazard on the left. The 2nd shot is a 90-degree dogleg to the left, and players will hit anything from fairway woods to long irons depending on the wind conditions. Katrina amputated a good number of trees on this hole so the wind is an even bigger factor.
A fairly long Par-5 requires a well-placed drive, avoiding the massive fairway bunker on the right and some pot bunkers on the left. A lay-up is prudent play as the fairway widens out to the right. Longer hitters must avoid the pot bunker to the left if they are trying to hit a smallish green in two.
This hole may be reachable downwind for big hitters but mounds have been added and the green adjusted a bit since 2005 to make such a play quite risky. Bunkers have been expanded at the request of the players, so this should be a more playable and exciting hole.
A demanding Par-3 that has been changed significantly since 2005. The back tee was eliminated and an existing tee complex was expanded so that tournament officials can set-up a shorter tee shot that plays over a corner of the lake separating #9 and #18. The left bunker has been removed and replaced by bulkheading. A tough hole!
A fairway wood or iron is required for this hole. A well-executed tee shot will allow players to be aggressive with a wedge or short iron into this narrow but deep green.
After pounding a driver on this long Par-5, decisions must be made. Going for the green in two requires the 2nd shot to be maneuvered around the tall cypress tree in the middle of the fairway, a mere 80 yards from the green. Laying up on the hole is tricky as well. Make sure the lay-up is well to the right of the cypress tree so you will have an easier approach to a well-guarded, narrow green.
Perhaps the toughest hole on the golf course. The tee shot should be hit with a slight draw. This will leave a long-to-mid iron into a green that requires a fade. A deep bunker is on the right, while a large chipping area dominates the left side of the big green.
Another tricky, short Par-4 that may cause long hitters to try to press their luck. Deep pot bunkers surround the green so that it is a dubious play with no eagles being made in 2005. The green is the smallest on the golf course so a better play is a long iron to the right of the cypress tree to set-up a wedge into what should be a birdie hole.
Straightforward Par-3 that requires a long iron shot into a green. Different tee complexes can make this hole play as short as 155 yards.
An extremely tough hole that was pivotal in the 2005 tournament, #15 requires a solid tee shot that favors a slight draw. The green does not have any bunkers but runs away from the player and has a few slopes that make any pitches or chips tricky. Par is a great score here.
Number 16 is the hole that Mr. Dye has changed most dramatically since the 2005 tournament. The back tee was eliminated and the hole shortened by 80 yards. Players now can choose to try hitting a driver over a fairway bunker complex with overhanging trees to a green that now features water to the front and left. A better play may be a short iron followed by a wedge into the green to try and make birdie.
Bunkers to the left were eliminated and replaced by bulkheading but the pot bunker on the right remains. Par will be a great score on the newly reshaped green.
The finishing hole at TPC Louisiana has undergone several refinements due to player concerns about playability and length. The hole was shortened and the massive "skyscraper" bunker on the left side of the fairway has been reshaped. Closer to the green, mounding was added and some bunkers expanded to make a lay-up more challenging. On the right side, Mr. Dye "notched" the hazard and eliminated a bunker to make going for the green a bit more risky. A true risk-reward gambling Par-5, the 18th at TPC should ensure great theatre and a great champion for the 2008 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
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