The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is probably the strangest tournament of the year and perhaps the most difficult to bet on and predict. With a team event and alternating formats, it’s very difficult to know how players will feed off of each other and complement each other’s skillsets. We’ve seen some odd teams come out on top already along with others who have come close.
The 2019 team of Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer did present a sensical duo that makes sense when looking back on it. But Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy along with Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt were some surprises. Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown have also been very successful, showing that simply getting along and knowing each other’s games well can lead to success.
TPC Louisiana is yet another Pete Dye design on Tour that runs as a Par 72 at 7,425 yards. It plays as a pretty easy course overall with fairway, green and scrambling averages way higher than the average PGA Tour course. Hitting fairways isn’t important at all as long as you aren’t missing it in any of the many water hazards around the course. It’s also not a bomber’s course at all as is the case with most Dye courses. There are plenty of forced layups, and it comes down to irons and putting. The Par 5s will be the one spot distance can shine since you’ll need a lot of pop to get home in two on a few of them.
Instead of the typical statistical analysis and heavy course breakdown we’d usually do for a PGA Tour tournament, this week is mostly about finding value on the betting board and trying to see what teams could complement each other well. Staying away from the top of the board is my priority this week with how fluky and random team play can be. It’s better to take this week a little easier and try to hit on some teams that may be undervalued.
Zurich Classic best bets
Viktor Hovland and Kristoffer Ventura (+4500)
Hovland and Ventura form an Oklahoma State duo from their college days together and a very intriguing team based on their skillsets. Ventura has unfortunately struggled badly this year after showing some nice form at start of the season last Fall. His irons have been far too atrocious to make up for, but his driver and putter remain in the elite category on Tour. With Hovland being one of the most accurate drivers and best iron players in the world, I believe Ventura’s length and skill on the greens could make up for Hovland’s only weakness to form a fantastic team. This is the earliest price I like in the field and some real value for one of the world’s best players in Hovland.
Sungjae Im and Byeong Hun An (+4500)
There are a lot of similarities in this team and the team above. An has been in very poor form as of late after showing himself as one of the best ball strikers on Tour in recent years. He’s also extremely long off the tee, which should pair well with Im – who is a consistent driver of the ball. With Im, he’s been driving the ball exceptionally and putting as well as anyone … but the irons and short game has been inconsistent. Those are the two areas that An excels in even during his recent slump, and he should be able to help out his countryman in a great looking team at +4500.
Tom Lewis and Thomas Pieters (+5000)
We haven’t seen as much Pieters in the United States as we probably though we would a few years back when he was popping up in contention in multiple majors. Thankfully, he’s been slowly regaining a lot of that form and showing the potential so many saw in him. He’s a long driver who can get really hot with his irons and tear up a place like this. Lewis is also long off the tee himself and tends to catch fire with his putter at times instead of the irons. That should create some great vibes between the two Europeans. This price is far too high for the combined talent of this team since they aren’t as familiar to many.
Erik van Rooyen and Wyndham Clark (+9000)
This team could really go one of two ways. Both players are incredibly streaky and go on huge runs of birdies at times. Clark is known on Tour the last few years for being a great first-round leader bet or Showdown play in DFS because of ability to go low. He’s one of the longest off of the tee on Tour but blows up pretty commonly. van Rooyen is a talented player who can’t find consistency in the United States but has shown up in some huge tournaments already. These two could go nuclear in the four-ball format, but they’ll need to hold strong in foursomes play.
Vaughn Taylor and Rasmus Hojgaard (+17500)
If you want a huge longshot bet to follow, this has to be the one. Hojgaard is a 20-year-old with multiple wins on the European Tour already. This will be his first regular PGA Tour event and he’s coming off three Top 15s in Europe in his last five events. He’s a superb talent and one you’ll be seeing much more of in the coming years. This is an exciting spot for him to get more playing time in the United States, and he’ll be doing it with a very steady veteran with plenty of experience on the PGA Tour in Taylor. These two should mesh well on the course, and hopefully Taylor can showcase himself as a mentor in some ways that does the simple things all week and lets Hojgaard’s talent shine.