The PGA Tour is in New Orleans this week for the Zurich Classic, a tournament that was not played in 2020 due to the pandemic. The fact that the event wasn’t played last year is one reason that it is a tough one to handicap; the other reason is that, since 2017, the Zurich is a team event with scoring involving both Four-ball (better ball of partners) and Foursomes (alternating drive, alternate shot). Putting it simply, it means you can’t just pick the best player in the field because if his partner is weak, the team will sink into the bayou.
This tournament brings a nice change of pace to both the viewing and betting experiencee, so let’s see where the value lies as we dive headfirst into our picks and predictions for the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana.
Zurich Classic Betting Odds
Let's take a look at the current Zurich Classic betting odds:
|Players||Odds to win|
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Zurich Classic Betting Picks
We are still in a lull in the PGA Tour schedule. The PGA Championship will not be played until late May. Until then, we have a series of events (Valspar, Wells Fargo, AT&T) that offer worthwhile purses but little real prestige. Still, there is a purse of $7.4 million at stake this week – not bad for a tournament that uses a one-off format in a city known more for lots of things other than golf.
Billy Horschel has apologized for a mini meltdown in the final round of the Masters. https://t.co/LyDV1JWmM1
— Golfweek (@golfweek) April 12, 2021
Value Pick: Sam Burns/Billy Horschel Top 10 (+225)
Billy Horschel is a character, and with all of the twitching and fussing he does on the golf course, he can be hard to watch (especially if you have action on him). That said, his recent results include a win at the WGC-Match Play in March and second alone at the WGC-Workday Championship in February. In just those two events, Horschel banked over $2.6 million.
Horschel’s partner, Sam Burns, hasn’t been as hot this season, but he did finish third alone at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in February, and last week he finished at the RBC Heritage with three straight rounds in the 60’s. Horschel won this event in 2018 with sub-immortal Scott Piercy as his partner and won it alone in 2013 before the format changed. Burns might not need to do all that much to claim a top-10 this week with Horschel as his partner.
— Harold Varner III (@HV3_Golf) April 15, 2021
Long Shot Prediction: Harold Varner III/Branden Grace Top 5 (+650)
HV III is coming into this event off tying for second at the Heritage last week. He has also missed just one cut in his past six events. Varner III has become a very consistent performer in the past six months on Tour. Since October 2020, he has finished inside the top 20 six times in fifteen starts.
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Branden Grace might best be remembered for one mistake he made at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, when he hit his tee shot out of bounds on the 16th hole, made double bogey and finished tied for fourth.
Since that time, Grace had a few struggles with his game, but he overcame some of those demons with his win at the Puerto Rico Open in February. At +650, you’re hoping that both of these players can play at the top of their talent at the same time. Their recent finishes would indicate that that is absolutely possible.
A career-low 62 for Cameron Smith.
— Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) April 15, 2021
Zurich Classic Pick: Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith (+1200)
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE! OY OY OY!
If anything, the odds on these two seem too light. Cameron Smith won this event with Jonas Blixt in a 2017 playoff over Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner for his first PGA Tour victory, so his vibe coming into this event will be very positive.
Smith is also on a modest hot streak. Since missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, his next five finishes were: fourth alone at Riviera, 11th at WGC-Workday, 17th at the Players Championship, 10th at the Masters, and ninth last week at the Heritage. That’s $1.35 million Smith has trousered in two months.
Marc Leishman is, to paraphrase Judge Smails, no slouch himself. Leishman finished fifth alone at the Masters two weeks ago and also went very low at the Sony Open in January, finishing fourth. It’s also worth noting that these two Australian professionals are close friends whose caddies even get along.
They’re also motivated to prove to 2022 Presidents Cup International Team captain Trevor Immelman that they can form a formidable pairing for that competition at Quail Hollow next year.
There would be no greater statement than winning this event this week.
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