April 24 2013
Justin Rose has finished 25th or better in the last 14 tournaments he's played.
By Rob Bolton, Fantasy Insider
The field for this week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans features nine of the top 12 in career earnings at the event. Since TPC Louisiana has hosted all but one editionof the tournament since 2005, all-time money earned is a fair reference point.
At the top is Jason Dufner whose title defense excludes him in some formats. However, he's earned more money at this event than any other on the strength of four consecutive top-10s. He's the no-brainer option this week even though he hasn't posted a top-10 on the PGA TOUR this season.
Charles Howell III refuses to fade, and he sits second in earnings. However, while he was a co-runner-up in 2009 and has chased it with three cuts made in as many starts, his other three top-10s occurred at English Turn. Still, he's worth a pick in two-man formats since he's historically played most of his best golf in the first half of the season.
Fourth in all-time earnings is Bubba Watson, who won this event in 2011 despite admitting that he didn't like how TPC Louisiana fit his eye. Of course, he wasn't the first to utter that phrase about a Pete Dye creation, and the lefty won't be the last. Watson also tied for fifth (2007) and 18th (2012) here, and he's been lighting up leaderboards everywhere else. The Zurich Classic boasts a purse of $6.6 million, and Watson could come in handy later, but he's a plumb pick in this field with that payout.
Jerry Kelly (fifth in earnings), K.J. Choi (sixth), David Toms (eighth), Andres Romero (ninth) and Nick Watney (11th) round out the guys in the top 12 scheduled to play. Kelly and Romero are mildly attractive options in deeper modified formats.
Meanwhile, Justin Rose sits atop my Power Rankings and is available to me. Normally, I'd like a stronger track record to support my decision to invest, but I'll hop on the bandwagon with his current string of 14 straight top-25s. He's my selection this week.
One final angle that cannot be ignored is that four of the seven champions at TPC Louisiana were first-time PGA TOUR winners. This includes the first three -- Tim Petrovic (2005), Watney (2007) and Romero (2008) -- and Dufner rekindled the trend last year. Additionally, four of the nine runner-ups in those editions are still non-winners. So TPC Louisiana could could be a coronation for non-winners playing well like Billy Horschel, Jimmy Walker and Jeff Overton, all of whom cracked my Power Rankings.
Last week: Boo Weekley; T42; $19,720,00
Overall Record: 15-for-17
Top 5s: 5
Top 10s: 9
Top 25s: 12
Missed Cuts: 2