After a close call with Collin Morikawa last week at the RBC Heritage, it's time to try and find a winner at the PGA TOUR's most unique tournament - the Zurich Classic.
The only team event on the calendar will feature 80 two-man teams. Rounds 1 and 3 will be played using a best-ball format (fourball) and Rounds 2 and 4 will be played using alternate shot (foursomes).
From a betting perspective, this is a week where you can throw most of your typical research methods out the window. Forget traditional strokes-gained stats or diving deep into a player's course history - this week will take some serious luck to pick a winner. However, that doesn't mean there isn't value available on the betting board.
2019: Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer (-26)
2018: Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy (-22)
2017: Cam Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27)
|Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer||+700|
|Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay||+700|
|Marc Leishman and Cam Smith||+1200|
|Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff||+1200|
|Scottie Scheffler and Bubba Watson||+1400|
|Tony Finau and Cameron Champ||+1600|
The teams of Jon Rahm-Ryan Palmer and Xander Schauffele-Patrick Cantlay are - unsurprisingly - the co-favorites. Rahm and Palmer are the defending champions while Cantlay and Schauffele have the best-combined world ranking in the field. But there's no way you can wager on either team at +700 in a team setting.
Venturing to the top of the betting board is a risky endeavor, but Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are the most appealing option of the favorites. The two Aussies are both playing well, have a similar style, and should have the team chemistry you'd want to see out of a winning pair. Additionally, Smith is a past champion and understands what it takes to get the job done in a team event.
|Billy Horschel and Sam Burns||+2200|
|Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett||+2200|
|Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk||+2400|
|Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel||+2600|
|Max Homa and Talor Gooch||+3200|
|Harold Varner III and Branden Grace||+3200|
|Jason Kokrak and Pat Perez||+3200|
|Sungjae Im and Byeong Hun An||+3800|
|Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele||+3800|
|Kevin Streelman and Dylan Frittelli||+3800|
|Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson||+3800|
Billy Horschel and Sam Burns will be a popular option this week because Horschel is a two-time winner at TPC Louisiana (once as an individual and once in a team) and Burns is an elite birdie-maker who went to school at LSU.
However, Max Homa and Talor Gooch may be the best value in this range at +3200. Gooch and Homa are great friends, which could be a factor this week, and are both playing well. Homa has a win this season and came 10th at Bay Hill three starts ago, while Gooch finished fifth two starts ago at The Players.
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson are also worth considering at +3800. They have plenty of experience playing in a team format through countless Ryder Cups. Plus, both Rose and Stenson showed signs of life at the Masters.
Given the nature of team golf and how tough it is to predict a team's performance over four days, it's easy to see a long-shot winner walk away with the trophy.
Here are a couple to consider:
Max Homa-Talor Gooch (+3200)
Is it strange to identify Homa and Gooch's friendship as a reason to target them with a wager? Absolutely. But a team event creates a strange and unpredictable week in golf betting, so these narratives may actually matter.
Homa and Gooch will feed off each other if they're playing well, and they can overcome adversity if they happen to face it, especially compared to other teams that barely know each other. Rebounding from a bad hole would seem tougher to do when you don't know your teammate's personality.
Additionally, both golfers are playing well and have very similar games. At their best, they're both very good tee to green and can get equally as hot with their putters. Similar styles are important because different types of golfers may wind up in some uncomfortable situations in an alternate-shot format.
Matt Wallace-Graeme McDowell (+6000)
This tandem of gritty Brits is worth a look at +6000. Matt Wallace is playing exceptionally well over his past three starts, finishing third at the Texas Open, 34th at the Masters, and 18th at the RBC Heritage. He gained 15.3 strokes tee to green in Texas and 6.1 tee to green at Harbour Town.
Partnering with the veteran McDowell may help Wallace capture his first PGA TOUR title. McDowell has tons of experience in team golf through his Ryder Cup and Zurich Classic appearances. With that said, McDowell is the weak link of this squad and will need to find the form he showed in Punta Cana at the end of March, where he finished fourth, if these two have any chance.