Shotgun Start: Previewing the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

It's tournament time! We head on down to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic, a tournament that's risen in stature over the last couple of years.  Here's a tournament primer to get you prepared for the week.

The course: The Pete Dye designed TPC Louisiana is hosting the Zurich Classic for the sixth year. At 7,520 yards, it's one of the longer courses on the PGA Tour, and was ranked last season as the 20th-most difficult on the PGA Tour. But the length isn't the main reason why the course has played so tough in the past; the high wins and numerous water hazards can turn TPC Louisiana into an absolute bear of a golf course. If you're looking for a couple holes to keep an eye on this week, take a look at the par-4 fourth hole and par-3 17th hole. At 482 yards, the fourth tends to play into the wind and has a water hazard running down the right side of the hole that comes into play if you hit a wayward tee shot. The 17th was ranked as the hardest hole at last year's tournament, playing to stroke average of .264 over par. When the breeze starts to kick up on this hole, it's one of the toughest par 3's in golf.

The schedule: The tournament runs Thursday-Sunday. It'll be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday; and on CBS from 3:00 to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

The field: The Zurich field has certainly come a long way in the last couple of years. Once considered a mid-level event on the PGA Tour, some of the biggest names in the game are now heading to New Orleans each year. Four of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field this week, including Masters champ Bubba Watson, who will be making his first start since his win at Augusta. Luke Donald, Steve Stricker Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell and Keegan Bradley are some of the other high-profile names in the field.

The video: Check out some of the memorable moments from the Zurich Classic's history.

Your turn. Who are your picks for this week? Swing away!

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