Based strictly on location, some PGA Tour stops are just a whole lot more fun than others.
That applies this week, as the PGA Tour visits New Orleans for the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana. Jason Dufner returns to the Big Easy (New Orleans) as the defending champion after taking down the Big Easy (Ernie Els) in a playoff a year ago.
The golf will be great to be sure, but there's always a lot going on in NOLA, as TPC Louisiana PGA General Manager Luke Farabaugh explained to us in this week's Local Knowledge.
PGA.com: Luke, thank you for joining us. Let's talk for a minute about your defending champion, Jason Dufner. His victory last year at the Zurich Classic was his first on the PGA Tour. People knew with his talent it was only a matter of time before he broke through. What was it like to have Dufner break through at your event and what was it like to watch him soar after that victory?
Farabaugh: Jason was knocking on the door for a while and to see him break through for his first win here was great. As an Auburn grad myself, I take a lot of pride in Jason's first win happening at my facility. He made a huge 40-foot par putt on the 70th hole and battled Hall of Fame golfer Ernie Els in a playoff. His win here was a huge springboard for the rest of his year as he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship and posted a stout 3-1 record at his first Ryder Cup.
PGA.com: I can't ask you about Dufner without also asking you about "Dufnering." Has there ever been a funnier photo of a golfer?
Farabaugh: It's hard to top any of the Golf Boy stuff but Jason may have done it. Pretty amazing how it went viral with all the other players posting pictures of themselves Dufnering. Bubba Dufnering with the General Lee is a classic.
PGA.com: Certain PGA Tour events are known for certain things. At the Phoenix Open, it's the party atmosphere at the par-3 16th. At the Players Championship, it's the island green on No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass. At the Zurich Classic, hands down, it's the great food. How difficult is it to live in New Orleans and not just eat all day long?!
Farabaugh: I guess there are worse challenges than avoiding the amazing food this town is known for. It's just a part of our culture and way of life in New Orleans that sometimes we take for granted. But there's nothing quite like a dozen chargrilled oysters, boiled crawfish and a cold beer.
PGA.com: Describe for me, if you would, the perfect day in New Orleans. What are we doing (after breakfast at Ralph's at the Park, of course. We remember that's your favorite from last year)? Where are we going?
Farabaugh: Depends on the time of year, but we always have something going on in this town. More than likely I'm jumping on my motorcycle and headed to a local festival. We currently have Jazz Fest for the next two weekends. The French Quarter Fest was a couple of weeks ago and another favorite is the Greek Fest during Memorial Day weekend. Aside from providing another opportunity to eat, these festivals have some great music and provide for some great people watching.
PGA.com: Here's our last question for you, Luke. Which stretch of holes at TPC Louisiana are your favorite and why?
Farabaugh: My favorite stretch is Nos. 4, 5 and 6. It's the toughest part of the course and it requires each players' full attention. No. 4 and No. 6 are extremely long, requiring big drives and long approaches. The main reason why I like these holes is that they require all the shots in the bag. I like to play No. 4 with a fade off the tee and a draw approach, No. 5 with a draw off the tee and a fade approach and a draw off the tee and a fade approach on the sixth. Anytime I go through those holes even par is a great day. Water hazards line the fourth and sixth hole, so we may see an occasional double or triple during the Zurich Classic this year.