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As Bubba Watson walked off a course carved from cypress swamp toward the TPC Louisiana clubhouse, his path was lined by autograph seekers who held out yellow pin flags bearing the emblem of a golfing shrine hundreds of miles away in the pine-covered hills of Georgia. The buzz from Watson’s Masters triumph at Augusta National has followed him to his first encore performance in New Orleans, where he’ll begin the defense of his Zurich Classic victory in the tournament that opens today ( noon on Golf Channel). He was already a crowd favorite in the Big Easy, having grown up a Saints fan three hours away in the Florida panhandle. – AP



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