Preview: 2021 Zurich Classic

Two Step.

Partner’s Best.

Two for Tuesday.

Have it.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

TPC Louisiana

Avondale, Louisiana

  
Yards (per official scorecard):7,425
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:TifEagle Bermuda over-seeded with Poa trivialis; 5,225 square feet.
Stimpmeter:12′.
Rough:TifSport Bermuda less than two inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards106/5; water on eight holes.
Architects:Pete Dye (2004; 2019).
Course Record – 4 balls (last): Course Record – 4 somes (last):60; Brian Gay/Rory Sabbatini (2019); both not playing this week. 65; Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm (2019).  
Tournament Record:27-under; Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith 2017.
Purse:$7.4 million; $1,069,300 million each and 400 FedExCup points.

Notes:

  • Field of 80, two-man teams.
  • Top 33 and ties play the weekend.
  • Best ball (fourballs) Thursday and Saturday.
  • Alternate shot (foursomes) Friday and Sunday.
  • Playoff: Alternating format starting with foursomes on 18.

2020-2021 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak*
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPPatrick Cantlay
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz*
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenPatrick Reed
Waste Management Phoenix OpenBrooks Koepka
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmDaniel Berger
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa
WGC – Championship at The ConcessionCollin Morikawa
Arnold Palmer InvitationalBryson DeChambeau (2)
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas
The Honda ClassicMatt Jones
WGC- Match PlayBilly Horschel
Corales PuntacanaJoel Dahmen*
Valero Texas OpenJordan Spieth
85th Masters TournamentHideki Matsuyama
RBC HeritageStewart Cink (2)

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week.

Previous Winners

(*Playoff)

YearWinnerScoreComment
2020COVID-19 No tournament
2019Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm-26First-time partners won by three, the largest margin of victory.
2018Scott Piercy/Billy Horschel-22Made up four shots with a bogey-free 68 on Sunday to win by one.
2017Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith-27Won the inaugural event in a four-hole playoff.

Facts and Figures:

Lowest Rounds – 201961; Scott Stallings, Branden Grace.
Defending Modern Champion(s) Event:Nobody in stroke play or partner’s game.
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Billy Horschel (2018, 2012).
First Time – TOUR:Cameron Smith; 8 of 12 stroke play winners.
First Time – Event Cameron Smith (partner’s game).
Oldest winner:Jerry Kelly, 42.
Youngest winner:Seung-Yul Noh, 22.
Odd Fact:Format was flipped in year 1.
Odd Fact II:Billy Horschel is the only winner in stroke play and team play.

Quick Thoughts

TEAM GAME!

Perfect slump buster as the format should shake everyone out of whatever is bothering them.

College teammates. Countrymen. Regional partners. Neighbors. Randoms.

We got it all baby!

Better make birdies and lots of ’em.

Key to this game is going low in the fourball and hanging on in foursomes.

There are only a few instances of teams posting 67 or lower in alternate shot so that’s not the format to make up ground.

Guys in form tend to be in form for a reason so I’m leaning there.

Old friends and partners can rekindle old flames but…

Many box office teams haven’t contended so there’s also that.

The Course

Another week, another week of Pete as this is three of the last four.

Smallish greens = ball-strikers

Light rough = bombers

Slick, undulating greens = putters.

Water is in play in eight holes so keep out.

Closely mown areas will bring in indecisions.

The winning score here in all formats is BIRDIE BIRDIE BIRDIE so go low and make all you can.

Last Week at RBC Heritage

Chalk – Betting favorites and my opinions on them

Dustin Johnson (+1200): Better odds than Augusta in a worse field! Should have won here in 2019 but 77 in the final round knocked him to T28; T16 on debut. RBC ambassador can win any week but his last four are all T28 or worse. Nah. I’ll save a look for Kiawah Island in May. T13 closed with 66, his best of the week.

Webb Simpson (+1400): Don’t love the price but his horse for course runs hard and fast here regardless of last June. Connects all the dots. Win ticket, top 10 and top 20. T9 cashes two out of three but nobody was in Cink’s world.

Patrick Cantlay (+1800): Another whose form has not translated from the west coast to the east coast. MC at Sawgrass and AGNC subdues the three top 10s from three starts at HTGL. Not reaching. Didn’t reach, MC.

Collin Morikawa (+2000): Any price in the 20s with him probably deserves a look. I still can’t get it out of my mind that he was asking Azinger for tips on how to play Bermuda before he won at The Concession. He’s a machine tee-to-green but his wild swings on his own ball scare me off.  Starting to realize it just might not matter with him…T7 and a super player who just needs a decent week with the putter.

Daniel Berger (+2200): Love that it’s Bermuda and small greens as the Pebble Beach winner this year has already proven it in these conditions. Solid Match Play and T9 at TPC Sawgrass confirms he can play Pete Dye. Across the board: win, Top 10, Top 20.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+2200): Didn’t make anything at ANGC so I’d expect that club to help out this week. Top 10. Top 20. Didn’t make anything again this week but T13 saved a few blushes.

Tyrrell Hatton (+2500): Should be chuffed after finally figuring out how to get four rounds at the Masters. Top 20. Half were great, 66, half weren’t, 73. T39. X

Cameron Smith (+3000): Like the price, the hair, the moustache and the attitude. Too many solids in a row in stroke play. Across the board: win, Top 10 and Top 20. T9 cashes two of three.

Paul Casey (+3000): Plays well at Pebble but never here. Form was fire before DAMP FART at Masters. Something gives. Top 20. The thing that gave was my wallet…

Others 33-1 or worse

Abraham Ancer (+3300): Hit 65/72 GIR in June. Wind won’t let that happen again. Top 20. T18, collection.

Will Zalatoris (+3300): The Greek God of Skinny gives zero hoots. Where’s the first tee and what’s the course record! Top 20. Ran out of gas, T42. X

Corey Conners (+3500): T14 or better in stroke play in his last four. Top 10 and Top 20. Swish. T4. Collect both.

Brian Harman (+3500): T12, T5 and T3 in his last three. Across the board: win, Top 10 and Top 20. Missed the top 10 by a shot. Cash 1 of 3.

Si Woo Kim (+4000): Pete Dye master always gets a sniff but just top 20 this time around. T33 and X.

Shane Lowry (+5000): Tried to go wire to wire in 2019 before fading on Sunday. Top 10. 66 on Sunday to hit T9, banger.

Charley Hoffman (+5000): Also threw one away here a few years back. In sizzling form. Top 10. Top 20. T18 = splitsville.

Kevin Kisner (+5500): Last across the board: Win, Top 10 and Top 20. X X AND X. Woof.

Matt Kuchar (+6000): Course historians will see that number and salivate. I’ll keep my money. T18.

Lucas Glover (+9000): I remember that top five at Valero. Top 10. T33. X

JT Poston (+11000): Bogey free last time on the weekend in April plus led the field in scrambling. MC.

Long Shots: Top 20 plays

CT Pan – MC

Matthew NeSmith – T48

Rory Sabbatini – 51st

Ben Martin – MC

Maverick McNealy – T4

Camilo Villegas -MC

Mark Hubbard – MC

To Make The Cut

Wesley Bryan – YES

Troy Merritt – YES

Martin Trainer – NO

Peter Malnati – NO

This Week – Zurich Classic

Rahm/Palmer (+750): I mean, I get why but I don’t get why. Defending champs here have never found any magic in the team game or on their own ball. Marked men.

Schauffele/Cantlay (+800): This isn’t the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup so throw that out. This is a hit and giggle. SoCal kids pairing up is cool, just like Cantlay’s three straight MC.

Smith/Leishman (+1200): Yep, they take it more seriously. They just do. So do the Euros. Go read Ben Everill’s article at PGATOUR.com for more info on why this week is a big one for them. Oh and they both hit the top 10 at ANGC and Smith is racking them up for fun. Buying.

Watson/Scheffler (+1400): Bubba has had plenty of fun here and will take the newbie under his wing. Somebody will have to make a putt but pray for the Par-5 holes that will be run over.

Morikawa/Wolff (+1600): Not sure what Wolff is going thru right now but if he can keep the ball on the planet and make a putt or two, Morikawa can handle the rest.

Finau/Champ (+1800): Could be plenty of recovery shots in this group in foursomes…

Kirk/Todd (+2000): Love it. Kirk is on fire and Todd doesn’t get too far out of position and can really putt. Buying.

Horschel/Burns (+2200): Could have as many birdies as bogeys. Home game for Burns and Horschel is the only player to win twice here. Nibble across the board.

Willett/Hatton (+2500): Top 10 for the pair of proper grinders.

33-1 or worse

Rose/Stenson (+3300): Both flashed at Augusta and then faded. They’ve tried this here before for MC and T19.

Oosthuizen/Schwartzel (+3500): Been there, done this. And both playing decently enough not to “need” anything. Relaxed. Top 10.

Grace/Varner III (+3500): Thought I’d get a bigger price but I’m still on board. Win ticket and top 10.

Bradley/Steele (+3500): Both are in excellent form but they’ll need to make some putts at some point.

Castro/Tringale (+5500): Ramblin’ wreck together again after T5 in 2019. Go fight win. Favorite long shot.

Laird/Taylor, Nick (+7000): Laird loves this event with back to back top 10s including last time with NT.

McNealy/Bramlett (+8000): Stanford boys both in very solid form including McNealy’s T4 on Pete Dye last week.

$2 Long Shots

Duncan/Schenk (+12500): Those who make Boilers have posted 64 in their last 3 rounds of best ball. Fix up that alternate shot…

Putnam/Harrington (+17500): Washington state boys.

Dufner/Bozzelli (+17500): Auburn Tigers.

Chalmers/Percy (+25000): Aussie pairing has hit the top 10 before.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter (@mikeglasscott) or email me: mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s