AVONDALE, La. – Zurich Classic officials posted a memo in the locker room this week at TPC Louisiana that detailed a few noticeable differences to the golf course from last year.
Players were informed that a hydraulic leak damaged parts of the first green and surrounding areas last month. The right side of the 13th fairway was mown as much as 20 yards in some places. And fairway bunker areas with gray material or growing vegetation would be treated as part of the general area after all of the fairway bunkers had been reduced last fall.
While tournament director Steve Worthy said Wednesday that he received positive feedback on the course from players, particularly regarding the greens, there was no secret that TPC Louisiana was in need of an upgrade. The course is set for a $6 million renovation after the completion of this year’s event.
“I think it's just one more thing we can do to show the players that we're making every effort to make this the best it can be and get the best guys in the world here,” Worthy said.
The upgrade, which is expected to be finished by late summer, will include a re-grassing of all playing surfaces, except for roughs and tee boxes. Greens will be refurbished with TifEagle Bermudagrass while the fairways and shortly mown areas around the greens will be outfitted with Celebration Bermudagrass. This was done two years ago at TPC Sawgrass, though the Players move to March this year included ryegrass over-seed. (TPC Sawgrass will transition back to its Bermuda by May.)
Other changes include reconditioning of all pot bunkers, which have shrunk over the years.
“I don't think it's so much the layout as much as the condition,” Kevin Kisner sad. “The grainy, wet Bermuda that we always have, it makes it difficult to chip, and the place is designed to play with runoffs and being able to have a lot of options around the greens, and you just don't have that option with the condition of the grass, so I think it's a great move.”
This year’s Zurich Classic has just one top-10 player in the field, No. 3 Brooks Koepka. Other notables include Jon Rahm (11), Jason Day (14) and Tommy Fleetwood (16). Worthy’s hope is a facelift to TPC Louisiana will bring in bigger names.
Worthy did not confirm, however, that the changes were in an effort to keep the tournament from relocating.
There is chatter that the event could move to City Park, which reopened two Rees Jones-remodeled courses in 2017. The South Course is considered the championship course, topping out at 7,302 yards and featuring multiple tee-box options. A state-of-the-art clubhouse was also constructed. And the course is much closer to New Orleans’ French Quarter, where most of the players stay during the week.
“We're always going to look at options, but like I've said a number of times, we're very happy with where we are here,” Worthy said. “The logistics are outstanding. The golf course continues to work. … I don't know that I would say a move is imminent in any case. We like it here. We've got the contract with Zurich now through 2026, and I would plan on us being here for the longterm.”