Fantasy Fix: Will Rickie Fowler be a bright spot in New Orleans?
By Alex Myers
Breaking news: Matt Kuchar will NOT be in contention this Sunday. After a month of living on leader boards -- and finally closing out a tournament -- Kuchar is taking a week off and skipping the PGA Tour's annual stop in New Orleans. So is 2012 champ Bubba Watson and 2011 winner Jason Dufner. Yes, the post-Masters lull is upon us, but if you like birdie-fests, then the Zurich Classic is right up your alley. The past two winners were a combined 39 under par, with the two runner-ups combining to shoot 38 under. Who do we see emerging from this year's Bayou shootout? Here's our lineup:
Starters -- (A-List): Rickie Fowler. Rickie has been solid in his three starts at TPC Louisiana, highlighted by a T-10 in 2012. More importantly, he's finished sixth (Houston) and T-5 (Masters) his last two tournaments.
(B-List): Justin Rose. This isn't a great field and Rose is a great player. Also, he's shot seven straight rounds under par at TPC Louisiana and has finished in the top 15 the past two years.
(B-List): Billy Horschel. The defending champ seems ready for a breakthrough in what has been a sluggish start to 2014. As we pointed out following the Masters, the putter has been holding him back. Way back. That wasn't the case at this tournament last year. Remember this great reaction after his birdie on No. 18?
(C-List): John Senden. The recent winner in Tampa played well at Augusta National before taking last week off. He has four top-20 finishes in New Orleans since 2004.
Bench/Backups: Patrick Reed, Ernie Els, Jerry Kelly, and Ryan Palmer.
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Billy Horschel. We really like Fowler this week, but we used him at the Honda, so we'll take Horschel instead. We're hoping the good vibes from returning to the site of his first PGA Tour win translates into some good putting. Heck, even just a decent week on the greens for the man ranked No. 3 on the PGA Tour in ball-striking could result in a big payday for Horschel -- and another big celebration in New Orleans.
Previously used: Keegan Bradley (Doral), Tim Clark (Sony), Graham DeLaet (Phoenix), Luke Donald (Valspar), Rickie Fowler (Honda Classic), Jim Furyk (Heritage), Bill Haas (Farmers), Charles Howell III (Humana), Freddie Jacobson (Valero), Dustin Johnson (Northern Trust), Martin Laird (Kapalua), Graeme McDowell (Bay Hill), Adam Scott (Masters), Jordan Spieth (Houston), Jimmy Walker (Pebble -- winner!).