Ryan Palmer hits off the 17th tee as the gallery watches during the third round of the PGA Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La., Saturday, April 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
- The Zurich Classic of New Orleans from TPC Louisiana tees off Thursday, April 22nd
- 80 teams of two golfers compete in Four-Ball and Foursomes Format with Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer the co-favorites with Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay
- We’ve narrowed down the duos with the best chance of emerging victorious and provided the best value bets below
The PGA Tour mixes things up this week in Louisiana for the team competition at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. For the fourth straight time, 80 teams of two golfers will vie for the title playing two different formats. Last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19, meaning the pairing of Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer return as defending champions.
For Thursday and Saturday rounds, it will be the Four-ball (Best ball) format with both golfers playing their own ball throughout the hole, and them selecting whoever did better for their score. On Friday and Sunday’s final round, it’ll be Foursomes (known more commonly as Alternate Shot), which is much more difficult to score well on.
The low 35 teams and ties after the second round will continue forward with the remaining duos missing the cut. Four of the top-ten players in the world rankings are competing in the only official team tournament on the schedule. Such a volatile format is incredibly random, making it extremely difficult to forecast a winning team.
2021 Zurich Classic Odds
|Golfers||Odds at FanDuel|
|Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer||+700|
|Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay||+700|
|Cameron Smith/Marc Leishman||+900|
|Collin Morikawa/Matthew Wolff||+1400|
|Tony Finau/Cameron Champ||+1400|
|Bubba Watson/Scottie Scheffler||+1400|
|Billy Horschel/Sam Burns||+2000|
|Chris Kirk/Brendon Todd||+2000|
|Tyrrell Hatton/Danny Willett||+2700|
|Harold Varner III/Branden Grace||+2900|
|Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele||+2900|
|Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson||+3100|
|Max Homa/Talor Gooch||+3100|
|Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel||+3300|
|Kevin Streelman/Dylan Frittelli||+3400|
|Viktor Hovland/Kristoffer Ventura||+3400|
|Joel Dahmen/Lanto Griffin||+4000|
|Sungjae Im/Byeong Hun-An||+4100|
|Lucas Glover/Chez Reavie||+4500|
|Doug Ghim/Justin Suh||+4500|
Odds as of April 19th
Smith and Leishman a Formidable Aussie Tandem
Cameron Smith has been finding himself on the first page of the leaderboard a lot recently, having taken the first round lead at last week’s RBC Heritage, before eventually finishing inside the top-10. That marked his fifth straight stroke play event where he was T-17th or better, with a fourth place showing at the Genesis Invitational his strongest showing.
He’s also proven he can win at this track, having won the title alongside Jonas Blixt in 2017.
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) April 15, 2021
He’s playing alongside fellow Australian Marc Leishman, whose most recent tournament was very sharp – with a T-5th finish at the Masters. Leishman is no stranger to a team format, having competed on the last four Presidents Cup squads.
In the last 24 rounds on tour, Leishman is 20th in total strokes gained and Smith is ninth. At +900 odds as the third favorites, you’re getting a little bit more value on the duo compared to the two pairs of co-favorites, who are at +700 to win outright.
Last Three Zurich Classic Winners
|2019||Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer (3 shot win)|
|2018||Billy Horschel/Scott Piercy (1 shot win)|
|2017||Cameron Smith/Jonas Blixt (playoff over Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown)|
2021 Zurich Classic Best Value Picks
- Harold Varner III/Branden Grace (+2900): Harold Varner III enters this championship riding high, having finished in a tie for second at last week’s RBC Heritage, his best ever finish on Tour. Branden Grace won two months ago at the Puerto Rico Open.
- Max Homa/Talor Gooch (+3100): This season Max Homa has eight top-25 finishes, highlighted by his victory at the Genesis Invitational two months ago. That’s ranked him sixth in total strokes gained in the last 24 rounds. Gooch has been quietly solid too, with three top-5 showings on the campaign, including a T-5 at the Players Championship three starts ago.
- Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown (+5000): This tandem has proven to be rock steady in this competition. They very nearly won in 2017, eventually losing in a playoff to Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt. Then they were T-15 in 2018 and in 2019 were T-5th.
Michael “Hound Dog” Harrison is well known in the sports industry as the resident statistician for the SC with Jay Onrait Show. He has worked at TSN for over 13 years, where he’s been featured on Sportscentre, That’s Hockey, That’s Hockey 2Nite, The Masters preview shows, and several more.