PGA TOUR Zurich Classic Golfers Talk Music

Starting on Thursday, music fanatics and NOLA-philes from around the world will once again converge on the Crescent City to partake in the yearly cultural feast that is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. After drawing an estimated 400,000 fans to the Fairgrounds last year, the Fest and its loyal patrons will undoubtedly have a stranglehold on the city and attract global media attention with this year’s lineup that includes Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Beach Boys, The Eagles, Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket and more. Even with a festival slate like that, the 43rd Annual mega music fest isn’t the only big game in town this weekend as the Zurich Classic, 2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson and a stacked lineup of Tour stars roll into town.

As is always the case this time of year, with springtime comes a panoply of large scale outdoor events for tourists and locals to enjoy every weekend from Mardi Gras to Jazz Fest. This weekend, even with Jazz Fest taking hold, the city will also welcome the PGA TOUR at the always-popular PGA TOUR’s Zurich Classic.

The Zurich’s significance and value to the city cannot be underestimated – in 2006, The was the 1st nationally televised sporting event after Hurricane Katrina and starting in 2005, the tournament together with the Fore!Kids Foundation – has raised nearly $8 million for more than 40 charities that serve more than 200,000 children in need throughout southeastern Louisiana. Many players committed their earnings from the tournament to Hurricane relief.

The New Orleans tournament is one of the oldest stops on the tour (starting in 1938 and played annually in New Orleans since 1958), and, as has been the case since the TOUR shifted their schedule several years ago, the event now coincides with the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Being a music fanatic, a used-to-be avid and competitive golfer (with a handful of friends from junior golf days now out there competing on the PGA, Nationwide and mini tours), after seeing that the two events aligned, it only seemed natural to try to tie the two big-ticket events together in an article.

For the sake of comparison: At one event, you’ll find serenity as a member of the gallery taking in the bucolic, natural settings of the scenic TPC Lousiana course as golf claps and the occasional drunken fan’s “GET IN THE HOLE!!” shout fills the air. At the other, guitar solos, questionable audience dance moves and transcendent performances will carry the day. Both events will feature amazing local food and drink, with the main attraction being the chance to marvel as the masters of their craft do the unthinkable with their instrument of choice, whether it’s a 4-iron or a Fender.

Crowd at Jazz Fest 2011 || Photo by Jimmy Grotting

To tie the two seemingly polar opposite events together (with a great deal of help from TOUR Media Official Mark Stevens), we were able to arrange for a handful of willing participants from this year’s field to answer a few topical music questions about such things as their most memorable live concert experiences, first album purchases and time spent in New Orleans in years’ past. Participants in the brief survey included 2010 Zurich Champion Jason Bohn, TOUR star Rickie Fowler, rookie (who I used to compete with as a high school golfer – I use the word “compete” very loosely) and several more. The golfers’ live music experiences (listen below) ranged from those who haven’t seen a live performance in 4-5 years to the more music-loving variety.

Whether you’ll be seeing Bubba Watson or The Boss this weekend (or both), it’s a great weekend to be in New Orleans. Check out the player’s responses below.

Jason Bohn

Best Concert: Bob Dylan in Birmingham, AL.
First Album Purchased / What Format: AC/DC “Back In Black” Vinyl 45
Last Concert: Lil’ Wayne in Omaha, NE
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: “No doubt” Emeril’s NOLA Restaurant
Practices Listening To: Chipping and Putting – Simon & Garfunkel (for rhythm)
Best Band Seen At TOUR-Sponsored Event: John Mayer at the HONDA Classic in Palm Beach, FL
Rock Star Encounter: Tommy Thayer of . “The nicest guy…he just blew me away with his personality, what type of person he is considering the music he plays. It was one of the best times I’ve had playing golf with an amateur.”

Roberto Castro

First Concert: Acoustic Syndicate in Atlanta at The Cotton Club. Good show, kinda bluegrass-y stuff.
Best Concert: Of Montreal New Years Eve in Athens, GA. Opened at midnight with a set of heavy-hitter covers like Prince, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin – it was just one after another. 2nd set was just crazy Of Montreal hits, just a huge dance party.
Last Concert: touring on his new album. First time I’d seen him, awesome, guy’s a freakin’ genius.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Green Day’s Dookie at one of the now-defunct media stores like Tower Records or Media Play.
Favorite Restaurant: Haven’t been since I was a kid but I do remember Cafe Dumonde and getting beignets there.
Practices Listening To: Andrew Bird, some jam band stuff, Felice Brothers, Dr. Dog – nothing too heavy.
Best Concert at TOUR-sponsored event: At a fundraiser in Omaha, I saw Conor Oberst followed by Gillian Welch. If worlds collide, I’ll get lucky and catch a show on the road.

Harris English

Best Concert & First Concert: at 40 Watt and at The Georgia Theater in Athens, GA.
First Album Purchased and What Format: N-Sync No Strings Attached on CD. I was 9 or 10, probably played it on a Walkmen or something. I don’t have a record player, have heard of the old 8-track though.
Last Concert Attended: Red Hot Chili Peppers in Charlotte last Friday at the Bobcats’ Arena. It was awesome.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Has only been to New Orleans once, for the Sugar Bowl once in college, doesn’t recall where they ate.
Practices Listening To: Ghostland Observatory and Bassnectar rockin’ on the jam box. I use it during the practice round.

Rickie Fowler

Best Concert & First Concert: Coldplay in Oklahoma City.
Last Concert Attended: Justin Timberlake in Las Vegas
First Album Purchased and What Format: No clue. But when I was a little kid I used to listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers on cassette all the time.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Drago’s
Practices Listening To: When I do I just put a playlist on shuffle.
Rock Star Encounters/Moments: Played with Glenn Frey of The Eagles and Irving Azoff. Also, I’m pretty good buddies with the guys from OAR. Also has performed with friend Kelly James several times – most notably singing “Sweet Caroline” at the Bird’s Nest in Phoenix. First time doing that “was probably one of the most nervous times I’ve ever had.”

Hunter Haas

Best Concert: Coldplay in Dallas
First Concert: Bette Midler at the Staples Center

First Album Purchased and What Format: Gregory Isaacs or Bob Marley on cassette tape.

Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Popeye’s Chicken and “wherever Kelly Gibson will take me.”

Brian Harman

Best Concert: Lynryd Skynyrd & ZZ Top at the Civic Center in Savannah. Probably the first and only one I’ve been to.
First Album Purchased: That’s hard, I honestly don’t know. Probably something like Hank Williams or George Strait on CD.
Restaurant Guide: Has never been to New Orleans, but “I know Lucas, I just call Lucas Glover wherever we are and he knows exactly where to go.”
Practices Listening To: I’m usually on the Pandora Eric Church Radio, I’m a pretty big country fan. I put one of those jam boxes in my bag and let that play.
Rock Star Encounters: Not yet, but supposed to meet Jason Aldean in the fall at his charity event. I’m excited about that.

Colt Knost

Best Concert: Kings of Leon in Dallas a couple years ago
First Concert: in Dallas a several years years ago.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Metallica on CD.
Last Concert Attended: Kelly James
Jazz Fest?: Thinking about attending this year.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Acme is amazing. The player party we have there is phenomenal.
Practices Listening To: A little bit of everything, hip-hop, alternative, country. I’ll get it going in the golf cart when I’m at home.
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: Kelly James or Pat Green.
Has Been Known To: Get on stage to sing with Kelly James from time-to-time and has joined Pat Green on stage.
Rock Star Encounters: Played with Javier Colon (winner of The Voice) last year.

Will McGirt

Best Concert: Alabama’s Farewell Tour in Raleigh in 2003.
First Concert Attended: Strait Fest in Clemson. George Strait and a bunch of other big names.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Doesn’t know / Probably on cassette.
Last Concert Attended: Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert at the Greenbrier.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Toss-up between Drago’s and Acme Oyster House
Practices Listening To: I don’t listen while I practice, but I need to.
Rock Star Encounters: I know Darius Rucker. My agent used to be the road manager for Hootie and the Blowfish. He’s not bad, you’ve gotta watch out for a guy who has two sets of golf clubs, one for the road and one that stays at home.

Chez Reavie

Best Concert: The Killers in 2008 in Atlanta, GA at a small, historic venue downtown.
First Concert: at Cricket Pavilion in Arizona.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Cassette, can’t remember/don’t want to admit it.
Jazz Fest?: Have never made it, but plan on going this year with a friend.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Drago’s or Acme Oyster House for the oysters.
Practices Listening To: Pandora – U2 or Linkin Park, that kind of genre.
Rock Star Encounters: Played with Michael Bolton (this year in Palm Springs). He was a great guy, we talked about traveling all around and how he still travels the world. Bolton hits the really ball well.