Horschel and Piercy produce winning combination in New Orleans
April 30, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Horschel and Piercy win Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Welcome to the Monday Finish where the music is still pumping down by the bayou for Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy after they combined brilliantly to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Here are five observations and insights from TPC Louisiana, where the tournament continues to innovate and is quickly becoming a must-stop on the PGA TOUR.
1. The winning combination of a guy (Billy Horschel) who is outwardly emotional and another (Scott Piercy) who is seemingly a lot more insular emotionally was certainly an interesting one. Piercy actually revealed – and Horschel confirmed – that he had been part of a team of people to help spark Horschel’s flagging season a few weeks ago with a pep talk and advice on keeping his swing thoughts much simpler. And Piercy has been struggling with his putting this season but seeing Horschel make a ton of putts freed him up to make some of his own. The win is set to really catapult both men into the back half of the season with Horschel now ready to attempt to become just the second player, behind Tiger Woods, to win the FedExCup twice. Read more about the team dynamic here.
2. The introduction of walk up music to the tournament in the weekend rounds was certainly well received and created plenty of buzz. Discussions on what teams picked for their songs dominated the discussions pre-tournament and by the time we saw it all in action the anticipation was pretty high. While some teams got into the spirit more than others it was sensational to see guys like Ben Crane and Alex Cejka rock out on the tee box and clever of players like Cameron Percy and Greg Chalmers to mix giveaways with their song. The Australians had Men at Work’s “Down Under” and actually gave out Vegemite sandwiches to fans! Justin Rose making fun of teammate Henrik Stenson with the choice of “Gold” from Spandau Ballet in reference to their Olympic history was also priceless. Check out some of the good stuff in this compilation.
3. While a debrief is yet to be done, the format change which saw alternate shot switched to Friday and Sunday was pretty awesome. It created a lot more drama both in terms of making or missing the cut and of course crowning a champion. Clearly the harder format over that of Four-ball, the stress of playing team golf was really brought to the fore. We are used to seeing these guys produce brilliant play week in and week out when they are playing as individuals, so it is refreshing to see them under the gun and needing to work together. Thursday’s leaders were not there after Friday, and Saturday’s leaders were not there after Sunday. Multiple teams had a chance to win Sunday and that’s always going to be exciting.
4. The strength of the field this year was up again with big names throughout the field list. With Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose there were four of the top five players in the world in New Orleans. Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson were other top 20 in the world players joining the fun. While Spieth, Thomas, Rahm, Koepka and Garcia all missed the cut with their teammates, it showed how much the event is becoming a must-stop on the TOUR schedule. Players get to relax a little, play with a friend, and still compete for great prizemoney and crucial FedExCup points. Don’t be surprised if even more big names turn up in 2019.
5. There were only a handful of them throughout the tournament, but it was great to see what could be a few previews of World Cup teams at TPC Louisiana. The World Cup of Golf will be held in Melbourne, Australia at The Metropolitan Golf Club on November 21-25. The format is the same as the Zurich Classic with alternating days of Four-Ball and Foursomes play. In the World Cup the highest ranked player of a nation that decides to compete can choose his partner so plenty can change between now and November. But seeing the Chinese pair of Xinjun Zhang and Zecheng Dou leading after the first round was perhaps something to take note of. Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Paisley of England looked a very impressive combination as they finished fourth this week. Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen were third and could be a very good South African team. Scotsmen Martin Laird and Russell Knox were also pretty decent on the way to a T7 finish. Other teams getting some potential practice included Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, Canadians Mackenzie Hughes and Corey Conners, the Mexican duo of Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz and Argentina’s Fabian Gomez and Andrew Romero.
1. Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel received 400 FedExCup points for the victory with Piercy moving to 27th in the standings and Horschel moving to 33rd.
2. The win is the fifth of Horschel’s career in his 191st start at the age of 31 years, 4 months, 22 days. Horschel’s PGA TOUR titles: 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson, 2014 TOUR Championship, 2014 BMW Championship, 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. It is the fourth PGA TOUR title for Piercy in his 251st start at the age of 39 years, 5 months, 23 days. Piercy’s PGA TOUR victories: 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, 2015 Barbasol Championship, 2012 RBC Canadian Open, 2011 Barracuda Championship.
3. Jason Dufner (paired with Pat Perez) fell just short of also becoming a repeat Zurich Open champion. He won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2012 and has finished in the top-10 six of the last 10 years. (2nd 2018, T5 2017, Won 2012, T3 2011, T7 2010, T9 2009). The runner-up is Dufner’s first top-10 of the 2017-18 season and first time finishing in the top two since winning in 2017 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Perez earned his fourth top-five of the season (2nd - Zurich Classic of New Orleans, T4 - Sentry Tournament of Champions, T5 - THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, Won - CIMB Classic) and is now No. 11 in the FedExCup standings.
4. The Four-ball format proved decidedly easier than the Foursomes. In Four-ball the scoring average was 65.888 on Thursday and 65.222 on Saturday. Contrast that with 73.863 on Friday and 72.250 on Sunday. While some more rounds of 60 were recorded in Four-ball, no team has yet to shoot sub-60 in the two years of the format.
5. Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, who lost in a Monday playoff in the 2017 Zurich Classic, shot a 5-over 77 in the final round to finish T15. Kisner and Brown were leading after 54 holes this week and – combined with 2017 – were 47 under before the final-round 77.