April 27 2012
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. – How did Bubba Watson describe his first round on the PGA TOUR since winning the Masters?
Watson has been through the media mill since winning the Green Jacket and it showed in his golf game. Watson was 2 over before rallying to shoot 1-under 71. He may have been exhausted but he was not too tired to sign autographs. Watson says he owed it to his fans to sign until everyone had his signature.
Firming up: The wind was blowing, yet the scoring was low. That means the course was soft. Springtime rains have left TPC Louisiana vulnerable in the early rounds, and despite winds gusting up to 20 miles an hour, greens were still very receptive. That will change as the week progresses. With wind and heat in the forecast, by Sunday this course will have some fire in the fairways and greens.
Chopra: It’s been a tough year for Daniel Chopra, as he has yet to make a cut in seven events. So, as he stood in the 18th fairway, I wondered if Chopra would protect his score or challenge the green. He was 5 under at the time and hit a 2-iron, thinking eagle. Chopra flew the green and made par to shoot 67, but the fact he challenged the hole instead of protecting his score tells me he is still a confident golfer.
Abacus: Graeme McDowell had to play ten holes before making a par. His front nine consisted of six birdies and three bogeys, then he reeled off five pars before finishing with two bogeys and two birdies. They broke out an abacus in the scoring tent to total 3-under 69 for the Ulsterman.
Bermuda: It has been a wonderful year to grow Bermuda grass in New Orleans. It’s been hot and rainy and the grass has thrived. With so much healthy Bermuda, the greens have a lot of grain. Bermuda grass always grows toward the setting sun and players are very aware this week when they putt into the grain or with the grain. It dramatically affects both chipping and putting. These are the "grainiest" greens we've seen on TOUR this year.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and on site this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.