The PGA Tour will make its annual trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, this week for the fifth edition of this version of the Zurich Classic. Previously a standard stroke-play event, the playing format changed beginning in 2017 as PGA Tour players now team up with one another at TPC Louisiana.
Along with the Zurich Classic picks below, be sure to browse our Zurich Classic prop bets as well.
Eighty teams of two men are set to take on the Pete Dye design with players alternating playing formats all week long. Playing best ball on Thursday and Saturday, competitors, in unison with their teammates, will play their own golf ball all the way through the completion of a hole.
Once finished, players will take the lowest score of the two and continue to do this for the entirety of the round. This is where last year’s champions, Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman, separated themselves from the field. Finishing at 20 under, the two played these two rounds in 18 under and skirted by in alternate shots.
Alternate shot is by far the more difficult of the two playing formats and often propels or plummets teams on the leaderboard. The format is just as it sounds as players will decide before play begins which of the two will tee off on the odd-numbered holes and which will tee off on the even holes.
From there they will alternate hitting one golf ball until holed. Last year, an unsuspecting duo of Richy Werenski and Peter Uihlein played their two rounds of alternate shot in 8 under. That was by far the best of any team in the Zurich Classic and pushed them into solo third place by Sunday evening.
Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland both participated in the 2021 Zurich Classic, although not together. Teaming up this year, the duo is the lone pair to find both their names inside the top five of the Official World Golf Ranking. Listed at +800 at Bovada, they are joined by U.S. Ryder Cup teammates and good friends Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
According to our odds calculator, each team has an 11.11 percent chance to win the 2022 Zurich Classic. The two teams are arguably in a league of their own as the pedigree of each player is extremely impressive, with Morikawa finishing inside the top 10 at the Masters Tournament and Cantlay losing in a playoff at the RBC Heritage in recent weeks.
Zurich Classic Odds: Who Is Favored To Win?
|Viktor Hovland/Collin Morikawa||+800|
|Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele||+800|
|Marc Leishman/Cameron Smith||+900|
|Ryan Palmer/Scottie Scheffler||+1000|
|Sam Burns/Billy Horschel||+1200|
|Tommy Fleetwood/Sergio Garcia||+1600|
|Shane Lowry/Ian Poulter||+2000|
|Harold Varner III/Bubba Watson||+2500|
|Joaquin Niemann/Mito Pereira||+2500|
|Talor Gooch/Max Homa||+2500|
|Byeong Hun An/Sungjae Im||+3300|
|Davis Riley/Will Zalatoris||+3300|
|Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele||+3300|
|Tyrrell Hatton/Danny Willett||+3300|
|Chris Kirk/Brendon Todd||+4000|
|Graeme McDowell/Seamus Power||+4000|
|Patton Kizzire/J.T. Poston||+4000|
|Greyson Sigg/Sepp Straka||+5000|
|Adam Hadwin/Adam Svensson||+6600|
|Christiaan Bezuidenhout/Charl Schwartzel||+6600|
Odds as of April 18 at Bovada
What Happened in Last Year’s Zurich Classic?
The 2021 Zurich Classic saw Australians Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman meet South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in a playoff. With both teams finishing at 20 under, the manner in which they accomplished their score was oddly similar.
The Australians took full advantage of their rounds on Thursday and Saturday as they carded back-to-back 63s in best ball. The South Africans posted the exact same scores, yet carried a one-stroke lead into the final round due to their Friday alternate shot score of 1-under 71.
Unable to convert their 54-hole lead into a victory, their hopes vanished into thin air when Oosthuizen’s tee shot on the first playoff hole found the water. Playing alternate shot, there was nothing Schwartzel could do as Smith and Leishman cruised to an easy par on the par-5 18th to secure the Zurich Classic title.
Course and Tournament Information
Our analysis for the Zurich Classic will look different than in most weeks as the playing format throws a wrinkle into our traditional plans. TPC Louisiana, the Pete Dye design, measures just over 7,400 yards and plays to a par 72.
For best-ball purposes in the first and third rounds, players who are capable with their scoring clubs and have a high birdie or better conversion percentage will be targets. With a playing partner by one’s side, the potential for high scores is minimal and because of this, upside is all we are worried about.
The opposite can be said for alternate shot in the second and fourth rounds, as a wayward shot will in all likelihood put one’s team in a bind, with the evidence in Oosthuizen’s tee shot in last year’s playoff. Tee-to-green specialists, specifically strong ball-strikers, should fare well in this format.
In addition, players who have a vast understanding of their partner’s game have a strong chance of competing – friends, college teammates, Ryder Cup teammates and Presidents Cup teammates typically have successful showings in the Zurich Classic.
Zurich Classic Picks
Sam Burns & Billy Horschel +1200 To Win
Burns and Horschel have now played multiple team events together and were last seen as a pair this past winter at the QBE Shootout. The SEC counterparts fell short to Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na in the final round, but once again proved to have an inclination to play their best golf when together. This followed up their debut together in the 2021 Zurich Classic where they mightily impressed.
Signing for rounds of 63-73-65-69, they finished at 18 under and two strokes out of the eventual playoff. While the second round appears to have been their weak point, if they had just repeated their Thursday effort on Saturday, the two strokes would have been made up. Burns and Horschel have a real opportunity to right last year’s wrong as they both arrive playing some fantastic golf.
Burns is now a two-time winner on the PGA Tour in the 2021-22 season as he captured the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall before repeating as champion at the Valspar Championship. Horschel has experienced a sneaky good 2022, finishing runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and advancing to the Round of 16 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Joaquin Niemann & Mito Pereira +2500 To Win
They have yet to be teammates in an official setting, but Niemann and Pereira are about as close to brothers as two men can be. Both hailing from Chile, Niemann has taken Pereira beneath his wing despite being three years younger. More acclimated to the United States, Niemann is now enjoying a breakout season on the PGA Tour.
Pereira did just that on the Korn Ferry Tour last season as he won three times on the minor league circuit and was able to earn his promotion to the PGA Tour immediately. A near bronze medalist at the Olympic Games this past August, Pereira has continued his strong play this season as he found his name in the mix in the season’s first event, the Fortinet Championship.
Both players are extremely adequate off the tee and on approach, meaning their steadiness will come to their aid during the alternate-shot rounds. Capable of making birdies in bunches, Niemann and Pereira will simply need to hole enough putts in order to win. The pair have had their issues on the greens this year, but at this price, it is worth chancing they will run the table just as Niemann did at the Genesis Invitational.
Greyson Sigg & Sepp Straka +5000 To Win
The marriage of Sigg and Straka may be a head-scratcher at first glance, but both played their college golf at the University of Georgia and came into professional golf around the same time. Not only do both hail from Athens, Georgia, but both are in the midst of strong 2021-22 seasons as Sigg is taking his first swing at the PGA Tour and Straka is one of the many first-time winners on the tour.
Straka won in dramatic fashion at the Honda Classic to kick off the Florida swing and nearly won again last week at the RBC Heritage. Needing just a par on the 72nd hole, the Austrian made bogey from the middle of the fairway to fall out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay. Still, the 28-year-old has ascended to world No. 53 and possesses the perfect combination of driving distance and putting acumen needed to successfully navigate TPC Louisiana.
He is joined by Sigg, who makes up for his lack of distance off the tee with pinpoint accuracy. The 27-year-old has been able to utilize his skill set over the last month by making four consecutive cuts, with his best finish coming at the Corales Punta Cana Championship. If able to play up to his potential and complement Straka, the pair of Georgia Bulldogs may be barking in LSU country come Sunday evening.
Maverick McNealy & Joseph Bramlett +8000 To Win
McNealy and Bramlett are another pair of collegiate friends as they both come from Stanford University. Their college days must seem like ancient history as both were highly touted coming into professional golf after enjoying extremely successful amateur careers. McNealy broke a couple of Tiger Woods’ records at Stanford and won with regularity, a habit that has escaped him on the PGA Tour.
He was within four strokes heading into the final round of the RBC Heritage, a trend as of late for McNealy. The 26-year-old has experienced close calls at the Fortinet Championship, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Valero Texas Open. Striking the ball well in each instance, he is just a memorable putting performance away from a memorable result.
There is a chance it comes this week as Bramlett is a ball-striker extraordinaire. Falling short to his playing competitors on the greens, the 34-year-old’s off-the-tee prowess is the main reason for attraction in this spot. In an event that has so many unknowns, if Bramlett and McNealy can find their touch on the greens, they will have an opportunity for their first career PGA Tour victories at the Zurich Classic.
Golf is unique for many reasons, but one of them is the significant number of betting props available at weekly tournaments. The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is no different.
Sportsbooks are offering odds on things like whether there will be a hole-in-one, OVER/UNDERs on the winning score for the eventual champion and odds on which players from specific countries will have the lowest score, to name a few.
Like other sports, betting on props is a fun and unique way to enhance your golf gambling experience.
Live Betting is arguably one of the most exciting ways to bet on golf. If the team you placed a pre-tournament bet on is out of the running at any point during the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, you can bet on another team as the days go by and have another stake in the game.
If there are only a few men in the hunt on the final day, the odds likely won’t be significantly high, but your chances of winning are. We’ve seen this happen multiple times in the PGA Tour’s Return to Golf, as multiple tournaments have gone to a playoff.
These helpful pages will assist you in handicapping your golf wagers: