Winners are grinners! Our PGA Tour Tips are on fire. Kevin Chappell ($26-1) gave us our second win in the last four tournaments. Next up is the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with an exciting new format.
Where: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana
When: Thursday 27th April (10:00pm first tee)
Adapt or die. The PGA Tours new commissioner Jay Monahan is certainly willing to try new things. The Zurich Classic of New Orleans format change will be the first big test. The tournament is now a two-man team format, with 80 teams playing Foursomes (alternate shots) for the first and third rounds and Four-ball (best ball) for the second and final rounds. The goal is to capitalize on the popularity of team events such as the Presidents Cup and to give golf fans something new.
The most interesting element of this event is the pairings and how they came to be. The players can choose their own playing partner, provided they have full PGA Tour status or have an invitation to play the event on a sponsor exemption.
Some teams were obvious choices, such as brothers Brooks and Chase Koepka or college teammates Billy Horschel and Matt Every. Other teams are connected by coaches, nationality and some are just neighbours. There’s even a team that formed through their caddies losing a bet (Jordan Spieth & Ryan Palmer) but my favourite team formation is Holmes and Watson (JB Holmes & Bubba Watson). Surely the pair did this to honour Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fabled detective duo.
Whatever the reason for the pairings may be, the most important factor this week will be team “chemistry”. Especially on the Foursomes days when your teammate hasn’t hit a fairway or made a putt all day. The players that can absorb that and stay positive will be successful.
From a spectator view the tournament will look fun and friendly. However, there’s still plenty at stake for the players. In addition to the $7.2 million purse, the winning team would also take home 400 FedEx Cup points each, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and invitations to events such as the Players championship and the Tournament of Champions.
The tournament favourites are Zurich ambassadors Jason Day and Ricky Fowler at $6 Ladbrokes. They are also the best ranked team in terms of world golf rankings (3rd & 9th). If these two-start feeding off each other and having fun, then I could see them running away with the tournament. However, at the current odds of 6-1 they’re way unders. Instead here are my five best valued teams for the Zurich Classic.
TIP: Jamie Lovemark / Luke Donald to win - $34 at Ladbrokes
TIP: Byeong Hun An / Seung-Yul Noh to win - $41 at Ladbrokes
TIP: David Hearn / Graham DeLaet to win - $51 at Ladbrokes
TIP: Jason Dufner / Patton Kizzire to win - $51 at Ladbrokes
TIP: Brian Stuard / Chris Stroud to win - $126 at Ladbrokes
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