This week’s Zurich Classic is a huge deviation from normal week-to-week play on the PGA Tour. Slapped in the middle between the Masters Championship and the PGA Championship, golfers will switch from a traditional 72-hole playing stroke to playing in teams. There will be 80 duos playing infrequently used quads and quads this weekend at TPC Louisiana.
There is a lot to like about both the event and the format it will be used. Especially considering the many pairs put together in the Zurich Classic. There are a couple of strong contenders and plenty of other interesting duos among the favourites, which is meant to be a one-of-a-kind weekend and fun course that takes place outside of New Orleans.
Let’s take a closer look at this week’s competition with odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
It happened: 2022 Zurich Classic | dates: From 21 to 23 April
location: TPC Louisiana – Avondale, Louisiana
Three things to know
1. Shape: If you’re familiar with the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup, you’ll get used to the formats used this week. The only horror since this event turned into team play was how the final round would end. This year, the format will be best on Thursday and Saturday for round one and round three and four (or alternate shot) on Friday and Sunday for round two. After Cameron Smith drove his shot into the water and the Australian team went on to win a playoff. While the four-ball (or better one) leads to lower scores, perhaps the four-way is more interesting on the last day.
2. Ryder Cup Replay: Colin Morikawa and Victor Hovland played each other in singles on Sunday during the Ryder Cup in Wesling Straits last year and shot the best 59 ball. Now, they are ranked in the top five in the world and decided to duo together for this event. Incredibly, they’re not even totally my favorite. This distinction is shared by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Shaveli, who also played together (albeit on the same team) at Whistling Straits, where they set the record 2-0. Both are ranked in the world’s top 12 at the moment, and while neither pair feature golf’s hottest players (Scotty Scheffler and Cameron Smith), both would be an absolute threat in four-way play (all four are in the lead No. 13th on the PGA Tour in bird ratio so far this season). If either team plays well in the quartet, they will likely go on to win.
3. Scotty shows: Jeff Shackleford pointed out that Earlier in the week, but we haven’t seen Schaeffler since he donned the green jacket at Augusta National, which isn’t the norm when it comes to the Masters champions. We’ll see him this weekend as he plays Ryan Palmer, who now played with Schaeffler (No. 1 at the time), Jon Ram (No. 11 at the time), Ram again (No. 3 at the time) and Jordan Spieth (No. 3 at the time). at that time). That’s funny and will provide fodder for the week, but I’m excited to hear from Scheffler and see where his game is after three straight months of winning everything he looked.
Grades in the field
Interestingly, this is not a tournament that counts toward the official world golf rankings because OWGR does not award points for team events. However, the field is still going strong with the aforementioned top 12 players alongside Smith, Schaeffler, Sam Burns, Billy Hurschel (together), Terrell Hutton (with Danny Willett), Tommy Fleetwood (with Sergio Garcia), Harold Varner III (with Bubba). Watson) and Joaquin Neiman (with Mito Pereira). Add it all up, and half of the world’s top 20 players will be in action this weekend. Additionally, Bill Haas and his dad Jay (68) will play as a team this week. Grade: A
Classic Zurich experts choose
Winners – Sam Burns and Billy Horschel (12-1): Both have been quietly playing some quality golf, and they both finished two playoff shots at the event last year. If you look at everyone’s last 20 rounds in the field, you’ll find that both Horschel and Burns are among the top 20 in the field in terms of total hits earned. There aren’t many teams, including Hovland and Morikawa, who can claim that. I also love how their skills compliment each other, and they should thrive in an alternate shot format.
Top 10 finalists – Will Zalatores and Davis Riley (5/2): I originally picked this duo to win, and there may be a video floating around saying this very thing, but I’m falling back on that last minute. Zalatoris is enough to carry Riley even if Riley doesn’t have the best of him. However, other than a nice display and a near win at the Valspar Championship, Riley hasn’t hit the ball very well this year. However, Zalatoris stands out as one of the top hitters in the field and comes out with another massive Master performance. Although I don’t like them winning anymore, I like them a lot for sneaking inside those top 10 with a pretty good number.
Sleepers – Maverick McNeely & Joseph Bramlett (50-1): Bramlett is a favorite with DFS fans for his shot of the ball, and McNealy has been playing some of the best golf for anyone in the business. The shortcomings that Bramlett lacks in his short game can be masked by McNeely’s mastery on the field. McNealy has been really humble this season with just one loss and five top 20s in 15 starts. He is ranked 16th on the field in total hits earned in his last 20 rounds played.
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