Trying to reach the green from here, Shooter

N’awlins 

The stars are back this week with the tour heading to the Big Easy for the Zurich Classic. Last year’s champion, Justin Rose, returns to defend his title but will face stiff competition as world number 1 and last year’s 36-hole leader Jason Day will be in the field as well as #SB2K16ers Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman.

What happened last year

Zurich ambassador Justin Rose played the final 66 holes bogey-free to finish at -22, tying a tournament record. Rose closed in thrilling fashion, making birdies on the 17th and 18th to edge Cameron Tringale by 1 shot. 

The course

The Zurich Championship is played at the TPC of Louisiana, a Pete Dye design that traditionally ranks among the 10 easiest courses on tour. The TPC of Louisiana features generous fairways that allow players to attack the greens and create a lot of birdie opportunities, a stark contrast to the past two difficult setups of Harbour Town and TPC San Antonio.

Paulie’s Hardboiled Picks to Click 

Last week, 3 of Paulie’s 4 picks finished in the top 13. Who does he like in the Bayou? Click here to find out.

Tiger tees it up

On Monday, Tiger hit the links at the opening ceremonies for his inaugural course design, BlueJack National outside of Houston. Tiger played 5 holes for the first time since last year’s Wyndham Championship. Some of Tiger’s swings were posted via Twitter, with spectators and experts leaving impressed by the wounded star’s progress.

News also leaked that Tiger has registered for June’s U.S. Open at Oakmont, another sign that his return to the tour will be sooner rather than later. 

Our Hot Take

Golf is hard, and tournament golf is harder. The pressure exposes every weakness in a player’s game. Judging from his swings on Monday, it’s clear that Tiger is still a long way away from being 100%. His swing is lacking the speed and fluidity that we are accustomed to seeing, and his back looks extremely stiff (swing comparison below). Our hope is that Tiger is smart about his return and finds a way to get competitive reps before he hits his first PGA Tour event.

Tiger - 2016.jpg

Us or them...

One hurdle PGA Tour officials were forced to navigate this season was tournament scheduling due to golf’s return to the Olympics. The WGC Bridgestone, a flagship event, will now fall on the same date as the European Tour’s oldest event, the French Open, which is celebrating its 100th year. This move irked European Tour officials who, for obvious reasons, feared their top players would jump for the bigger purse and profile of the WGC event. On Monday though, Europe scored a whale as world number 3 Rory McIlroy committed to play the French Open. Could McIlroy be a trendsetter for other high-profile Europeans?

Staying across the pond

Taking a page out of a music festival’s book, the R&A announced a new concept for this year’s Open Championship at Troon. Golf fans 25-years-old and younger will be able to camp just outside the grounds for free. Dubbed “The Open Camping Village,” the grounds will be filled with pre-pitched tents outfitted with inflatable mattresses, food, drinks and showers for any ticket holder.  Now if only I was turning 22 and not 30….

Wednesday’s Workout

Let’s talk about myofascial release a.k.a. tenderizing your muscles by compressing them with pressure in order to increase blood flow to a muscle area, thus increasing an athlete’s performance and movement in that muscle group. Historically exercised with a foam roller, RAD Innovations has introduced an on-the-go, golf bag-friendly version that will take any day-to-day aches away. Read our review here.

Quick Hooks

Oakmont has a new look but the same tough greens.

The European Tour stays in China for the Volvo China Open, and Miguel Angel Jimenez adds to his legacy.

The LPGA heads to Texas for the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.

Booth Shakeup? Mike Tirico is leaving ESPN for NBC.

The Web.com is back in the U.S. at Indiana’s United Leasing Championship. Here are the favorites. 

Missing #SB2K16, you aren’t alone...