That is what the men of the PGA Tour get to enjoy this week. Now you know why so many players enter the field of the Compaq Classic.
Despite a relatively inconvenient spot on the schedule, eight of the top-20 money winners on the tour this year are in the New Orleans field this week. Four of the top 11-ranked players in the world are here. Last week, the highest ranked player in Greensboro was then No. 17, Rocco Mediate. Oh, by the way he won.
I love the grilled oysters with butter and garlic you get on the course during the pro-am, said world No. 2 Phil Mickelson. Yes, thats right, gang ' on the course. You see, during the pro-am, a half-dozen of New Orleans eateries serve their delectable dishes right there on the course. A player cant go more than three holes without getting offered etoufee, alligator burgers, shrimp or Phils oysters.
Steve Lowery, while sampling a morsel as he walked to the 16th tee: This is the best tournament we play all year.
You come here skinny, said Rich Beem, and you leave here fat. Fat and happy.
World No. 11 Chris DiMarco turned down the gator bits offered next to the 15th green. That would be cannibalism, said the former University of Florida Gator. Dont worry. Chris isnt going hungry. You cant beat the food here.
Mickelson is certainly one hungry player this week. Last year, Phil led the field in New Orleans by three strokes heading to the final round. Mickelson then played what he called a pathetic round on Sunday. He struggled terribly, shooting 72, losing to hometown hero David Toms by two strokes. Mickelson said he was terribly disappointed.
Are you able to put those memories behind you? I asked Phil.
Not if you keep reminding me! was the reply.
Mickelson said, I feel extremely motivated this week, but its not because of last year. No, Phil feels motivated because he believes this course sets up perfectly for his game and he knows he can win here. Last year, through 54 holes, Lefty was a tournament record 20-under par.
Phil is certainly playing well enough to win right now. Hes finished third in four of his last five starts. Ive just got to push it to the next level, which is first.