Because hell is real, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans is bringing back entrance music this weekend, allowing the tournament's two-man teams to select a walk-up song to be played on the first tee at TPC Louisiana on Saturday. While the concept was heralded upon its announcement last year, its debut and execution were anything but. Rather than emerge from a tunnel like a baseball closer or WWE wrestler, the golfers were already on the tee, and instead of a raucous crowd being electrified by the tunes blaring from the speakers, the fans...well, acted like golf fans:
Papelbon running into Fenway, this was not.
And then there were the songs selections. If our numbers are correct, half the field picked "Enter Sandman" or "Shipping up to Boston," and most of the others were a mix of apathy and unoriginality. From our Shane Ryan last spring:
Charley Hoffman, Nick Watney, Brendan Steele and Jamie Lovemark all picked Tupac’s “California Love” because they’re from California. Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz picked “Mexico Lindo y Querido” because they’re from Mexico. Jason Day and Ryan Ruffels picked “Down Under” because they’re from Australia. Tyrone Van Aswegen and Retief Goosen picked Toto’s “Africa” because they’re from Africa. (Noticing a theme, here?) Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington picked a U2 song because they’re from Ireland, and managed to pick the worst one possible (“Beautiful Day”). Russell Knox and Martin Laird picked “Flower of Scotland” because … you get it.
But debuts, no matter the forum, are rocky. Given a year to smooth out the kinks and marinate on deeper, more creative choices, this week's display should erase 2018's nightmare, yes?
The players, again, will be sitting on the tee when the songs are played, and judging by the music set, fans won't be jamming out either. "Sandman" and "Shipping Up.." were picked by five teams. "Old Town Road" was tabbed four times. J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson pegged "When the Saints Go Marching In," because if you play behind Holmes you feel like you're in a funeral.
Garth Brooks, Toby Kieth and Kid Rock make appearances, names that also appear on a Carnival Cruise Tuesday night showbill. Blink 182's "All the Small Things" is a reminder to schedule an appointment with your local audiologist. Kenny Perry and Josh Teater went with a Styx song, which is outlined in the new Rules of Golf as cause for immediate disqualification.
However, lest you think we're raining too much on this parade, a few gems do exist. "Mo Money Mo Problems" is the tongue-in-cheek choice of Hudson Swafford and Wes Roach, two players who rank outside the top 100 (Swafford) and 200 (Roach) on the tour's money list. The Brothers Koepka are coming out to "Bad Boy for Life," which is either highly self-aware or decidedly not, and on both cases hilarious. Harris English and Johnson Wagner picking Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" is sure to give a number of the game's blue bloods aneurysms.
The real problem? It's not the right venue for this experiment. Saturday at TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole in front of 20,000, yes, put it into our veins. But unless Mardi Gras moves to TPC Louisiana, it, ahem, might be time to pull the plug.