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Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview

The PGA TOUR heads to the New Orleans space this week for the Zurich Classic.

This occasion has been operating since 1938 however will probably be the fourth version since switching to a team-based format.

There are 80 groups of two in play this week. They will play Four-ball (finest ball) throughout spherical one and spherical three whereas rounds two and 4 will use the Foursomes (alternate shot) format. The high 35 groups (and ties) after 36 holes will make it by way of the minimize line. From a proportion standpoint, that makes it one of the hardest cuts to crack all 12 months (roughly simply 45% of golfers will play all 4 rounds).

The Course

TPC Louisiana returns to host one other version of the Zurich Classic. It has performed host right here since 2005 (barring exceptions resulting from Hurricane Katrina and COVID-19). It’s a par-72 Pete Dye design that stretches out to 7,425 yards on the match scorecard.

Historically, the sphere has averaged lower than 280 yards off the tee on greater than a 3rd of the holes right here, so driver just isn’t all the time the reply. You may think about it a less-than-driver course though large hitters do nonetheless get an edge as they’ll feast on the par 5s and likewise assault the quick, par-4 eighth.

Past champs on the course embrace quick titties like Brian Stuard, Jason Dufner, Jerry Kelly, and Jason Bohn but in addition on that listing are some guys that may rip it off the tee like Bubba Watson, Seung-Yul Noh, Andres Romero, and Justin Rose. Basically, distance is good to have this week nevertheless it’s actually not a requirement.

For hazards, golfers will see greater than 100 bunkers littered throughout the property, they usually acquired a facelift because the final version in 2019, returning them to their unique measurement. Golfers can even see 5 water hazards that come into play on eight holes.

For grasses, we now have an analogous look as final week at Harbour Town Golf Links. It is TifEagle Bermuda on the greens this week with some overseed poa trivialis and velvet bentgrass. The greens had been reseeded after the 2019 version so they could play agency as they’ve solely had two years to mature. The fairways and tough are bermudagrass, as properly. Comfort on bermuda needs to be thought-about as a pleasant tiebreaker this week.

Course Quotes

Sifting by way of some previous quotes, let’s attempt to break down the course to see the way it will play.

Hudson Swafford: “Pete Dye courses, they’re visually very intimidating and very tough. You know, I feel like you kind of have to take the trouble off the tee. If it’s water, you might want to shy a little away from it. But fairway bunkers, stuff like that, holes like number 12, you’ve got to press that left fairway bunker to have a good shot into the green.”

Daniel Berger: “I think the fact that it kind of reminds me of a Florida-style golf course, so I’m used to kind of seeing water on one side of the hole. You’ve just got to pick your targets and get good shots.”

Sergio Garcia: “the greens were really, really fast. They were very firm. They were difficult to handle. It was difficult to be aggressive with your putting because every time you hit a little bit of an aggressive putt, you hit it six feet by, and you don’t want to leave your partner six-footers over and over.”

Billy Horschel: “With his [Pete Dye] designs, it’s a visual intimidation that he does off the tees and into greens and everything. And then when you get out there, you realize, man, there’s a lot more room or there’s a lot more green to hit to. I think it’s a mind game he plays with you.”

Peter Malnati: “this course tends to favor guys that can hit it a little farther, I think, because it’s fairly wide and there are some long holes.”

Golfers speak quite a bit about how difficult the course can play, identical to most Pete Dye designs. As Garcia famous, the greens can get actually quick right here at instances.

Correlated Courses

Looking at grass sorts, geography, course attributes, and previous efficiency, listed here are a number of programs/occasions that I feel may show to be a great pointer this week:

Harbour Town Golf Links
Sea Island Resort
TPC Sawgrass
TPC Scottsdale
TPC San Antonio
Torrey Pines

Looking on the efficiency at different TPCs is often a great pointer as they share quite a bit of the identical agronomy practices. The Superintendent at TPC Louisiana was beforehand at Scottsdale and San Antonio, in order that overlap checks out. Where does Torrey Pines come into play? Perhaps it is the power to play from the tough with out an excessive amount of penalty, or possibly it is the quick greens. There does appear to be quite a bit of overlapping success on the 2 programs although.

The Weather

Thursday: Sunny with a excessive of 69 levels. Winds at 10 to fifteen MPH.

Friday: Light rain with a excessive of 72 levels. Winds at 12 to 18 MPH.

It would not be a real Zurich Classic with out the risk of storms. Saturday brings the biggest risk with storms doable within the late morning or early afternoon. Overall, this seems like a reasonably clear forecast, by this occasion’s requirements.

Teams to Watch

Kevin Kisner & Scott Brown
You cannot speak crew golf with out mentioning Kisner and Brown. This duo is thought for taking folks’s cash in pre-tourney apply rounds. The success has translated to this occasion with a runner-up end, T15, and T5 in three appearances. If you are investing on this crew you’re banking extra on crew chemistry and occasion historical past reasonably than lead-up type as they are going to rank round center of the pack when you lean solely on stats.

Xander Schauffele & Patrick Cantlay
On the flip facet, you’ve gotten Schauffele and Cantlay who most likely are the highest crew from a uncooked stats point-of-view. However, that is their first time teaming up collectively on the Zurich. Schauffele’s lone look was a T11 in 2017 when paired alongside Tag Ridings. Cantlay has a pair of high 15s in three tries, whereas enjoying alongside Patrick Reed.

Jon Rahm & Ryan Palmer
Perhaps discovering the right stability, this duo brings a robust resume in phrases of lead-up type in addition to crew chemistry. They are enjoying the function of defending champs this 12 months as they gained the 2019 version and final 12 months’s occasion wasn’t performed resulting from COVID-19. Rahm is at present twelfth within the FedExCup race whereas Palmer is thirty seventh so each are having stable seasons.

Billy Horschel & Sam Burns
This occasion is all the time going to be particular for Horschel as a result of it is the location of his first PGA TOUR title (2013). That was a person win however he additionally joined forces with Scott Piercy in 2018 to hoist the {hardware} once more. As for Burns, he is a Louisiana native and LSU alum. He needs to be comfy with the turf and the local weather. He remains to be trying to find his first win.

Viktor Hovland & Kristoffer Ventura
This Oklahoma State duo brings quite a bit of upside to the desk. Hovland is one of the very best ball-strikers on TOUR and Ventura gained twice on the Korn Ferry Tour on his approach as much as the large leagues. The downside? Ventura ranked 193rd around-the-green final 12 months and Hovland was 168th. To be truthful, Hovland has improved on this space however they could discover bother within the short-game division if the course is enjoying robust. A great boom-or-bust squad to maintain your eye on.

Ranking the Field

1. Jon Rahm & Ryan Palmer
2. Xander Schauffele & Patrick Cantlay
3. Scottie Scheffler & Bubba Watson
4. Cameron Smith & Marc Leishman
5. Tyrrell Hatton & Danny Willett
6. Billy Horschel & Sam Burns
7. Max Homa & Talor Gooch
8. Chris Kirk & Brendon Todd
9. Tony Finau & Cameron Champ
10. Lanto Griffin & Joel Dahmen
11. Kevin Streelman & Dylan Frittelli
12. Collin Morikawa & Matthew Wolff
13. Keegan Bradley & Brendan Steele
14. Harold Varner III & Branden Grace
15. Doug Ghim & Justin Suh
16. Sungjae Im & Byeong Hun An
17. Matthew NeSmith & Chase Seiffert
18. Kevin Kisner & Scott Brown
19. Will Gordon & Michael Thompson
20. Viktor Hovland & Kristoffer Ventura

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