The PGA Tour offers up something a little different this week with one of the few team events on the golfing calendar. The Zurich Classic originally began as a conventional, individual tournament in 1938 and it remained that way for 88 years.
In 2017, the competition was changed to involve 80 teams of two players. Over four days, there will be alternate fourball and foursome play and it is a battle against the course, rather than a regular match play knockout event.
Having missed out in 2020, the tournament returns to TPC Louisiana this 2021 season so let’s head down to New Orleans to see if we can pick out some winners with our Zurich Classic predictions and betting picks.
The defending champions are among two sets of joint favorites in the outright betting odds markets with Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer available at odds of 15/2 (+750). Rahm and Palmer claimed the title in 2019 with a three-shot victory over the European pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia.
Both men are in good form and it is interesting to note that they met in the WGC Matchplay three weeks ago and it needed a playoff to separate them.
Also available at that same figure of 15/2 in places are Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay. We are used to seeing Cantlay here but he’s usually paired with Patrick Reed so this is new ground for him. Schauffele brings the form to this team and they are worth a watch over four days.
Heading up the chasers ahead of Thursday’s first tee time are the Australian team of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith who are available at an industry best of 12/1. Smith won the opening edition here along with Jonas Blixt and this could be a productive rehearsal for the Presidents’ Cup later in the year.
Slightly further back at 14/1 are Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler while Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff can also be found at that 14/1 figure in most places. Watson won the Zurich Classic in its previous format back in 2011 and he has returned solid team results since the changes in 2017.
This preview is interested in the Morikawa / Wolff pairing even though they are some way down the Power Rankings. They are both making their debut in this event and have relatively little experience in team competition but they have certainly got the quality to prevail.
Moving through the chasing pack, Tony Finau and Cameron Champ are listed at a best of 16/1 while Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk are out at 20/1. The English pair of Danny Willett and Tyrrell Hatton are available at 25/1 while there will be interest in Billy Horschel and Sam Burns at that same figure of 25/1.
Horschel won this event with Scott Piercy in 2018 and he is also the reigning champion in the WGC Matchplay. Team golf and match play golf are something of a specialty and he has a strong partner in the emerging Sam Burns.
The outright winners betting odds are lower than usual so it may be tough to find any long odds value. The very nature of team golf means that bad shots can go unpunished as long as your partner is in a solid position.
There are, however, some interesting pairs to consider in the outside bunch at the prices including Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson who are listed at 33/1. Both men are former major winners and hinted at a return to form at the Masters.
Chez Reavie and Lucas Glover may also be worth a look at their best odds of 45/1. In 2018, the pair led the Zurich Classic after the first day following a stunning best ball round of 60.
Our Betting Preview’s Zurich Classic Predictions & Picks with Course Trends
TPC Louisiana has been home to the Zurich Classic on a continuous basis since 2007. Based in Avondale, it’s a par 72 with good length at 7,425 yards. Power can be important but Greens in Regulation may be the vital stat this week. Those with a good short game have generally prevailed at this venue – both in the individual and team competitions.
There have been three years of the Zurich Classic as a team event and, to date, no individual has featured in a winning duo twice. Billy Horschel, who claimed victory along with Scott Piercy in 2018, had won the event as an individual five years earlier.
Horschel and Piercy, join Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer plus Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith as the only pairs to have won this tournament since it transformed into a team competition.
Those previous winners have a chance in 2021 but our preference for our Zurich Classic predictions is for the pairing of Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff. They are inexperienced in this type of competition but they have the quality to prevail and, because they are debutants, they also have a tasty price.
Wolff needs a lift in form and cannot be carried by his partner but this is a perfect event in which to rediscover that touch. Because of the nature of the competition and the fact that we have a small field of 80 teams, there won’t be any top 10 finish options this week so we’ll settle on our bet for outright winner only, before returning to conventional tournament play in seven days time. This is the betting pick for this Zurich Classic golf preview:
- The pairing of Collin Morikawa & Matthew Wolff to win @ best odds of +1600 (16/1) with BetOnline.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.