For the third year in a row, teams of two will play the event at the Zurich Classic this week as the PGA Tour alternates between best ball and alternate shot. And for the third year in a row, there are some truly awesome teams (more on them below). This week is such a nice reprieve from what we get week in and week out on the PGA Tour and nicely bridges the gap between the Masters and next week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. The golf should be fun, the teams should be entertaining and the week should be a good one as the PGA Tour returns to New Orleans once again.
Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.
What: Zurich Classic | When: April 25-28
Where: TPC Louisiana — Avondale, Louisiana
Ranking the field (odds)
- Sergio Garcia-Tommy Fleetwood (8-1): It feels unfair to have this much ball-striking in one two-man group.
- Adam Scott-Jason Day (7-1): There are the top two pairings, and then there is everyone else.
- Bubba Watson-J.B. Holmes (18-1): Watson is one of the all-time leaders in strokes gained (on his own) at this tournament. They teamed up to finish fifth a few years ago.
- Patrick Cantlay-Patrick Reed (12-1): An unlikely double Patrick duo teams together for the third year. Cantlay might have to carry them.
- Kevin Kisner-Scott Brown (30-1): As Rob Bolton pointed out, they’ve nearly won this thing two years in a row.
- Scott Piercy-Billy Horschel (18-1): I’m not really feeling the repeat, although they’ve combined for seven top-11 finishes this year.
- Ryan Palmer-Jon Rahm (16-1): Rahm is to be feared even if he’s playing with me. Palmer finished top five here two years ago with Jordan Spieth.
- Tony Finau-Kyle Stanley (18-1): The lesser version of that Fleetwood-Garcia pairing.
- Abraham Ancer-Jhonattan Vegas (30-1): I’m into this group! Both have had quietly strong years, and both have moved into the top 100 during this season.
- Sam Burns-Cam Champ (50-1): Fascinating young duo. Burns contended at the RBC Heritage last week. Champ hasn’t made a cut since Pebble Beach.
Field strength — C+: It’s not a very good field, but there are a couple of elite pairings. This tournament, like many tournaments, faces a tough part of the schedule in the wake of the Masters with a strong field event next week in Charlotte being used as prep work for a lot of players going into the PGA Championship.
Three things to know
1. Format needs to be changed (back): This event will get the majority of its eyeballs on Sunday, which also doubles as maybe the most boring portion of the week. Golfers will play best ball (and shoot crazy low scores) on Thursday and Saturday while alternate shot will be played on Friday and Sunday. It went away from playing best ball on Sunday after Year 1, but I think that format is preferred coming down the stretch late in the week.
2. Major champ(s): I don’t know why I find this so intriguing, but I do. There are five teams that feature two major winners. Here they are …
- Jason Day (1) and Adam Scott (1)
- David Duval (1) and Jim Furyk (1)
- Ernie Els (4) and Trevor Immelman (1)
- Henrik Stenson (1) and Graeme McDowell (1)
- Louis Oosthuizen (1) and Charl Schwartzel (1)
3. Brothers Koepka: Chase and Brooks Koepka are back together after finishing fifth in 2017. Brooks’ resume speaks for itself, but Chase has been struggling of late. After a solid 2017, he missed 18 of 28 cuts worldwide in 2018 and hasn’t played an OWGR event in 2019. Chase also looks almost exactly like a smaller version of Brooks (see below). They aren’t the only family duo either as Davis Love III and Dru Love will tee it up as a father-son combo this week.
- 2018: Scott Piercy-Billy Horschel
- 2017: Cam Smith-Jonas Blixt
- 2016: Brian Stuard
- 2015: Justin Rose
- 2014: Seung Yul-Noh
Zurich Classic picks
Winner: Sergo Garcia-Tommy Fleetwood (8-1) — I honestly tried to pick somebody else, but nobody is going to put on a better show at this tournament than these two. Both have been playing tremendous golf, and it’s not a field flush with ball-strikers.
Top 10: Bubba Watson-J.B. Holmes (18-1) — It’s maybe odd to think of this pair as a model of consistency, but Watson crushes at this course, and they’re 1 for 1 on top 10s as a team.
Sleeper: Patton Kizzire-Brian Harman (60-1) — Kizzire was terrific at the Masters and easily had his highest finish ever at a major championship. Harman is a menace in team events and recently finished T8 at the Players Championship.