Zurich Classic odds, preview, and course notes
Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer will look to defend their 2019 title when the two pair up again for this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s competition, the 83-year-old tournament will return to Avondale, Louisiana for the PGA Tour’s only official team event of the season.
Rahm and Palmer share +650 odds with the pairing of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele as the co-favorites to win the tournament. The Aussie team of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith own the next-best odds at +1100.
2021 Zurich Classic odds
Smith won this event with Jonas Blixt back in 2017, the first year the Zurich Classic adopted the team format.
In this year’s tournament, 80 two-man teams will tee off on Thursday, and 33 (plus ties) will make the cut after Friday.
Zurich Classic layout and relevant statistics
Players will take on the par-72, 7,425-yard TPC Louisiana layout, designed by Pete Dye. With a handful of short par 4s (four under 400 yards) and four reachable par 5s, scoring opportunities abound on this course, where driving accuracy, greens in regulation percentage, and putting stats tend to rank higher than the Tour average.
Since 2017, the winning score has averaged 25-under par.
With the team format, the first and third rounds will be played as best ball (or fourball), and the second and final rounds will use alternate shot (or foursomes) rules.
Strokes gained off the tee, strokes gained approaching the green, birdie or better percentage, and strokes gained putting on Bermuda grass greens are key statistics to consider when narrowing down your bets.
Best bets for Zurich Classic
While Schauffele is in excellent form at the moment and just landed a top-three finish at the Masters, his playing partner has endured surprising struggles lately.
Cantlay has missed the cut in three straight Tour appearances, including at Augusta, the RBC Heritage, and The Players Championship, another Pete Dye design.
To find better value farther down the odds board, look to the young combo of Max Homa and Talor Gooch (+2500), two friends who will bring excellent chemistry to the mix.
I’m rooting for Talor Gooch because he’s one of my best friends. I’m also rooting for him because he has a last name that makes me feel less insecure about my own— max homa (@maxhoma23) January 20, 2019
Gooch landed fifth at The Players and finished 12th earlier this year at the Genesis Invitational, a tournament Homa won via playoff.
Both players rank in the top 60 on Tour in strokes gained approaching the green and birdie or better percentage, and are around 80th on Tour in strokes gained off the tee.
Cameron Tringale and Roberto Castro (+5000) are a longer-shot pairing who could make a run, as well.
Before the Zurich Classic became a team event in 2017, Tringale finished one stroke behind 2015 winner Justin Rose, who shot 22-under for the tournament.
This weekend, Tringale will work with his former Georgia Tech teammate Castro, whose most recent appearance on Tour was a top 20 at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in March.
The duo also finished tied for fifth in their most recent appearance together at the Zurich Classic.
How to watch the Zurich Classic
The winners of the Zurich Classic will each collect $1.069 million of the $7.4 million purse and 400 FedEx Cup points.
You can catch the action Thursday and Friday from 3:30-6:30 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday from 1-3 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel. CBS will provide live coverage from 3-6 p.m. ET over the weekend.