Fenders and 4-Irons, Volume Two: Zurich Classic golfers, caddies and volunteers talk music
Once again firing up this Thursday, music fanatics and NOLA-philes from around the world will once again converge on the Fairgrounds in Mid-City to revel in the second weekend of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. This year's lineup includes such household names as Stevie Wonder, Beck, Neil Young and Promise of the Real, Paul Simon, My Morning Jacket in addition to countless local acts and delicious food vendors.
Even with a slate like that, the 47th annual mega music fest isn't the only big game in town this weekend, as New Orleans welcomes it's own stacked lineup of professional golf stars (this year's field includes World Number 1 golfer Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Justin Rose) at the always-popular PGA TOUR Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on the West Bank.
The Zurich Classic's significance and value to New Orleans cannot be underestimated. In 2006, The Zurich Classic was the first nationally televised sporting event after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Since 2005, the tournament together with the Fore!Kids Foundation have raised nearly $10 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 Zurich Classic 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 PGA TOUR shifted its schedule several years ago, the tournament now coincides with the Jazz Fest. 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, Web.com and various mini-tours), and after seeing that the two events aligned, it seemed only natural to tie the two big-ticket events together in interviews.
Check out the candid responses from a few golfers, caddies and volunteers all banding together this week to make the 2016 Zurich Classic a weekend to remember at TPC Louisiana.
Best Concert you’ve attended: The Raconteurs at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. One of the many bands Jack White has been in over the years.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Michael Jackson Off the Wall on cassette tape.
Last Concert Attended: I go to a lot of concerts. I live in Athens, and the Georgia Theatre is an iconic place. I’ve been to three or four in the last few months so I’m trying to remember….I just saw Eli Young Band and Frankie Ballard. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals was the last one I saw.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: I’ve got to go with ACME because they do such an awesome job with the player/caddie/family dinner at the Zurich Classic on Tuesday night.
You practice listening to what music, if any: I do at home some. Usually something relatively slow paced. I’ve listened to some country. I’ve listened to Leon Bridges album a lot.
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: I liked Keith Urban a lot at The Greenbrier. Seeing him live with his guitar is incredible. I wouldn’t say his recorded music is my favorite but just his guitar skills live in concert were pretty impressive.
What encounters have you had with Rock Stars or music legends? I remember meeting Glenn Frey at the Hope (CareerBuilder Challenge) in my rookie year and that was pretty cool. A few others at golf tournaments like the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Have you ever been out to Jazz Fest during the Zurich: I have not. I’m hoping I can get there this year.
Best Concert you’ve attended: Bob Dylan in Birmingham, Alabama while I was in college. It was post hole-in-one, so I’m guessing it was around 1993. (N.B. Bohn made an ace worth $1 million while in college in 1992 and accepted the money and turned pro).
First Album Purchased and What Format: Def Leppard on 45. I can’t tell you the name of it but I know it was Def Leppard. I can picture the triangular design on the cover, but I can’t remember the name.
Last Concert Attended: Last year at The Greenbrier with Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: NOLA (Emeril)
You practice listening to what music, if any: At home I do. When I practice while listening to music, if I know what song I’m playing then I’m not practicing properly, so the goal is to try and weed it out and not be able to hear it. My iPod consists of everything from Andrea Bocelli to Def Leppard so that’s a pretty wide variety…minus a lot of country. I only have one country song on my iPod, "Dirt Road Anthem" by Jason Aldean.
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: Bon Jovi at The Greenbrier is the best I’ve seen at a TOUR event.
What encounters have you had with Rock Stars or music legends? I played right in front of Kid Rock at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am one year and he was playing with John Daly. We got stopped for wind and we all went into the Grey Goose tent. That was really neat to talk to Kid Rock. Man, he is a complete genius, a really intelligent guy. Super nice. I also met Tommy Thayer, the guitarist for KISS. He was my partner at the Bob Hope (CareerBuilder Challenge) one year and that was a really neat experience.
Have you ever been out to Jazz Fest during the Zurich: We don’t have time to go to Jazz Fest because were playing the Zurich Classic. I’d love to go to Jazz Fest.
Best Concert you’ve attended: Arcade Fire at the Civic Center in Atlanta or LCD Soundsystem at the Tabernacle (also Atlanta). Or Bright Eyes at the Ryman (Nashville). Or...this is too hard.
Last Concert: Dave Rawlings Machine at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. Gillian Welch is superhuman.
Favorite Nola restaurant: Adolpho's. Cajun Italian cooked in a 80 sq foot kitchen. Unreal.
Practice: yes. Anything easy listening, folk or country. Sufjan. The National. Townes. Gillian. Iron and Wine. Stuff like that.
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: Rod Stewart at the Greenbrier. Legend.
Have you had any encounters with Rock Stars or music legends? : I've had a bunch, musicians love golf. But the highlight was chatting with T Bone Burnett at Pebble a couple years ago. He's the coolest, a savant, and a walking music history book.
Best Concert you’ve attended: U2. I watched them play at the University of Phoenix stadium where the Cardinals play. There were over 90,000 people and just a great atmosphere. The Black Eyed Peas opened for them, which was pretty cool too.
First Concert Attended: Johnny Clegg and Jaluka back in Zimbabwe. I later got to play golf with his former manager, Shep Gordon, in Hawaii so it was fascinating to listen to some of the stories.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Creedence Cleerwater Revival cassette tape.
Last Concert Attended: Aerosmith at the Greenbrier out in a big field. Great show.
Jazz Fest? Have you been or would you go? I have never been but would really like to go one year.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Tough to pick out just one restaurant in New Orleans, but I would have to go with Mother's for breakfast and Dickie Brennan's. I'm always a sucker for a good steak.
You practice listening to what music, if any: I don't.
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: Jimmy Buffett for sure. That was an experience like none other.
Have you had any encounters with Rock Stars or music legends? I've been lucky enough to have a few. I played golf with Alice Cooper in Hawaii, which was an absolute thrill, and he's also a really good golfer. I also played with Michael Bolton three years in a row in a pro-am which was very interesting. They have definitely lived very different lifestyles. Some of the Alice Cooper stories were those that only a rock star could have lived.
Best concert you’ve attended: I just caught Guns N Roses in Las Vegas with my team from MGM Resorts and had been waiting a long time for that one. There was also Motley Crue on their greatest hits tour a decade ago. And Metallica a few years back was another good one. I’m also good buddies with Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden, so every time they come through Phoenix he sets the boys and I up proper.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Hard to remember, but it was probably on cassette and might’ve been something by Metallica or Social Distortion.
Last Concert Attended: Guns N Roses back-to-back nights in Las Vegas early April.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Mother’s Restaurant on Poydras is my favorite. Baked ham for the win. Always.
You practice listening to what music, if any: I’m at a point where I can’t practice without music these days. I wish we could get the Tour to pump something on the range at certain events. I listen to a lot of genres. Standard rock and metal, old school hip-hop and occasional some yacht rock jams. That big sax in Wham’s 'Careless Whisper' is always a crowd-pleaser during practice rounds and pro-ams when I bring my Beats Pill out on the course.
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: The Greenbrier always puts on a great show. It’s gone country the past few years, but before that they brought in Bon Jovi one year and Aerosmith before that. Not a bad way to kill a few hours between tee times.
What encounters have you had with Rock Stars or music legends? Nicko and the guys from Iron Maiden are great. I’ve golfed with him and guitarist Dave Murray a bunch. Hung out with M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold a few weeks back in Palm Springs. I’ve played Hootie and the Blowfish’s ‘Monday After The Masters’ event a bunch and got tight with those guys, as well as some great artists that play the event every year.
Best Concert you’ve attended: Jon Curran and I attended Grouplove in Columbus, Ohio. Portugal. The Man opened for them, and that was amazing. Rolling Stones at Quallcom back in the day was good.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Gosh. I have no idea. I do remember buying a Papa Roach CD when I was younger. My mom took it away from me because it was too vulgar.
Last Concert Attended: William Fitzsimmons at a small venue in Los Angeles. He’s a really amazing guitarist. It was awesome.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: I couldn’t tell you. They’re all awesome.
You practice listening to what music, if any: I do. I listen to everything. Hip hop, old school, seventies rock, a lot of Zeppelin, and a lot of Indie stuff.
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: That’s hard to say. I think Bon Jovi a couple of years ago at The Greenbrier was the most fun concert. I'm not sure it was the best, but it was the most fun for sure.
What encounters have you had with Rock Stars or music legends? I played golf with Alice Cooper at the CareerBuilder Challenge a few years ago.
Have you ever been out to Jazz Fest during the Zurich and who did you see: I have yes. We saw Vampire Weekend. We saw Tom Petty. Trombone Shorty was another. It was a couple of years ago. It was great.
Best Concert you’ve attended: Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and David Bromberg at The Academy Music, New York City, 1974.
First Album Purchased and What Format: Vinyl, but I can't remember the album.
Last Concert Attended: Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett with The New Orleans Suspects
You practice listening to what music, if any: No
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: Huey Lewis and the News
What encounters have you had with Rock Stars or music legends? I have been lucky to have quite a few.
Have you ever been out to Jazz Fest during the Zurich: Unfortunately, not.
There are nearly 1,000 volunteers at the Zurich Classic who help ensure the tournament runs smoothly to help enhance the positive experience for players and fans alike. The volunteers (like the two interviewed below) are taking part in the PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge in which tournament volunteers gather votes at PGATOUR.com/volunteers for charity. The volunteer with the most votes will have the chance to present a $10,000 check to a local charity of his/her choice from a list provided by the tournament. In addition, top-ranking tournaments can raise additional charitable funds based on the total number of votes earned collectively by volunteers and the tournament.
Alan Smith, Volunteer
Best concert you’ve attended: We’ve attended some great ones, but when Neil Diamond played in Baton Rouge immediately following a LSU football game, it was awesome. That being said, when you grow up in New Orleans, there is great music everywhere. We heard Fats Domino, Ernie K Do, Irma Thomas, The Neville Brothers, etc just about anytime we wanted to.
First Album Purchased and What Format: I can’t remember the first one, but I have attached several albums that I still have in 33rpm, 78rpm, and 45rpm. Now that’s showing my age.
Last Concert Attended: The last one was Allison Krauss at Red Rocks in Colorado. Since we have music on the streets of our city every weekend, listening to Miss Doreen play at the corner of Royal and St Peter’s is more enjoyable than fighting a crowd and being indoors! She is phenomenal.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: How much time do you have? We have been going to Mandina’s on Canal for about 60 years and still go several times a year. Love it. Then there’s Commander’s Palace, The Acme Oyster House, The Camelia Grill on Carrollton, Rocky and Carlo’s in Chalmette.
You practice listening to what music, if any: I don’t listen to music while practicing.
What encounters have you had with Rock Stars or music legends? My 'claim to fame' is that when I was in high school, I bagged groceries at Puglia’s Grocery store at the corner of St Claude and Caffin. Fats Domino lived one block away and when Mrs. Domino came to 'make groceries,' she would ask that I bag her groceries and push the cart to the house. There were several times when Fats was upstairs banging the ivories and singing, and she would let me sit on the steps and listen for a while. Wow, what a treat. The other experience is that Irma Thomas and her band played at my younger brother’s wedding reception. They rocked the house for hours. What a party!
Wes Carter, Volunteer
Best concert you’ve attended: Neil Diamond in Baton Rouge 1977.
First Album Purchased and What Format: It was so long ago…possibly Tijuana Brass Whipped Cream (as much for the cover as the music!). I bought bought many 45’s before albums, and the format was vinyl.
Last Concert Attended: Trans Siberian Orchestra, UNO Lakefront Arena, 2014.
Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans: Five Happiness
Best Band Seen at a TOUR-sponsored event: Bucktown Allstars