2021 Zurich Classic selection, format, field quality, odds, best bet, predictions at TPC Louisiana

The weekly event on the PGA Tour is presented in a non-traditional way for the second time in a month. However, the Zurich Classic is even more unique than last month’s WGC-Dell Match Play, as golfers pair this week and play two rounds with the best ball and two rounds with alternate shots to determine a champion. There has been no winner of this event for nearly two years, as the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the week completely in 2020 following a victory from Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer back in 2019.

Let’s take a closer look at this week’s competition with odds delivered via William Hill Sportsbook.

Event information

Event: Zurich Classic | Date: 22.-25. April
Location: TPC Louisiana – Avondale, Louisiana

Three things to know

1. Weekend format: At present, most are accustomed to the best formats and alternative shots from year to year of Presidential Cup and Ryder Cup competitions. But if you are not familiar, the best ball simply means that both golfers in a team play an entire hole, and your team’s score is the best score for those two players. So if Collin Morikawa makes bird in the first half and Matthew Wolff makes double, the Morikawa-Wolff team gets a bird for their score. Alternative shot is just that – Morikawa hits the first shot and Wolff has to hit no matter where the shot lands. Your team’s score is whatever you pair on a given hole, making it much harder than best ball. There has been debate about which format to use on Sunday with the tournament in balance. The decision this year is to use an alternative shot, which is likely to create more volatility than the best ball, but which also makes it difficult to shoot up the leaderboard for teams running far behind in round 4.

2. Ryder Cup preview: We (I) love to replay the Ryder Cup theme about four months early, but there are definitely some interesting teams this week that could also be teams at Whistling Straits in September. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele played together at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in December 2019, and both are likely to be on the Ryder Cup team in September. Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa are less likely to be on the team – Morikawa is a lock, but Wolff has fought too late – but it’s definitely fun to think about what they could do together at future team events. On the European side, Ryder Cup Lions Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose will play together as former and current Ryder Cups Danny Willett and Tyrrell Hatton. It’s likely that only one or two of these teams will end up playing together later in the year, and I can’t believe both teams ’captains are taking a ton off this week, but it’s still a fun mini-story.

Fascinating team: There are several “wait … what?” mating this week. At the top of the list are Scott Piercy and Akshay Bhatia. The former is a 42-year-old journeyman, while the latter is a 19-year-old potential superstar who has only played three events this year. I’m curious how they even know each other, but even more how they went together. Other fun ones include Kristoffer Venture and Viktor Hovland (former Oklahoma State teammates from Norway), Doug Ghim and Justin Suh (college superstars), Sungjae Im and Ben An (Presidents Cup teammates), Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan (once fought for the FedEx Cup! ) And Woody Austin and Rocco Mediate (combined age: 115).

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Grading of the field

The field this week is not bad. It’s not great either. To be fair, most of the fields between the Masters and the PGA Championship are not great, but there are intrigues around Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler as well. as enough intriguing sub-stories to create general interest in this event. Grade: C +

Zurich Classic chooses

Winners: Collin Morikawa-Matthew Wolff (16-1) – Wolff has clearly struggled, and his body language at Augusta National was creepy. However, I think his biggest problems right now are discomfort with the nuances of life as a professional. He is so gregarious and so outgoing that I think he will actually thrive as part of a team again along with the guy who has been the best of anyone in this field from tee to green over the last three months.

Top 10: Cameron Smith-Marc Leishman (12-1 to win) – You could argue that this duo should be the favorite to win this tournament with how well they both played at the Masters a few weeks ago and how fiery Smith has been overall (top 20 at his last five stroke-play events ). Smith has a win here before (along with Jonas Blixt) and there are real question marks with the two teams with shorter odds (Jon Rahm-Ryan Palmer, Xander Schauffele-Patrick Cantlay).

Sleepers: Doug Ghim-Justin Suh (50-1) – I’m in love with this duo because they were both so elite in college, and they have both come through a bit in the last few months. The pedigrees are there, the talent is there, the momentum is there and there is a scenario where they match all this and play their best golf together all year round.

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