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Zurich Classic: Odds, Players to Watch and Course Overview

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 7 mins

Zurich Classic: Odds, Players to Watch and Course Overview

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Zurich Classic Picks

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay To Win Outright +400 (4/1)
Collin Morikawa and Max Homa Top 5 Finish +275 (7/4)
Sahith Theegala and Justin Suh Top 10 Finish +288 (15/8)

Everything is a little different in New Orleans, and that goes for the annual PGA Tour stop in the Big Easy as well. The Zurich Classic is the lone team event on the schedule, having switched to that format in 2017. The field consists of 80 teams who will compete in two days of best ball and two days of alternate shot, with the field cut to the top 33 pairings and ties for the weekend.

The intrigue of team play clearly helps overcome what is a relatively weak field in comparison to the past two weeks. Of the top 40 players in the world rankings, 12 are scheduled to compete in New Orleans, with eight of those comprising the best four teams in the field: defending champions Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, Max Homa and Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Billy Horschel, and Tom Kim and Si Woo Kim. Hilton Head winner Matt Fitzpatrick is in the event playing with his brother Alex, ranked No. 705 in the world.

Kurt Kitayama is paired with fellow UNLV grad Taylor Montgomery, who’s been off the radar since a fifth-place result at the AMEX. Sahith Theegala, who’s been top 10 in four of his last six starts, is paired with rookie Justin Suh, who finished T6 at The Players Championship. From those wagering on golf betting sites, there are a handful of legitimate options here—and then lots of chaff, like the pairing of John Daly and David Duval, which will attract plenty of eyeballs if nothing else.

Zurich Classic Odds

Zurich Classic Course Overview

Home to the Zurich Classic since 2005, TPC Louisiana is a par-72, 7,425-yard Pete Dye design that’s loaded with bunkers and water hazards. Stretching over 250 acres along the Mississippi River Delta, the course features stands of oak and cypress trees, over 100 bunkers, and five ponds. But don’t let the hazards fool you: TPC Louisiana is a place where top pros can go really low.

Cantlay and Schauffele won last year in a record 29-under par. In the best ball rounds especially, guys can shoot the lights out, as Cantlay and Schauffele did last year in carding a 59 and 60, respectively. The history of this team event suggests that top contenders separate themselves quickly on the opening Thursday, given the difficulty of playing catch-up through the more difficult alternate shot format. TPC Louisiana is regularly ranked as one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour relative to combined strokes under par, so look for lots of scoring opportunities this weekend.

The course itself is elegant and tree-lined, winding through wetlands outside New Orleans, and offering a few very short par-4s like the 399-yard opening hole and the 372-yard fifth. The signature hole is No. 18, a 585-yard par-5 with a pond in play down the entire right side and a green guarded on three sides by bunkers. Schauffele and Cantlay actually bogeyed this hole—one of just four for the tournament—in the final round last year after birdieing it in the two best ball rounds. 

Zurich Classic Previous Winners

2022: Xander Scauffele and Patrick Cantlay

2021: Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith

2019: Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer

2018: Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy

2017: Cameron Smith and Jones Blixt

2016: Brian Stuard

2015: Justin Rose

2014: Seung-Yul Noh

2013: Billy Horschel

2012: Jason Dufner

Zurich Classic Betting Angles

While the team format makes the Zurich Classic different from a handicapping standpoint, thankfully, the field is so top-heavy that the best wagering options are rather evident. Of the 80 teams in the field, just two of them carried opening odds in the triple digits: clear favorites Cantlay and Schauffele at +400 (4/1), and Morikawa and Homa at +850 (17/2). Meanwhile, there were 42 teams with five-digit odds, and two with six digits on golf betting apps. Hey, if you want to take a flier on Chad Collins and D.J. Trahan at +60000 (600/1), have at it.

Although Homa finished tied for 21st last year with Talor Gooch and Morikawa T29 with Viktor Hovland, the two Golden State natives are clearly looking for better things together. Opening at +1400 (14/1) on USA sports betting sites is the team of Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell, the former of which has recorded three straight top-16 finishes, the latter of whom has faded since his promising West Coast stretch. The pairing of Si Woo Kim and Tom Kim, which opened at +1600 (16/1), involves two players who showed real chops in big events—Si Woo in the Players, Tom in the Masters—but neither with a top 10 since January, and both are coming off a missed cut at Hilton Head.

The best betting sites have priced up the team of Billy Horschel and Sam Burns at +2000 (20/1) after finishing runner-up last year and placing fourth in 2021. Burns, a Louisiana native and former LSU player, has had a very good season, highlighted by a victory in the WGC Match Play. Horschel though has missed the cut in three of his last four tournaments and has carded only one round in the 60s since February.

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Zurich Classic Predictions

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay to Win, +400 (4/1)

Yes, it’s not fun picking the favorites on sports betting apps. But it’s really hard to bet against these guys, given how well they’ve been playing as of late. X-Man was T10 at the Masters and solo fourth at the RBC Heritage, while Cantlay placed T14 and solo third in the same two events. The fourth- and fifth-ranked players in the world as teammates? It almost seems unfair.

Collin Morikawa and Max Homa Top 5, +275 (7/4)

The two California Golden Bears will try to reproduce the form they showed earlier in the season when Morikawa finished top 10 in five of six starts, and Homa won at Torrey Pines and nearly did the same at the Genesis. Neither had a great week at Hilton Head (where Homa actually missed the cut), but Homa’s clutch putting and Morikawa’s excellent iron play make for a lethal combination on a vulnerable golf course.

Sahith Theegala and Justin Suh Top 10 +288, (15/8)

Theegala, a second-year tour pro, has been playing excellent golf throughout 2023, and on some tough layouts—T4 at Torrey Pines, T6 at Riviera, solo ninth at Augusta National and T5 last week at Harbour Town. His fellow Californian Suh has shown flashes with a T5 at The Honda Classic (where he opened with a 66) in addition to his strong showing at TPC Sawgrass.

How to Watch the Zurich Classic

Thursday and Friday, Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m. EDT; Saturday and Sunday, Golf Channel from 1-3 p.m. and CBS from 3-6 p.m.

About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.