Zurich Classic 2012, April 23-29

00:00 April 16, 2012
By: Kristal Blue
Masters' Champion Bubba Watson to play. - PGA Tour

For years the talk concerning the New Orleans' tournament on the PGA Tour focused more on the future hall of fame golfer who wouldn't come instead of the players who decided to play.

But lately the Zurich Classic has amassed such a quality field of top players that Woods, who has had his fair share of troubles on and off the field, really hasn't been missed.

The Zurich Classic will have another strong field that should produce plenty of late-hole drama on April 23-29 when the tournament resumes at the TPC Louisiana.

"Obviously we would love to have Tiger play and we will talk to him, but we've got a pretty broad base of players," said Steve Worthy, the CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, which produces the tournament.
Zurich Financial Services has been title sponsor for the PGA Tour event in New Orleans since 2005. The tournament generated spending of more than $30 million in New Orleans, and figures to make even more money for the city this year. The city has been hosting an annual tournament since 1958.

The week starts with a Pro-Am on April 23 followed by a Pro-Am in Baton Rouge and at the TPC-Louisiana on April 25. The tournament starts on April 26. A single-day grounds pass costs $25, and an individual weekly badge costs $75. Fans 17 and under are admitted free.

Some of the top players in the tournament this year include No. 1-ranked golfer Luke Donald, defending Zurich Classic champion Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley (last year's PGA Champion), Rickie Fowler and Camilo Villegas.

The commitment of Donald to return to play in the Zurich Classic was a major coup. He had 14 top-10 finishes last year, which led the PGA. He finished eighth in the tournament last year.

Watson came back from a three-shot deficit in the last eight holes of regulation and beat Webb Simpson in a playoff to win last year's Zurich Classic. Watson, who won the tournament with a three-foot birdie putt, took home $1,152,000.

Bradley, who has a strong golf lineage, was named last year's PGA Tour rookie of the year after becoming the first rookie to win two tournaments, including a major, since 2004. His aunt is LPGA legend and hall of famer Pat Bradley.

Fowler was the 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. He had four top-10 finishes last year.

Stricker and Villegas were tied with 10 top-10 finishes in the PGA Tour playoffs.

"We've got a very strong field," Worthy said. "These are the stars of today."

And there is a chance that even more top-ranked golfers could decide to play in the Zurich Classic.
Worthy was traveling to recruit more players for the tournament in late March and was hopeful for some last-minute additions. He said plenty of the players he talked to are excited about playing in New Orleans.
"New Orleans is world class," he said.

One advantage the Zurich Classic could have is its scheduling. The tournament is three weeks after The Masters, which is the first major tournament of the year. The Zurich Classic also is two weeks before The Players Championship, which gives players a chance to gear up their game before competing on the challenging TPC Sawgrass course in the second major of the season.

"I think the tournament bounced around with some dates in the past, but it has been in this spot for a while and I think players are used to having certain tournaments in certain spots," Worthy said.

The Zurich Classic has plenty to offer for the serious golf enthusiasts who keep up with the PGA Tour on a weekly basis or the ones who just enjoy having a good time on the weekends. Acme Oyster House is one of the corporate sponsors for the tournament.

"We've got great food, concerts and other fun attractions," Worthy said.
But in the end it's the tough TPC Louisiana course and the golfers that make the Zurich Classic worthwhile.

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