Golf is officially coming to an end in 2021 as the standard stroke-play events are wrapped up for the calendar year. It was an eventful weekend at the Hero World Challenge which saw our selections of Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed come up short, Tiger Woods in the television booth, and Viktor Hovland claiming yet another coastal victory. Instead of dwelling on the event, we turn our attention to the QBE Shootout where Greg Norman will play host.
An annual event played every year since 1989, the first decade of the former Shark Shootout took place at Sherwood Country Club where coincidentally the Hero World Challenge used to play out of. Since 2001, Norman has taken the field to Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Florida and has welcomed numerous tournament sponsors.
In last year’s QBE Shootout, Harris English and Matt Kuchar captured a record victory en route to their third title together. Also winning the event in 2013 and 2016, the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry between the two has proven to be a fruitful combination in this abnormal format. The duo finished at 37 under, nine strokes ahead of 2019 champions Rory Sabbatini and Kevin Tway.
Other winners to claim hardware at Tiburón Golf Club include Brian Harman and Patton Kizzire in 2018, Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker in 2017 and Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker in 2016. With such an odd playing format this week, all one can do is hope current form and past history are able to continue into this week’s QBE Shootout.
Despite having three victories to their names, English and Kuchar do not head the QBE Shootout betting odds. Instead, it is the unlikely duo of Billy Horschel and Sam Burns. Listed at +400 at Bovada, our odds calculator gives the SEC pair a 20.00 percent chance to win this year’s QBE Shootout.
This will be the second time the two team up in one of these events as they played in the Zurich Classic together this past spring, finishing in a tie for fourth, two strokes behind Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith.
Who Is Favored To Win The QBE Shootout?
|Sam Burns/Billy Horschel||+400|
|Jason Kokrak/Kevin Na||+550|
|Harris English/Matt Kuchar||+650|
|Jason Day/Marc Leishman||+800|
|Max Homa/Kevin Kisner||+800|
|Corey Conners/Graeme McDowell||+1100|
|Ian Poulter/Lee Westwood||+1100|
|Brian Harman/Hudson Swafford||+1200|
|Will Zalatoris/Sean O’Hair||+1200|
|Matt Jones/Ryan Palmer||+1400|
|Kyoung-Hoon Lee/Brandt Snedeker||+1600|
|Lexi Thompson/Bubba Watson||+4000|
Odds as of December 6 at Bovada
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What To Expect From The QBE Shootout
Twelve teams are scheduled to play in this year’s QBE Shootout, which is hardly your standard stroke-play event. Each team will take to a different format in the 54-hole event that begins Friday.
In Round 1 of the QBE Shootout, teams will play a scramble format which some may know as best shot. Essentially, each player will tee off and then the team will decide which shot was better and play from there. This process is repeated until they hole out. Last year, Kevin Na and Sean O’Hair got out to the early lead, shooting 16 under. As long as you’re hovering around 12 under or so, you should stay within arm’s reach heading into the second day.
The second round is the most difficult format of the three, as players will play a modified alternate shot. What this means is each player will strike a tee shot, the team will choose the better of the two, and then alternate shots until the hole is completed. Scores are typically in the mid- to upper 60s in this format. However, this is the day English and Kuchar completely separated themselves from the 11 other teams as they carded an 11-under 61, five strokes better than the next best team.
On the final day of play, the format will take a slightly more traditional sense with teams playing fourball. You may have seen this game style played in the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup as it is featured before the two teams head to Sunday singles matches. What this entails is each player playing their own ball the entirety of the hole and simply taking the better score between the two players. Kuchar and English once again carded the best round of the day last year with a 10-under 60, but the majority of the teams were in the 61-63 range.
In total, a winning QBE Shootout score will likely fall close to 30 under. I reckon we can take the tournament last year as an outlier and instead look at the previous four winning scores, which read 31 under, 30 under, 26 under and 28 under.
Meet The 12 Teams Playing In This Year’s QBE Shootout
Sam Burns And Billy Horschel (+400)
The duo teamed up in the 2021 Zurich Classic and nearly came through. An unorthodox team, the former standouts at LSU and University of Florida tied for fourth in their first team event together and are rightfully listed as the favorites.
Jason Kokrak And Kevin Na (+550)
They are one of four teams this week in which both players have previous QBE Shootout experience. Kokrak is coming off his third win in less than 12 months as he dismantled Memorial Park in his Houston Open victory. He finished runner-up in this event in 2019 alongside J.T. Poston at 29 under. Na played sparingly in the fall and failed to put up a strong result, but was part of one of the teams to finish runner-up last year with Sean O’Hair.
Harris English And Matt Kuchar (+650)
Looking for their fourth QBE Shootout title together, the duo arrives with a mixed bag of form. English has struggled this fall, but may have found something in his game in the Bahamas at the Hero World Challenge. Kuchar, on the other hand, has been steadily improving each start and the two are hard to overlook given their history.
Jason Day And Marc Leishman (+800)
Leishman will likely carry most of the load in this team from down under. Capturing two top-five finishes this fall and in contention in the Houston Open, Leishman’s form and history in team events could be enough to carry Day, who failed to collect a top-50 finish in the fall.
Max Homa And Kevin Kisner (+800)
This is a popular team that many who are in tune with the social media landscape will likely gravitate toward. Making their debut together, I could see this going horribly wrong or extremely right. If Homa’s ball-striking is married to Kisner’s short game, they could be dangerous.
Corey Conners And Graeme McDowell (+1100)
They’re my selection to win as my rankings have them as the fourth-best team on the board, but the betting odds suggest they are the sixth. Both have history in this event and both have put together at least one strong start this past swing season. McDowell has three runner-up efforts at the QBE Shootout with his latest coming in 2018 alongside Emiliano Grillo, whose statistical profile is eerily similar to Conners’, giving me confidence in this new partnership.
Ian Poulter And Lee Westwood (+1100)
The Englishmen are going in the wrong direction as neither have played well of late. As their saving grace, Poulter was a winner here in 2010 with Dustin Johnson by his side, meaning Westwood has big shoes to fill.
Brian Harman And Hudson Swafford (+1200)
A pair of former Georgia Bulldogs, Swafford and Harman could be a very nice fit together. Swafford is excelling in the ball-striking department while Harman typically makes his hay on and around the green. The southpaw has been struggling, but if he finds some form, they could contend.
Will Zalatoris And Sean O’Hair (+1200)
Zalatoris will be taking the spot of Steve Stricker, who is unable to play this week. The recently named Rookie of the Year will look to lean on O’Hair’s experience in this format as he has claimed victories with not only Stricker in 2017, but also Kenny Perry in 2012.
Matt Jones And Ryan Palmer (+1400)
Palmer looks to be regaining some form as he collected back-to-back top-30 results to end his 2021 PGA Tour campaign. He also has some success in this event, finishing on the podium with Harold Varner III in 2019. Jones, on the other hand, will be making his debut as he limped to the finish line this fall and will hope to not hold back Palmer this week.
Kyoung-Hoon Lee And Brandt Snedeker (+1600)
We’re not entirely sure what to expect from this unassuming duo as Snedeker has struggled and Lee has been playing some fine golf. They could go well if Snedeker can bring his A-game, but that may be a big ask for the former FedExCup champion.
Lexi Thompson And Bubba Watson (+4000)
Both long hitters on their respective tours, they tend to struggle with the flat stick. Thompson captured a top-10 at this course recently and won the CMW Group Tour Championship on the LPGA Tour back in 2018 but has yet to find the winner’s circle when playing with the men. Both have top-five finishes in this event – albeit with different partners – so there is an avenue for success, although it’s a narrow one given their troubles with the putter in hand.