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BlogZurich Classic Preview and Picks

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

April 22nd – 25th, 2021

TPC Louisiana

Avondale, LA

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,425

Purse: $7.4 million

with $1,069,300 for each member of winning team to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jon Rahm

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 43 of the top 100 and 19 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with five players from the top-ten; #3 Jon Rahm, #4 Collin Morikawa, #5 Xander Schauffele, #8 Tyrrell Hatton and #10 Patrick Cantlay.  The rest of the top-50 players are  #12 Tony Finau, #15 Viktor Hovland, #18 Billy Horschel, #19 Sungjae Im, #21 Scottie Scheffler, #25 Cameron Smith, #26 Matthew Wolff, #27 Ryan Palmer, #33 Louis Oosthuizen, #36 Jason Kokrak, #37 Marc Leishman, #40 Justin Rose, #41 Max Homa, #42 Kevin Kisner.

The field includes 12 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2021.  Those players are #4 Xander Schauffele, #5 Patrick Cantlay, #6 Viktor Hovland, #10 Billy Horschel, #11 Tony Finau, #12 Jon Rahm, #16 Cameron Smith, #19 Collin Morikawa, #21 Max Homa, #22 Matt Jones, #23 Sungjae Im and #24 Jason Kokrak.

The field includes 11 past champions: Jon Rahm and his partner Ryan Palmer (2019), Scott Piercy (2018), Cameron Smith (2017), Brian Stuard (2016), Justin Rose (2015), Billy Horschel (2013 & 2018), Jason Dufner (2012), Bubba Watson (2011), Andres Romero (2008), Nick Watney (2007), and K.J. Choi (2002).

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Player RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC Match Play Corales Puntacana Honda Classic The Players Arnold Palmer WGC Workday Puerto Rico Genesis Invit. Pebble Beach
Jon Rahm
(287.33 pts)
DNP T5
(140)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP T32
(9)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Cameron Smith
(226.17 pts)
T9
(45)
T10
(80)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP T11
(19.5)
DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP
Xander Schauffele
(219.17 pts)
DNP T3
(180)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T39
(5.5)
DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP
Charley Hoffman
(207.33 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP T17
(33)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
T7
(18.33)
Billy Horschel
(205.67 pts)
T25
(25)
T50
(2)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP T58
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T2
(50)
DNP DNP DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(199 pts)
DNP T18
(64)
T54
(0)
2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 5
(35)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP
Collin Morikawa
(196.33 pts)
T7
(55)
T18
(64)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP Win
(66)
DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP
Matt Wallace
(176.67 pts)
T18
(32)
T34
(32)
3
(90)
T28
(22)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(161.67 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
T48
(2)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
Marc Leishman
(160.17 pts)
DNP T5
(140)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
T39
(5.5)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Matt Jones
(154.67 pts)
DNP T26
(48)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
T55
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T34
(5.33)
Tony Finau
(133.33 pts)
DNP T10
(80)
CUT
(-10)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 14
(18)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP
Ryan Palmer
(131 pts)
DNP T34
(32)
T17
(33)
17
(33)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Viktor Hovland
(129.67 pts)
DNP T21
(58)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T49
(0.33)
T2
(50)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Lucas Glover
(120 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
T48
(2)
T66
(0)
DNP T39
(3.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Harold Varner III
(117 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
T61
(0)
T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Sungjae Im
(112 pts)
T13
(37)
CUT
(-20)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP T8
(33.33)
T17
(33)
T21
(9.67)
T28
(11)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(108.33 pts)
DNP 7
(110)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Chase Seiffert
(103.67 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP T44
(6)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jason Kokrak
(100.17 pts)
DNP 49
(2)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
T8
(16.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Tom Hoge
(93.67 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T22
(28)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
12
(12.67)
Maverick McNealy
(93.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
T49
(0.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
2
(33.33)
Rafael Campos
(92.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Tringale
(92.33 pts)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
CUT
(-10)
T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP T26
(8)
T7
(18.33)
Branden Grace
(92.33 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T26
(8)
DNP Win
(44)
T20
(10)
T34
(5.33)
Max Homa
(91.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T10
(13.33)
T22
(14)
DNP Win
(44)
T7
(18.33)
Tyrrell Hatton
(88.67 pts)
T39
(11)
T18
(64)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T21
(9.67)
T22
(14)
DNP DNP DNP
Talor Gooch
(87.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP T46
(2.67)
T5
(70)
T43
(2.33)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP
Erik Van Rooyen
(87.5 pts)
DNP DNP T14
(36)
T9
(45)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP T57
(0)
T37
(6.5)
DNP DNP DNP
Brendan Steele
(87.33 pts)
DNP DNP 77
(0)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
T41
(9)
T18
(10.67)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
T34
(5.33)
Louis Oosthuizen
(87 pts)
DNP T26
(48)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP T6
(30)
DNP DNP DNP
Sam Ryder
(80.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T2
(66.67)
T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Bubba Watson
(79.67 pts)
DNP T26
(48)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brandon Hagy
(76.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Keegan Bradley
(74.67 pts)
DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP T30
(13.33)
T29
(21)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP
Kevin Streelman
(73.67 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP T36
(9.33)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
13
(12.33)
Joel Dahmen
(71.33 pts)
DNP DNP 74
(0)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T60
(0)
Michael Thompson
(64.67 pts)
T42
(8)
T34
(32)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T34
(5.33)
Jhonattan Vegas
(58.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T30
(13.33)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T50
(0.33)
Brendon Todd
(54.67 pts)
T39
(11)
T46
(8)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP T35
(15)
T57
(0)
T18
(16)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Vincent Whaley
(52 pts)
DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP T28
(14.67)
T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP T50
(0.33)
Cameron Champ
(51.67 pts)
DNP T26
(48)
T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
T48
(1)
DNP DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(51.33 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Doug Ghim
(48.33 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP T44
(6)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T29
(21)
T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T21
(9.67)
Brice Garnett
(46.67 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T9
(30)
T25
(16.67)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Martin Laird
(43 pts)
DNP T38
(24)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T69
(0)
T43
(2.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Lanto Griffin
(42.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-20)
T34
(16)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP T35
(15)
T21
(9.67)
T22
(14)
DNP T26
(8)
DNP
Danny Willett
(41.67 pts)
T18
(32)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 8
(33.33)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dylan Frittelli
(39.67 pts)
T56
(0)
CUT
(-20)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T22
(28)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thomas Pieters
(36.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP DNP
Matthew NeSmith
(35.33 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T20
(10)
T16
(11.33)
Charl Schwartzel
(34.67 pts)
DNP T26
(48)
T69
(0)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
DNP
Joseph Bramlett
(34.33 pts)
DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP T13
(24.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP T63
(0)
Cameron Percy
(34 pts)
DNP DNP DQ
(-5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T29
(21)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T21
(9.67)
Patrick Cantlay
(33.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-20)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
T3
(30)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Player RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC Match Play Corales Puntacana Honda Classic The Players Arnold Palmer WGC Workday Puerto Rico Genesis Invit. Pebble Beach
Austin Cook
(-46.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Malnati
(-46.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Xinjun Zhang
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Hunter Mahan
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Robby Shelton
(-38.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T43
(4.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Nick Watney
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Henrik Norlander
(-32 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
71
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T26
(8)
Michael Kim
(-31.67 pts)
WD
(-5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP 74
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Byeong Hun An
(-29.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
T43
(2.33)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP DNP
Beau Hossler
(-29 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T60
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T47
(1)
Bo Hoag
(-26 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
T26
(8)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
Danny Lee
(-24.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T49
(0.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T67
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Rhein Gibson
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kristoffer Ventura
(-21.67 pts)
DNP DNP 75
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-10)
T36
(4.67)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz

Since the start of January with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the PGA Tour has gone strong with 17 events in the last 15 weeks.  Each week has been intense as 17 different players have won championships.  But this week, things go down a notch as for a change of pace as we have a team event this week. It began in 1938 as the PGA Tour played for the first time in New Orleans.  Between 1949 and ’57, no events were played, but the tournament started in 1958 and was played every year until COVID-19 shut it down last year.

Now the appeal to play in this event was the cuisine and party atmosphere of New Orleans.  Back in the English Turn days, that was also a factor as players loved the course.  In 2005 Zurich Insurance Group signed up as sponsors, and even though their North America headquarters is located in Schaumburg, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, they love being a sponsor of this event.  When the event moved to TPC Louisiana in 2007, they lost many players who missed playing at English Turn, but still, they had those diehard fans of Bourbon Street, Beignets, Gumbo, and Jazz.   The culture and the appeal of the French Quarter were also significant, along with some great dining experiences.  As one who enjoys places like Brigtsen’s Restaurant, Emeril’s, Arnaud’s, Dooky Chase, and Cafe Beignet on Royal Street, you would see many players in those places, this use to be a secret weapon in getting players to come.  But times do change, and in the last ten years, outstanding cuisine and jazz were replaced on if the course fit players’ look and style.  Its April dates also hurt attendance of players, so in 2017 tournament officials came up with something different and fresh, a team event.  Yes, the PGA Tour tends to get a bit stale, playing the same format week in and week out, so this was a significant change of pace.  Players responded positively in the first year in 2017 when they had 24 of the top-50 ranked players, with six coming from the top-ten. For 2021 20 of the top-50 are in New Orleans this week, five of the top ten participated.  That is an impressive number when you consider that in these times, players treasure weeks in which they don’t have to play, so many players are in New Orleans because of the team concept and the fact that they can play with a friend.  Defending champions (from 2019) Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer are back.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans and how the format works

This will be the 72nd edition of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the fourth year of the team concept.  Started in 2017, the 1st and 3rd rounds are four-ball, in which both play the hole, and the best score counts.  In the 2nd and 4th rounds, foursome play is used, in which players will rotate tee shots.  So on the first hole, if player A tees off, then player B hits the second shot, and player A hits the third shot, and they rotate until they hole out.  Now the field will consist of 80 teams of 160 players, and at the conclusion of the second round, a cut is made with the low 35 teams and ties playing the weekend.  The good news for all players, all money is official, and FedExCup points are awarded. This year the prize money is $7.4 million, back in 2019, the prize money was $7.3 million, and the winners Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer each won $1,051,200, and each got 400 FedExCup points.  These are all the pluses of the tournament.

Now there are disadvantages to this format.  In the history of the PGA Tour, they have held 61 team events, using various formats.  Before New Orleans changed in 2017, the previous team event was the Walt Disney World National Team Championship, last played in 1981.  One of the big reasons that event was stopped 40 years ago was many purists felt it unfair for players to receive FedEx Cup points and exemptions for a team event.  In 1981, many felt that players like Vance Heafner and Mike Holland, who won the event, had always struggled to keep their PGA Tour cards, and it was wrong to give them exemptions for winning as a team.  Even today, Official World Rankings points aren’t awarded to the winners, and the winners won’t be given spots in next year’s Masters, which give spots for all winners on the PGA Tour.  There are two sides to this, still, it’s a stroke of genius, and we can now gamble on the event via DraftKings and other sites.

Course information:

  • TPC Louisiana
  • Avondale, La.
  • 7,425 yards     Par 36-36–72

TPC Louisiana features a course rating of 76.6 and a slope rating from the back tees of 138. The tees, fairway, and rough are TifSport bermudaGrass as the greens are bermudagrass overseeded with Poa. The course is semi-private and can be played by the public.

Since last year was a team event, there are no real stats or information on how the field played.  In 2016 TPC Louisiana was the 31st hardest course on tour playing to a 71.16.  Heavy rains plus numerous delays is probably the reason the course played a shot and a quarter harder in 2016 than in 2015 when it was the 49th hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 69.951 scoring average.

The course was designed and built by Pete Dye with player consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.  The course opened in 2004 and held the Zurich Open the next year.  The course is on 250 acres of former swamp land that Dye transformed into a course that can stretch up to 7,600 yards. The average green size at TPC Louisiana is 5,700 square feet, which is pretty much the average on the PGA Tour.  It features 71 bunkers with 20 acres of area covered in sand. Water comes into play on eight of the 18 holes

So what are the keys to winning this week?

When it was a stroke play event, the keys to winning at TPC Louisiana were putting and scrambling well.  Now the key is for both players to be in sync with each other. On the days that best ball is used, the key is for one player to make a birdie on every hole and to make sure the worst the team makes is a par.  In 2019 when Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer won, they made 17 birdies in the 36 holes, with one bogey.  In the alternate shots, that’s where being in sync is essential.  You don’t want to hit a shot that makes it challenging for your partner.  In alternate shots Rahm and Palmer did well, making 11 birdies and just one bogey.

In past years we have seen teams that seem hard to beat.  This year is a lot of the same.  You have Jon Rahm, ranked 3rd on a team with Ryan Palmer, who is ranked 27th.  Or Collin Morikawa ranked 4th paired with Matthew Wolff, who is ranked 26th.  One of the best-ranked teams is #5 Xander Schauffele with #10 Patrick Cantlay.  You will see friends together on the hole, like fellow South African’s Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel together or Tyrrell Hatton with Danny Willett.  In a way, this week is relaxing for the players who can rely on somebody else.

At the end of the day, there is no actual formula for which team is the best.  You have to look at each of them and figure who is doing the best coming into this week, like duo Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman.  Smith was T-9th at Heritage and T-10th in the Masters.  Leishman was T-5th at the Masters, so both are playing well right now.  This is the first time they are paired in this event, in past years, Smith was with Jonas Blixt, who won the event together in 2017.  But they didn’t find the magic together, missing the cut in 2018 and ’19.  So you can see, picking the right teams will be more challenging than you think.

DraftKings

Because of the nature of this week being a team event, there is a lot of changes.  First of all the cost of top players are a lot, the top-9 teams will cost you over $10,000.  So this is a complete shot in the dark and is very hard to gauge.  Key is to find six teams to make the cut, only 35 teams will make it to the weekend so the challenge will be hard.

Here are the teams that are expensive that many will think about.

Jon Rahm & Ryan Palmer at $11,500, are the defending champions for a reason, they are two really steady guys that are steady and don’t leave their partner in the lurch.  Yes, they are worth the money.  Now for Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay at $11,700 I would pass, Cantlay has struggled with his game in the last few starts.  The same with Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff at $11,300, many think that Wolff could have a wrist injury and Morikawa didn’t have a good final round at the Heritage.  My Favorite team in this is Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman at $11,100, they both are playing well and I see them ham and egging to victory.  Many will like the team of Tony Finau and Cameron Champ at $10,700 mostly because of their length.  Yes, they will have the advantage, especially in the alternate play but both aren’t playing well right now, so take a pass on them.  Billy Horschel and Sam Burns at $10,500 are worth buying, Horschel has won twice on this course.  Max Homa and Talor Gooch at $9,900 are worth looking at, both are playing well right now.  Branden Grace and Harold Varner III at $9,600 are also worth looking at, both has played in this event and have gained the experience to do good this week.

Some reasonable price teams:

Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen at $9,400 are both friends from South Africa and will work well together.  They were 3rd in 2018.  Also, like Brendan Steele and Keegan Bradley at $9,300 and are playing good golf now.  Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown at $8,700 and are both good friends who live in Aiken, South Carolina.  They have partnered up every year and played great, were runner-ups in 2017 losing a playoff, was T-15th in 2018, and T-5th in 2019.  Jason Kokrak and Pat Perez are at $8,300 and both have some good points.  Despite not playing well right now, Perez will provide the humor and keep this team fresh, they may surprise a lot of folks.  Cameron Tringale and Roberto Castro at $8,000 will surprise people because of the talent and potential, both are playing well right now.  Joseph Bramlett and Maverick McNealy at $7,900 are other teams that have played well in 2021.  Maverick finishing T-4th at the Heritage so he is ready to go.

Are their “bargains” out there:

Boy have to say that it’s going to be hard finding teams that can make the cut and are under $7,500.  Martin Laird and Nick Taylor at $7,300 could do well together and make the cut.  Also like Peter Uihlein and Richy Werenski at $7,100.  Uihlein won last week in Las Vegas and is a streak playing, so they are a great buy.  Martin Trainer and James Hahn at $6,300 are worth it because both players do make a lot of cuts.

Who to watch for at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

My Picks for the Week:

Cameron Smith & Marc Leishman – Both are from Australia and will match up perfectly together.  Smith is hitting the ball the best, ranking 17th in Strokes Gained Putting and 18th in Scrambling.  Leishman is good at hitting greens, is 80th in Greens in Regulation while Smith is T-81st

Kevin Kisner & Scott Brown – Both are good friends who live in Aiken, South Carolina.  The two have partnered up every year and played great, were runner-ups in 2017 losing a playoff, was T015th in 2018 and T-5th in 2019.

Jon Rahm & Ryan Palmer – In this format the defending champions are the favorite

These guys could surprise us

Branden Grace & Harold Varner III – Have to like that Grace won in Puerto Rico at the end of February and was T-42nd at Heritage, while Varner III was T-2nd at Heritage last week.

Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson – Couple of good friends who have teamed up together and been partners 8 times in the Ryder Cup, winning six of those matches.  See better things from them, they won’t miss the cut and I think they will seriously play well this year.

Charl Schwartzel & Louis Oosthuizen – Fellow South Africans have played together in the Presidents Cup and both have won major championships and should on paper be a great team.

Richy Werenski & Peter Uihlein – Good young team that nobody will think of, Werenski finishing T-4th last month at the Palmer, and Uihlein won the Korn Ferry stop in Las Vegas last week.

Jason Kokrak & Pat Perez – Kokrak will be carrying the team, but think Perez will give a lot of support and humor.

Teams that look great on paper, but have some bad vibes:

Xander Schauffele & Patrick Cantlay – Can’t think of any young players on tour that have as much potential together as these two have.  The only problem Cantlay is not playing well and Schauffele could have memories of the 16th hole at Augusta.

Collin Morikawa & Matthew Wolff – Two San Fernando Valley buds that played junior golf together.  Big problem is Wolff’s game has been lost the last couple of months, could be due to an injury and Morikawa looked bad in the final round at Heritage

Tony Finau & Cameron Champ – This team will be fun to watch as both are two of the longest hitters in the game.  Both of their games aren’t in flex right now

Darkhorse picks

Billy Horschel & Sam Burns – Horschel won this event in 2018 with Scott Piercy as a partner, his is the first year with Burns.

Max Homa & Talor Gooch –  A couple of players who have played well in the last couple of months, Homa won in L.A. and Gooch was T-5th at the Players.

Scottie Scheffler & Bubba Watson – Have to think that with Watson’s experience and Scheffler’s attitude these two will be good together.

 

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