Category: Zurich Classic

April 26, 2013

Video: Three-legged alligator walks across fairway in New Orleans

Posted at 11:44 AM by Mike Walker

Where's Boo Weekley when you need him? A three-legged alligator climbed out of the water to sun himself and watch some golf during the first round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on Thursday, much to the amusement of the Golf Channel's Nick Faldo.

And here's Boo Weekley's famous description of how to communicate with alligators from the 2011 Zurich Classic. (Starts at 2:25 mark)

April 18, 2013

Masters star Guan Tianlang sticking to his routine in New Orleans

Posted at 8:12 PM by Mark Dee

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old breakout star of this year's Masters, is sticking with his routine in preparation for play at next week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans. That means practicing, studying and, yes, grinding out shots in the same deliberate manner that got him slapped with a controversial slow play penalty at Augusta.

Things have been moving fast for Guan since then, and he expects his on-course pace to pick up at New Orleans as well. "I think my routine is not too bad," he said Wednesday. "It's just the time it takes to make a decision. The wind at Augusta swirls, so [it was hard] to make decisions in a quick time."

Good that one thing will stay the same for Guan, who thrust himself into international prominence last week by becoming the youngest player to ever make the cut in the Masters. He hasn't been home to Guangzhou, China in almost a month, and doesn't have firm plans yet for his return. Despite traveling with his parents, Guan admitted he was "a little bit homesick" on Wednesday.

But this extended trip hasn't been a vacation for the eighth grader. According to his mother, Guan is keeping up with his studies, and has done his homework every day except during the competition rounds of the Masters. For the now-famous 14-year-old, it's all part of the routine: And why not? "There's Wi-Fi in the Crow's Nest," he said.

(Photo: John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)

April 16, 2013

Masters sensation Tianlang Guan to play PGA Tour event

Posted at 6:45 PM by Mike Walker

Guan_300After making the cut and finishing as low amateur at the Masters tournament, 14-year-old Chinese golf sensation Tianlang Guan is going to try his luck in a regular PGA Tour event.

Guan has accepted a sponsor's exemption to play the Zurich Classic, which begins April 25 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, outside New Orleans, according to

Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old from China who thanks to a remarkable display of poise and shot-making was the low amateur at the Masters on Sunday, has accepted a sponsor's exemption to the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

“The Fore!Kids Foundation, host organization of the Zurich Classic, is all about benefiting youth,” said Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, whose group puts on the Zurich Classic. “Tianlang Guan represents the aspirations of millions of young golfers and golf fans of all ages worldwide.”

Guan qualified for the Masters in November, when he won the Asia-Pacific Amateur. At age 14, he was the youngest player to ever play in the Masters, two years younger than Matteo Manassero was in 2010. He is also the youngest player to ever make a cut on the PGA Tour.

However, Guan wasn't the youngest player to ever play on the PGA Tour. Don Dunkelberger was 11 years old when he competed in the Chicago Open. (He withdrew after shooting 103 in the opening round). Michelle Wie was 14 years old when she played the 2004 Sony Open. Wie shot 68/72, missing the cut by one.

Photo: Tianlang Guan accepts trophy for Low Amateur at the 2013 Masters (Fred Vuich/SI).

April 30, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Deadspin provokes PGA Tour on video use

Posted at 12:12 PM by Mick Rouse

PGA Tour vs. Deadspin
Toward the end of January, Deadspin posted this pretty hilarious video of a sound guy biting it as Ryuji Imada prepared to tee off at the Humana Challenge. According to Deadspin's Barry Petchesky, the PGA Tour did not find the video nearly as funny.

It was not the pinnacle of sports commentary, but it was a guy falling down, and I thought it was pretty funny.

The PGA Tour disagreed. They sent us a nice little letter on PGA letterhead, noting that " is displaying unauthorized PGA TOUR video content....This footage could not have been captured except in violation of the PGA TOUR's on-site policies, and in violation of PGA TOUR's copyrights."

That letter insisting the video be taken down can be seen here.

Deadspin and the Gawker Media legal team responded to the PGA Tour, arguing fair use. The PGA Tour and their lawyers have since rejected that argument, as seen in this letter, stating, "Gawker used the most substantial, important, and commercially profitable portion of PGA TOUR's content."

We'll have to wait and see if further legal action is taken against Deadspin, but Petchesky seemed to find the entire squabble just as funny as the video that sparked it all.

Once again, we're talking about a guy falling down. If that's the most profitable portion of the entire Humana Challenge broadcast, they've got bigger problems than some tinpot website milking it for laughs. The video stays up. Damn the man, save the Empire.

Bubba ready to go home
It has been a whirlwind ride for Bubba Watson since winning the Masters, and now he is ready to get home to his wife and new son, reports Ryan Ballengee

"I just want to go home and then see what it feels like to be a real dad and be there and support my wife and everything," Watson said Sunday. "So, that's where I really want to be right now."

Despite the exhausting schedule and missing home, Bubba still pulled together a T18 finish at the Zurich Classic, keeping his goal to finish every event in contention alive and well.

"Pretty good week being tired, coming back for the first time after winning the Masters, all this different media attention, you know, all the stuff that comes with it," he said. "It's something you got to get used to. Wears on you, tires you out. Somehow, I finished in the top 20. A lot of guys wished they did that. Not a bad week."

Watson will skip this week's Wells Fargo Championship, but never fear, he'll be back in time for the Players — that is, unless he opts out for diaper duty.

"That's where I'm supposed to be. That's where I'm scheduled to play. We're going to go home and evaluate and see where we're at," he said.

Lexi's prom date controversy
Lexi Thompson is 17, and like thousands of teenagers across America, she'll be attending her high school prom in a few weeks. But Lexi isn't just any teenager, so she can't have just any date. She needs an American hero. By now you've probably seen the video in which she announces a contest for U.S. servicemen, who can upload a photo to her Facebook page in hopes of winning the chance to take her to prom. The video has sparked some controversy, and many in the media have deemed the stunt "creepy."

I'm scratching my head at the controversy. Clearly this is a calculated PR move -- everything  Thompson does from this point forth essentially will be -- but creepy? It's not like Lexi is trying to knock down the door of 30-year-old servicemen, and she specifically states that candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 20. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable or inappropriate age range. But more importantly: it's simply a date to a high school prom.

Tweet(s) of the Day

Final-round highlights from Jason Dufner's win at 2012 Zurich Classic

Posted at 11:28 AM by

Check out the highlights from the final round at the Zurich Classic, where Jason Dufner beat Ernie Els on the second hole of sudden death to earn his first career PGA Tour victory.

March 20, 2012

Truth & Rumors: How wee Rory McIlroy hits 300-plus-yard drives

Posted at 2:13 PM by Michael Chwasky

If you've ever wondered how a guy like Rory McIlroy, who's 5'9" and 160 lbs, can hit the ball such absurd distances, the answer is his crazy hip action. Yup, Rory's hips move and rotate in a way that sets him apart from you, me, and most of the guys playing on Tour. Of course that doesn't mean you can't learn something about producing speed and power from studying Rory's technique. Check out this vid from ESPN Sport Science to see just how the current No. 2 player in world goes deep: 

Luke Donald and other big names commit to Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation (producer of the Zurich Classic), announced that Luke Donald, the current No. 1 player in the world, has committed to play in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Donald joins other top players including PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Camilo Villegas, Steve Stricker, and defending champion Bubba Watson. 

"These are some of the marquee players we have been waiting to commit," said Worthy. "With 25 PGA TOUR winners over the past two years, including two of the top five in the world and defending PGA champion Keegan Bradley playing here, this year's field is already the strongest in anyone's memory, and we still have some big names who have verbally agreed but not yet formally committed." 

The Zurich Classic begins April 26 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La.

Tweet of the Day

May 02, 2011

Zurich, Farmers donate $250,000 to charity for Bubba's win

Posted at 12:58 PM by

Bubba Watson got a nice trophy for winning the Zurich Classic golf tournament on Sunday, but families recovering from last week's severe storms received a gift as well.

Zurich Financial Services Group, sponsor of the Zurich Classic tournament in New Orleans, donated $250,000 to recovery efforts in the Southeast in honor of Bubba Watson winning the tournament.

"Zurich is committed to giving back to the communities we serve and we've had resources on the ground in the stricken areas since last week," said Paul Hopkins, Chairman of the Americas, Zurich Financial Services Group.

Hopkins added that the donation was also done to commemorate Watson's win at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego in January. Farmers Insurance is a subsidiary of Zurich

"Since Bubba won both tournaments, we thought it was fitting that we make a substantial donation to the victims of the storms that occurred during the week of the tournament," Hopkins said.

The Farmers Insurance Open and the Zurich Classic were Watson's second and third career wins. His first win came at the Travelers Championship in Hartford, Conn., in 2010.

April 27, 2011

Faxon still atop exemptions list for 2011 PGA Tour season

Posted at 1:52 PM by Gary Van Sickle

The rich got richer this week. All of the players atop my Ex-Men list, which keeps track of players who receive the most sponsors' exemptions, got free passes into the Zurich Classic.

Seven of the top eight names on our list received exemptions. The list was led by Brad Faxon, who got his seventh exemption. He was followed by Scott McCarron and Joe Ogilvie, six each; Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, five; John Daly, four; and Lee Janzen and Will MacKenzie, three each.

There were no significant changes in the money standings; of the seven players to receive exemptions at the Heritage, only Ben Martin made the cut. He tied for 56th and won $12,768.

Sponsor’s Exemptions Standings (Cuts made through Heritage)
7 Brad Faxon (0)

6 Scott McCarron (2)
6 Joe Ogilvie (2)

5 Sam Saunders (2)

4 John Daly (1)

3 Lee Janzen (1)
3 Will MacKenzie (0)
3 Charles Warren (0)

2 Joseph Bramlett (0)
2 Erik Compton (2)
2 Ross Fisher (0)
2 Peter Hanson
2 Matteo Manassero (1)
2 Ben Martin (1)
2 Scott Piercy (1)
2 Brett Quigley (1)
2 Brendan Steele (1)
2 Peter Tomasulo (2)
2 Duffy Waldorf (1)
2 Lee Westwood (2)

Money Won on sponsors' exemptions
$374,000 Scott Stallings
$251,600 John Cook
$222,650 Gary Woodland
$177,375 Shigeki Maruyama
$132,425 Sam Saunders
$126,680 Joe Ogilvie
$88,000 Peter Hanson
$82,650 Justin Hicks
$71,304 Lee Westwood
$55,481 Martin Kaymer
$55,481 Matteo Manassero
$34,965 Brett Quigley
$34,875 Dicky Pride
$34,432 Scott Piercy
$33,250 Jason Gore

April 23, 2010

What to Watch for Friday in New Orleans: Rain, Sergio, Couch, Romero

Posted at 9:25 AM by Gary Van Sickle

Rain. Well, it is New Orleans, what do you expect? Only a chance of thundershowers, however, maybe in the afternoon. If it gets windy, scores will go up. If not and the course softens, the afternoon guys could catch a break.

Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard is the only player in the field ranked in the top 25 in the world, and he’s been struggling of late. He shot one over Thursday and was one stroke off the cutline, so he’ll need a little bit of a rally today to play on the weekend. He teed off early this morning. (Leaderboard)

Chris Couch. A former winner of this event, Couch has made a nice comeback from shoulder surgery and a subsequent problem with frozen shoulder (don’t ask, but you don’t want to have one) that sidelined him for nearly two seasons. He’s quietly been playing good golf, contended at Bay Hill and shot five under par in the first round. The course knowledge from his win won’t help—that came across town at English Turn, not here at the TPC of Louisiana.

Andres Romero. The go-for-broke Argentine, who had brushes with consecutive British Opens and later got his first U.S. victory here at the TPC, shot three under par in the opening round. He’s been quiet for some time. It would be no surprise to seem him vault into contention on a course that suits his aggressive power style of golf.

April 21, 2010

Poulter, Stricker withdraw from Zurich

Posted at 4:33 PM by Cameron Morfit

NEW ORLEANS -- Hours after sixth-ranked Ian Poulter withdrew from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, third-ranked Steve Stricker also withdrew with soreness in his right clavicle after playing the pro-am at the TPC of Louisiana on Wednesday. 

The loss of Stricker leaves the tournament with no players in the top 20 in the World Ranking. Sergio Garcia becomes the highest ranked player in the field at No. 23.

According to a PGA Tour official, Stricker said he'd been feeling soreness for a few weeks before he withdrew from the Zurich tournament Wednesday. He will be replaced by sixth-alternate Billy Mayfair.

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