Punch Shot: Top PGA Tour stop to attend

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2013, 3:48 pm

The PGA Tour hits New Orleans this week for the Zurich Classic. With its atmosphere, festivities and food, is it the best annual stop on Tour? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in with their top tournaments to attend.


Full disclosure: I was married in New Orleans, just across Canal Street from the iconic Hotel Monteleone, and spend two gluttonous weeks out of each calendar in the Crescent City.

Our favorite restaurant is Galatoire’s ... or maybe Tujague’s (as if you could pick your favorite child), and continue to be amazed by the resilience of my extended family in the chaotic years since Hurricane Katrina.

No, TPC Louisiana is not among the PGA Tour’s best layouts – truth is, it’s not among the best TPC's – but there is not a better event on Tour in terms of atmosphere. In New Orleans it’s called lagniappe – a little extra, a gift.

From Ruth’s Chris steak sliders on the range on Wednesday to the soulful buzz wafting through the French Quarter (no one stays in Westwego, which is where TPC Louisiana is located), the Zurich Classic is less golf tournament than it is second line.

And the potential is there to get even better. An East Lake-like project continues to gain momentum and ground has already been broken in City Park for a championship golf course that could one day host the Zurich.

Full disclosure: the Zurich Classic doesn’t get the best field or have the best course on Tour, but there is no better vibe in golf.


Give me the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

It’s the best Tour stop to attend solely by virtue of being “The most felicitous meeting of land and sea in creation.” That’s how Robert Louis Stevenson described the spectacular nature of the land that is home to the golf courses that this event is played upon.

There’s entertainment beyond golf shots with Bill Murray’s comic banter. If you’re not a Murray fan, you don’t have to follow him. You can sit yourself aside the seventh hole and listen to sea lions barking and waves crashing on the craggy shoreline. There is also 17-Mile Drive, the Del Monte Forest and Cannery Row. A trip to this event is just plain good for the soul.


One of my colleagues said it best a few years ago: If Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones had traveled north (OK, northeast) from Atlanta instead of due east, then Quail Hollow Golf Course would exist as the modern-day version of Augusta National.

As it is, the host venue for the Wells Fargo Championship isn’t that far off.

In the 10 years since the tournament first found its way onto the PGA Tour schedule, it’s been home to superstar-filled fields and a major championship-ready course. As such, the winners list shows proven champions like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk, plus up-and-coming youngsters like Rory McIlroy, Anthony Kim and Rickie Fowler.

Throw in an increasingly knowledgeable fan base, the usually perfect Charlotte weather and other charms of the surrounding Queen City, and the Wells Fargo Championship is a still-underrated gem.

I’m hardly a one tournament kind of guy. Ask me tomorrow and I may reply with anything from Sawgrass to Phoenix, or East Lake to Kapalua, but right this very second, I’m looking ahead to Quail Hollow – and pretty happy that I only have to wait a few more days until I’m there.


For my money, you can’t beat a Saturday afternoon at The Players.

Where to begin? A top-notch field playing for one of the game’s most prestigious titles. A golf course that each year is in pristine condition and is designed with spectator viewing en masse in mind. A state-of-the-art clubhouse and veranda that serves as a backdrop for the leaders coming down the final fairway.

Perhaps it’s my bias as an SEC alum, or perhaps it’s the fact that in mid-May my internal clock is already starting to count down the days until college football’s return and TPC Sawgrass often offers a glimpse into the atmosphere of fall. Either way, the frenzied scene surrounding the course’s signature 17th hole – with crowds packing the hill around the island green, and a dollar or two changing hands behind the hedge lining the tee box – is nearly unrivaled among the Tour’s regular stops.

There may be other courses that are more visually breathtaking, or venues that are more iconic. But I’ll take an afternoon among North Florida’s finest, watching the best in the game battle against one of the more memorable finishing stretches they encounter each year. 

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Highlights: Woods shoots Saturday 69 at API

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 17, 2018, 8:40 pm

Tiger Woods made six birdies Sunday, including one at the home hole, to shoot 3-under 69 and move to 7 under par for the week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

When he walked off the golf course, he was four off the 11-under pace set by Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau, all of whom were still on the course.

"I'm going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow, and probably get a little bit of help," Woods told Golf Channel's Steve Sands in a post-round interview. "But my responsibility is to go out there and shoot a low one first."

Woods didn't bogey the first hole on Saturday like he did the day prior - but he did drop at a shot at the par-3 second when he failed to get up and down from the bunker.

Luckily, it wouldn't take him long to get that stroke back. One hole later, at the dogleg-left, par-4 third, Woods ripped a 2-iron off the tee, hit a less-than-stellar approach long and right, and poured in this 38-footer for birdie to get back to even par on the day.

He followed with another at the par-5 fourth, smoking a drive 313 yards uphill, short-siding himself with his second shot, and playing this deft pitch to set up a tap-in 4.

After a par save from the bunker at 5, Woods missed the fairway right at the par-5 sixth, laid up with his second, spun a wedge to 15 feet with his third, and rolled in this third birdie of the day to move to 6 under for the week.

Woods' momentum was slowed by a bogey at 8, the product of an errant tee shot, and a missed birdie try at 9 left Tiger to make the turn in 1 under-35, minus-5 for the week.

He quickly returned to 6 under for the championship when he hit an approach from 186 to inside 10 feet at the par-4 11th and walked in the putt:

Following four straight pars, Woods for the second day in a row made an unlikely birdie at the par-5 16th after missing the fairway to the right and declining to layup.

Woods would drop one more shot coming in when his ball fried in the front bunker at 17, leading to a bogey, but this closing birdie at 18, his sixth of the day, got him into the clubhouse 3 under for the round and 7 under for the week. It also elicited a rare straight-down fist pump.

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Two-time major champ Pettersen pregnant

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 7:14 pm

PHOENIX – Suzann Pettersen is pregnant with her first child.

Pettersen’s husband, Christian Ringvold, confirmed the news with Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz.

Pettersen, 36, who married Ringvold in January of 2017, is due in the fall. The 15-time LPGA winner and two-time major champion has yet to make her first start this year. She’s an eight-time Solheim Cup veteran.

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

It was a 3-under 69 on Saturday for Tiger Woods for a 7-under total through three rounds. We tracked him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.