For a second week running, Shane Lowry finds himself having to tread carefully around yet another alligator-infested PGA Tour host venue.
After losing a grip in landing victory last week at Hilton Head in South Carolina, Lowry has made his way to New Orleans and the host TPC Louisiana course.
Course officials reckon there’s about 20 gators that call the 15-year old New Orleans course home, including one mean-looking, three-legged prehistoric giant appropriately named ‘Tripod’.
‘Tripod’, without a front right leg, was first spotted when the course opened in 2004 and his three-and-a-half metre size would suggest he’s a male, but then no-one’s gotten close enough to ask.
“Funny, you don’t see him (Tripod) out of the water except for maybe two to three times a year but when the tournament rolls around, that boy is out of the water more than any other I’ve ever seen,” said TPC Louisiana course superintendent, Rob Arnold.
For the past two years, the Zurich Classic has been a team event offering most victory rewards, except World Ranking points and a Masters invitation.
Lowry will team with European Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington in the event boasting a prize purse of Euro 6.5m.
While Lowry’s yet to make his Ryder Cup debut, he’s no stranger to a team format having teamed with Graeme McDowell to finish a close runner-up in the 2017 QBE Shootout in Florida.
Then late last year, Lowry and Paul Dunne teamed to finish T10th in the World Cup of Golf in Australia.
“I’m looking forward to the Zurich Classic tomorrow. It’s a team event and it’s good fun. I played last year with Paddy (Harrington) and we had a good laugh and we played quite well as well. I’m happy to be going to New Orleans this week, I’m looking forward to it,” said Lowry.
“Paddy seems to be playing decent golf after his injury and I obviously have a little bit of form coming in off the back of the RBC Heritage as well so hopefully we can just go and have a bit of craic and enjoy it and see where we finish at the end of the week.
“I enjoy the team play element of it. It is a bit more craic and you’re pulling for each other. Every other week of the year you’re on your own out there and you’ve got no one to lean on whereas it’s different when you have a partner.
“For me, when you’re playing in a team event with Padraig Harrington, who I’ve grown up watching playing golf and winning majors, to be able to compete in a team event with him is great. That’s the way I look at it.
“I picked him to play with last year and he had to pick me this year because I didn’t have enough to get into the event at the start of the year. I’m sure there will be some Ryder Cup talk this week with it being a team event and with Paddy around but I know quite well that I’m going to have to make that team on merit.
“But from September onwards for the next 18 months, the Ryder Cup will be my main focus.”
And has been the scenario in his recent team showings, you can expect the all-Ireland Harrington and Lowry team to be dressed in ‘team colours’.
Also in the field is McDowell who is partnering Swede Henrik Stenson while Seamus Power has good friend, David Hearn from Canada as his partner.
IRISH TEEE TIMES – Irish times
Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Seamus Power/David Hearn – 6.05pm
Graeme McDowell/Henrik Stenson – 6.44pm
Padraig Harrington/Shane Lowry – 7.10pm