Bonjour y’all! We gon geaux head down der to da bayou this weekend for the Zurich Classic of ‘Nawlins for a plateful of po-boys, crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs, and a bowl of gumbo.
We’re hurting a little bit in NLU country this week from a grueling weekend in Hilton Head that produced way more rain and empty cans of Michelob Light (really, RBC?) than actual on-site analysis. Half of us are still on vacation, and the other half are struggling to get hyped for an event that lacks star power, on a course that’s as forgettable as this preview, and that is sandwiched between a slew of big name events. The A-Group options in Yahoo! Fantasy this week look like the bin of used golf balls you find at your local Play it Again Sports shop, with the exception of Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, and Kevin Stadler. Jason Dufner, the 2012 winner is
getting paid playing in China, and Gerry Watson, the 2011 winner is probably still doing this:
The 2013 winner, our boy Billy Horschel, is thankfully in the field. We’re also thankful for this moment from last year’s breakthrough win:
We’re putting as much effort into this week’s preview as Kevin Stadler does with his physio, so bear with us.
When watching this event on TV in 2011, it took Soly until Sunday to realize that he had played this course just six months prior to this tournament. That’s how utterly forgettable this track is, and I’d imagine that’s part of the reason as to why it’s ranked as the 8th worst course on tour per Golf Digest’s player survey. The course is about 25 minutes from Bourbon Street in Avondale, and it’s clear that once you’re five minutes outside of “New Orleans”, you’re actually in Louisiana. When your course’s wikipedia page has two sentences (!), it’s pretty easy to figure out why you have David Toms and Matt Every in your “feature groups.” However, you will hear countless compliments about the tournament staff putting on one of the better events of the year from a player perks perspective (unintentional alliteration, I promise). The wives love coming to this event and the festivities probably entice more guys to show up than otherwise would, which is scary. But as far as the course goes, drink your coffee.
New Orleans, Louisiana is unlike any other city in the US. The bars don’t close, the food is spicy, and it feels like you’re in a European country than a large American port city. From neworleansonline.com:
But it is an American city — just a very different place with a very peculiar history. New Orleans is a place where Africans, both slave and free, and American Indians shared their cultures and intermingled with European settlers. Encouraged by the French government, this strategy for producing a durable culture in a difficult place marked New Orleans as different and special from its inception and continues to distinguish New Orleans today.
The overwhelming theme you’ll hear this week is about the food. Gumbo, po-boys, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, muffulettas, and beignets will have you reaching for the Pepto Bismol in real time. Be prepared to see more tweets like these the rest of the week:
Just landed in New Orleans, home of the chargrilled oyster. Forgot my pants with the elastic waist at home.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) April 23, 2014
If I lived in New Orleans I would wanna be an offensive lineman. The food is too good to pass up #butter
— Mark Anderson (@mark_andersonsc) April 23, 2014
It was like watching two of your sons (Horschel and Stanley) battling down the stretch, just praying that the neighborhood bully (D.A. Points) didn’t step up and ruin it, and he almost did. We were ecstatic to see loyal NLU follower BillyHo notch his first win, and to see Stanley get his first great result of the season.
(all lines courtesy Ladbrokes.com, the Official Bookmaker of NoLayingUp.com)
Horses for Courses
Rickie Fowler (14/1) – In form right now coming off back to back top tens in Augusta and Houston. The dividends from his swing changes are really paying off. If he gets hot with the putter watch out. Never finished outside top-32 here.
Graham Delaet (20/1) – Length pays off at TPC Louisiana, and Graham is flat out long. I’ll cherry pick his 2012 T4 finish and ignore the T47 in 2013 and MC in 2010 and suggest playing the Candian this week.
Ryan Palmer (25/1) – Another guy in form (runner up at Honda, top ten at Houston, and right in the mix in San Antonio before getting ejected with a final round 82), he hasn’t missed a cut since October. T4 here back in 2012. This will be my biggest play this week – strong hunch on this one.
Kevin Stadler (40/1) – Coming off an extraordinary debut at Augusta and played consistently last week at Heritage. Confidence has to be at an all-time high and he was T8 here LY. Excels on bomb and gouge tracks.
JB Holmes (50/1) – T13 in his only appearance here. Appears to be regaining groove since his injury-shortened 2013 campaign. Also a bomb and gouge specialist.
Spencer Levin (150/1) – Spence made the cut at Heritage, then shot -3 in tough conditions on the weekend. He’s working hard on his game trying to convert his major medical exemption into a card for next year. He’s due.
We couldn’t muster up the strength to do a recap of the RBC Heritage, mostly because we spent most of our time in a cloud of cigar smoke following groups on the opposite side of the course from the leaders, and we missed a lot of the deciding action. However, here are a few thoughts.
- On Friday night, we recorded our first ever NLU podcast. We’ve still got some kinks to work out, but overall, I would call it a success. Soly went to bat for Matt Kuchar, and was rewarded with a final round 64 and a victory much to the delight of the vacationers in Hilton Head. We’ll hopefully post the podcast soon, and any ideas you guys have for topics of discussion, please send our way.
- We followed Billy Horschel for 27 holes, and watched him stripe fairway after fairway, green after green, yet somehow did not see a birdie. Although Billy wasn’t exactly stuffing it next to the hole, don’t be surprised to see his game turn at some point in the next few weeks.
- Our best story from this weekend. Fil, to Ricky Barnes, “Hey Ricky, you staying at (Fil’s family friend)’s house this week?” Ricky: “Yeah.” Imagine a really awkward pause, and several people now looking at us. Not imagine a longer pause. Fil: “Cool!” Ricky walks away and signs some autographs. End of story.
- As we noted on twitter this week, Brooks Koepka shot 64 in the Monday qualifier and earned his way into the field. With a made cut, he can lock up temporary membership on the PGA Tour, and can toss aside his passport for the rest of the year. This guy is a potential American star, and more should be made of the fact that he had to go to Europe to play his way onto the tour due to the new Q-school process (the blood is on your hands Finchy).
- We’ll leave you with this. One of my favorite SNL skits ever. The premise is that everyone in the courtroom except for the plaintiff is a New Orleans transplant who moved to Maine after Hurricane Katrina, yet never lost their ‘Nawlins roots.