Winners and Losers of the 2014 Zurich Classic

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2014

Winners and Losers of the 2014 Zurich Classic

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    Twenty-two-year-old South Korean Seung-Yul Noh cruised to a two-stroke victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Thus, the guy in the photo holding the trophy is a winner. (Surprise!)

    Mr. Noh is in good company, as two players formerly among the world's best join him there in this edition of "Winners and Losers." 

    Who are the losers this week? 

    Read on to find out.

Winner: Sunday Red

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    Mr. Noh was brilliant through three rounds at the Zurich Classic (65, 68, 65). And he was good enough on Sunday to get the job done, carding a one-under 71 and securing his first PGA Tour victory. 

    The young South Korean's choice for Sunday's wardrobe included a red shirt. 

    Andrew Svoboda, who finished second, also wore a red shirt. Third-place finisher Jeff Overton also sported red. 

    Thus, three of the top four finishers were dressed in the color of stop signs during the final round. It appears wearing red on Sunday works well for golfers who aren't named Tiger Woods.

Loser: Supporting Multiple Teams with Your Gear

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    Keegan Bradley is not included in the Sunday red slide, as he was doomed by the decision to support multiple teams with his clothing and gear on Sunday. 

    In putting his weight behind his alumnus, St. John's (red shirt), and the Bruins (yellow shoes), Bradley left no weight to put behind the entity he should have been supporting during the final round: himself. 

    Bradley was undone by a series of lip-outs and loose shots. His final-round 75 left him tied for eighth.

Winner: Refocusing

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    Ben Martin opened the Zurich Classic with a brilliant first-round 62. 

    Martin had missed seven of nine cuts entering the tournament, which begs the question of what changed to help him post such a brilliant score and sustain the momentum to finish tied for 15th. 

    The golfer had been pressing too hard, it seems. As Martin said, "I was thinking about winning every week and I was missing cuts. It was really frustrating."

    Lowering his expectations and shifting his focus toward playing well each week, Martin was able to put together a solid showing this week.

Loser: The PGA Tour

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    Susan Walsh

    For as impressive as Mr. Noh's maiden victory was, the PGA Tour would have been happier to see a more popular player win in dramatic fashion. Bradley, who entered the final round just a few strokes off the lead, faltered on Sunday as Noh plodded to victory, for example. Commissioner Finchem and company would have preferred a "Bradleyian" triumph. 

    Relatively unknown players winning in relatively boring fashion isn't what the PGA Tour needs as it suffers from Tiger Woods' continued absence.

Winner: Not Playing Practice Rounds

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    Paul Casey, who finished inside the top 15, wasn't able to get to TPC Louisiana prior to the the first round of the Zurich Classic to play a practice round. Even more impressive, Casey had never played the course prior to the tournament's opening round. 

    The former No. 3-ranked player in the world has tumbled down the Official World Golf Ranking in recent years. Indeed, following the BMW Championship last year, the Englishman found himself in 169th position. 

    Now 94th in the OWGR, Casey has made five of seven cuts this season on the PGA Tour, which is more than twice as many cuts as he made all of last season.

Losers: Two Loud Players

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    Here, "loud" is defined in two ways. In one sense, "loud" is taken to mean "outspoken," as one Patrick Reed was earlier this year when he spoke a little too highly of himself during the broadcast following his victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

    Reed missed the cut badly and hasn't been on form since his win in Florida, most notably missing the cut at the Masters. 

    A player whose attire is always loud, Rickie Fowler, also encountered great difficulty in the Big Easy. Fowler shot 75 and 72 to miss the cut at a relatively easy tournament, which runs counter to the notion that the swing changes he's working on with Butch Harmon are beginning to jell.

Winner: Robert Garrigus

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    Robert Garrigus began the final round of the Zurich Classic tied for 36th place. Thanks to an impressive final-round 64, however, the Idaho native vaulted up the leaderboard Sunday and finished inside the top 10. 

    Entering the tournament, Garrigus had made 10 of 14 cuts on tour this season. He'd only been able to muster one top-10 finish, however. 

    With the big Sunday move, Garrigus undoubtedly gained confidence. He also fattened his wallet and moved up in the FedEx Cup rankings. He continues to cobble together a solid season after 2013's less-than-stellar showing.

Winner: David Duval

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    David Duval finished at eight under par and tied for 25th at the Zurich Classic. Double D's struggles in recent years have been well-documented, and he's only made two of six cuts this year as he attempts to maintain his status on the PGA Tour.  

    The finish is Duval's best since the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2011.