The PGA Tour tees off in New Orleans this week for the sixth edition of the Zurich Classic, the only team event on the tour’s regular season schedule.
The field at TPC Louisiana includes 160 players comprised of 80 two-man teams, headlined by the top-ranked duo of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who will look to defend their 2022 title.
As we do each week, what follows is a roundup of information and historical data to get you prepped for what should be an exciting week of golf in New Orleans.
2023 Zurich Classic Primer
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Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Dates: April 20-23, 2023
Where: Avondale, LA
Course: TPC Louisiana
Distance: Par 72, 7425 yards
Architect: Pete Dye
Format: Best-ball (Th, Sa), Alt-shot (Fr, Su)
Field: 160 players, 80 teams
Win Share: $1,242,700 (each)
FedEx Pts (Win): 400 (each)
Defending Champions: Cantlay/Schauffele
Other Marquee Teams: Collin Morikawa & Max Homa, Si Woo Kim & Tom Kim, Sam Burns & Billy Horschel, John Daly & David Duval
How to Follow the Zurich Classic
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Zurich Classic History
While this will only be the sixth edition as a team format event, the Zurich Classic has been around for a very long time, with roots going all the way back to 1938. That first tournament was called the “Crescent City Open,” with Harry Cooper cashing a winner’s check worth $1,200. It was the 30th victory of his 31-win Hall of Fame career.
Other legendary Zurich champions include Jimmy Demaret (1940), Byron Nelson (1945-46), Billy Casper (1958, 1975), Gary Player (1972), Jack Nicklaus (1973), Lee Trevino (1974), Tom Watson (1980-81), Seve Ballesteros (1985), Ben Crenshaw (1987, 1994) and Vijay Singh (2004).
Despite over 70 editions of the tournament (there were no tournaments from 1949-1957), no player has been able to win the title more than twice, with nine players currently owning two victories.
Carlos Franco (1999 and 2000) was the last golfer to snag the title two times. He was also the fourth player in tournament history go back-to-back in the Big Easy, joining the aforementioned Nelson (1945-46) and Watson (1980-81), alongside Bo Wininger (1962-63).
Billy Horschel is the only two-time champion who won individual stroke-play era (2013) and as part of a team (2018), while Cam Smith is the only two-time winner during the team format era (2017 and 2021).
The event has always been held in the New Orleans area, with TPC Louisiana – a design of the legendary architect Pete Dye, first hosting in 2005. It has been the host course since 2007, and has been prone to surrendering some very low scores.
The last five 72-hole Zurich champions (weather shortened it to 54 holes in 2016) have finished 19-under par or better.
In late 2016, fresh off the exciting 2016 Ryder Cup matches, the tournament received approval from the Tour to change to a team format event, and debuted in 2017 with eighty teams of two players: one member of each team is initially chosen via the Tour priority rankings, and his partner must be either a PGA Tour member or earn entry through a sponsor exemption.
History: Tournament Names
- Zurich Classic of New Orleans (2005-23)
- HP Classic of New Orleans (2003-04)
- Compaq Classic of New Orleans (1999-02)
- Freeport-McDermott Classic (1996-98)
- Freeport-McMoran Classic (1994-95)
- Freeport-McMoran Golf Classic (1992-93)
- USF&G Classic (1982-1991)
- USF&G New Orleans Open (1981)
- Greater New Orleans Open (1980)
- First NBC New Orleans Open (1975-1979)
- Greater New Orleans Invitational (1972-74)
- Greater New Orleans Open Invitational (1958-78)
- New Orleans Open (1939-1948)
- Crescent City Open (1938)
History: Recent Winners
2021: P. Cantlay/X. Schauffele (-29)
2021: Cam Smith/Marc Leishman (-20)
2019: Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer (-22)
2018: Billy Horschel/Scott Piercy (-22)
2017: Cam Smith/Jonas Blixt (-27)
2016: Brian Stuard (-15)
2015: Justin Rose (-22)
2016: Seung-yul Noh (-19)
2015: Billy Horschel (-20)
History: Tournament Records
262 (-26) Chip Beck (1988)
261 (-29) P. Cantlay/X. Schauffele (2022)
2 – Henry Picard (1939, 1941), Byron Nelson (1945-46), Bo Wininger (1962-63), Frank Beard (1966, 1971), Billy Casper (1958, 1975), Tom Watson (1980-81), Chip Beck (1988, 1992), Ben Crenshaw (1987, 1994), Carlos Franco (1999-00), Billy Horschel (2013, 2018), Cam Smith (2017, 2021)
The Field at the 2022 Zurich Classic
Team play is notoriously hard to predict, as evidenced by the five sets of winners here. Last season’s champs, Patrick Cantlay (No.4) and Xander Schauffele (No.5), return to defend. The top-ranked duo are the highest-credentialed team in the field.
World No. 13 Collin Morikawa and No. 7 Max Homa are the only other team with a pair of top-15 ranked players.
Another top-ranked duo includes No. 12 Sam Burns and two-time Zurich winner Billy Horschel (27).
Finally, three more groups to keep an eye on, all ranked inside the top 50: South Koreans Tom Kim (19) and Si Woo Kim (40); and Sungjae Im (17) and Keith Mitchell (50); and Tom Hoge (28) and Harris English (45).
Odds To Win the 2022 Zurich Classic
At +300, top-ranked stars Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are heavy favorites, with Collin Morikawa and Max Homa offered next at +800.
The team of Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell followed at +1200 with Si Woo Kim and Tom Kim rounding out the top-5 betting favorites, alongside Sam Burns and Billy Horschel, at +1400.
Top-5 Betting Favorites
1. Schauffele/Cantlay (+300)
2. Homa/Morikawa (+800)
3. Im/Mitchell (+1200)
4. T Kim/SW Kim (+1400)
4. Burns/Horschel (+1400)
Full Field & Odds
Zurich Classic | TPC Louisiana | New Orleans, LA | April 20-23, 2023
Joel Cook and Carey Hoffman contributed to this report.
Credits: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images