golf

Zurich Classic Preview and Prediction

Zurich Classic 

TPC Louisiana 

Past Champion: Brian Stuard

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We’ve got team golf ladies and gentlemen! For the first time since 1981, there is a team event on the PGA Tour this week at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. I love the inclusion of a team event mixed into the Tour schedule, as I am sure both players and fans are as well. Good on the Zurich Classic Committee to be the first tournament to change up its format, and the difference in field is undeniable. With 17 of the top 30 in Fed Ex Cup points in the field this week, there are a few powerhouse duos that stick out.

Featured Teams

Rickie Fowler/Jason Day

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With two Top 10 players in the World, and the odds on favorite (+600), the pairing of Fowler and Day will sure to be a fan favorite this week. Not only can both crush it off the tee, but when on, their short games can be deadly. If both are firing on all cylinders this week, this will be a SCARY team.

Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer 

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Couple Texans, and frequent Tuesday afternoon practice round partners, the pairing of Spieth and Palmer is not random. While friends, the reason behind the pairing this week goes back to when Palmers caddie, James Edmondson, bet Spieth that he would beat him during a friendly round last November. Can you guess who won that bet?

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson

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This Ryder Cup duo has the experience and trust in each others games to dominate this week. As an American it will be fun to finally watch and root for this team of Rose (2015 Zurich Classic Champion) and Stenson, instead of wanting them to lose like in Ryder Cups past.

Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace

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Can the South African continue their team dominance following the 2015 Presidents Cup where they were 4-0 as a team. This should be a good preview of what to expect in this years Presidents Cup that will take place at Liberty National.

Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay

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Patrick Reed in a team event? Sign me up! Reed during these team events is a different animal (See Below) and I LOVE his fire. However, this is a team event and I think Cantlay is good fit to level Reeds emotions out.

Format

First and Third Rounds: Alternate Shot 

Alternate Shot- Players on a team rotate tee shots, meaning one player will tee off on all odd holes, and the other all even holes. From there the player who did not tee off is responsible for hitting the next shot, and that rotation continues until the ball is holed. For example, if Player A tees off, Player B hits the second shot, Player A hits the third shot, and so on until the hole is over.

Second and Final Rounds: Four-Ball

Four Ball- Each player is responsible for their own ball and are playing normal stroke play, with the only caveat being the lowest score for each team on the hole is the only score recorded. For example, if Player A pars the first hole and Player B birdies the hole, Player Bs score will be recorded and they will go to the second hole at 1-under.

2017 Zurich Classic Prediction

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Daniel Berger and Thomas Pieters (+1400)

While both are sure to be Ryder Cuppers of the future, Pieters proved himself in last years Ryder Cup going 4-1. While Pieters was able to showcase his team skills at the Ryder Cup, Berger was able to showcase his ability to win tournaments last year winning the FedEx St.Jude Classic. Other than both being some of the longest hitters on Tour, these two also play the same ball, which to an average golfer may not seem to be a big deal, but to PGA Tour players their ball is everything. This is just one less thing this team has to worry about and plan for heading into the week.

To be honest, with this being the first team event in the last 35 years, picking a team to win is tough, but after seeing Pieters Instagram story earlier this week, I knew this was going to be my team #NoLayingUp

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Darkhorse Team of the Week

Tyrrell Hatton/Jamie Donaldson (+6600) both being potential Ryder Cup participants in the future, and a win here this week can possibly propel them both into the conversation for the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Enjoy this new format as it should make for an exciting weekend of golf, with a twist! Also, look out for Tripod, the infamous 3-legged alligator, that has made a name for himself at the Zurich Classic.

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