Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer are back to defend their title from 2019 against a big-time field of FedExCup contenders, Tour winners, and major champions.
The PGA Tour’s only official team event returns to the schedule in 2021 after being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic last season.
Henrik Stenson teams up with fellow Olympic medalist Justin Rose, reigning PGA Champ Collin Morikawa is making his Zurich debut alongside Matthew Wolf, while Danny Willett is joining forces with fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton.
Course: TPC Louisiana in Avondale
Length: 7425 yards (Par 72)
Greens: Bermuda overseeded with Poa
Architect: Pete Dye
For the 4th straight year, The Zurich Classic is a welcomed break from the standard 72-hole stroke play format with 2-man teams alternating between best ball and alternate shot format throughout the week.
TPC Louisiana is one of the easier courses on TOUR with more fairways and greens hit than the average course and substantially fewer three-putts.
Seeing as we don’t have much data to rely on when it comes to this format except that you need to go low (the winning scores the last 3 years were -27, -22 and -26), here are some things I will be looking at/for;
- Good form on at least one of the golfers
- Birdie or better %
- Par 5 scoring
- Par 3 scoring on 200-225 yards (all 4 par 3s fall in this range)
- Short irons
- Driving distance
- Bermuda putting
Wagered: +35.61 units
Wagered: 189 units
Won: 407.42 units
Result: 218.42 units
Waste Management: Brooks Koepka 41-1, Genesis Invitational: Max Homa 56-1, The Players Championship: Justin Thomas 19-1, Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth 11-1
With a win and to other top ten finishes there’s a case to be made for Homa even on the back of two missed cuts at The Players and The Masters since, in between, he played good in the match play and both cuts were only missed by a single shot.
Over the past 24 rounds, Max ranks in the top 20 in putting (16th), proximity 75-100 yards (13th), par 5 scoring (6th), proximity 100-125 yards (6th) and strokes gained approach (5th).
But you should not sleep on Gooch who, while still has not gotten his first win, has shown that it should not be far away with three top 5s this season including a T5 at the Players a month ago. If that does not convince you he has gained an incredible 14,4 strokes on approach over his last two starts.
That they are good friends who often play practice rounds together should mean they have a good understanding of each other’s game so the format should suit them well.
The Norwegian and Oklahoma State duo should know each other’s game better than most having not only played together at national junior events since they were in their early teens but also at college.
While Hovland, of course, is the bigger talent and besides a questionable around the green game is close to the perfect product – he is known for his elite off the tee and approach game and while that of course is true (Ranks 18th on approach and 2nd off the tee over the past 24 rounds) don’t sleep on his improved putting this season, where he has gained strokes on the greens in 10 of his last 14 starts.
Ventura is a more volatile player with a couple of strengths that could be well suited for this format. He is one of the better putters on tour ranking in the top 10 both last season and over the short term. He is also long off the tee (10th in this field) and a good long iron player ranking 15th on par 3s between 200-225 yards.
All in all, they set up really well to go low in the best ball rounds and if they can play around each other’s weaknesses in alternate shots they should be right there come Sunday.
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