Change Happens Brace Yourself

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This weeks PGA TOUR stop is the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where title sponsor Zurich proudly boasts because change happenz.
 
A fitting slogan in this world of professional golf thats hit us in 2007.
 
Think about it... an LPGA major championship where Annika didnt factor, a Masters where Tiger Woods failed to deliver and Phil Mickelson jumped ship as soon as Sunday began.
 
And now, Boo tosses Ernie Els aside to become the PGA TOURs newest folk hero.
 
So we head to the second majors of the respective tours with Morgan Pressel and Zach Johnson as the years biggest winners and we wait for Lorena Ochoa to get her first major title, Phil Mickelson to get over questions about Winged Foot and Tiger Woods to get over whatever ailed him at Augusta.
 
Since 1959 there have been 15 first-time winners at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans ' which has all the makings of another in the making.
 
David Toms is the most notable local boy in the field. But given wins this year by the 33-year old Boo Weekly whos just the latest to make the Nationwide Tour look so good, and Charlie Hoffman who broke through this year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, notable is just a word. Give it four rounds and a tournament and we might just have ourselves another new pro to root for.
 
I had a writer from the New Orleans Times-Picayune ask Jerry Foltz and I this week about a field without the tours biggest names and how it might affect the tournament.
 
My quote in the paper: The story isnt about who isnt here, its about who is here. And theres a good chance theres going to be a life-changing experience for someone on Sunday.
 
Its true golf today is about focusing on those who play well, not those who dont choose to show up.
 
The folks in New Orleans are just glad they have a tournament to promote to its residents, and a course (the re-built TPC Louisiana) to showcase big league sports in its city.
 
Kyle Reifers opened with a round of 8-under on Thursday. Kyle who???? Maybe we need to focus on him.
 
The NCAA Runner-up in 2006 as a Wake Forest Demon Deacon, Reifers quickly won a mini-tour event on the Tar Heel Tour, then Monday qualified on the Nationwide Tour in Chattanooga, Tenn. And promptly won with a 61 on Sunday.
 
He went the rest of the year on the Nationwide Tour, ended up at the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament where a bogey putt on the 108th hole (that he thought was irrelevant) gave him 8-under and the final PGA TOUR card.
 
Interestingly, 8-under was the number Mark Wilson landed on. And Wilson went on to beat a bunch of players more notable that him at the Honda Classic.
 
For those who scream that Tiger Woods gets too much publicity, this is our chance to root for new challengers.
 
Paul Goydos staked his claim to a newspaper headline. Mark Calcavecchia is back among the winners.
 
Brandt Snedeker making noise? Get used to it. Jeff Quinney in the hunt? Its okay.
 
No Tiger. No Phil. No Ernie. No Sergio.
 
The golden carrot dangles for everyone. Change happens and that doesnt make things bad just a bit different.
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
 
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