The second of the four-week swing between the Masters and the PGA Championship takes us to TPC Louisiana for the Zurich Classic. The event has been running for a long time, but this will be just the third year that the Pete Dye-designed track will be hosting a team format which combines two rounds of alternate shot with two rounds of best ball.
While the field is not loaded with top-heavy talent, it does include a bunch of big names. Here are five teams that deserve a close look this week:
Patrick Cantlay & Patrick Reed
All eyes will be on this marquee pairing, as Cantlay and Reed form the top-ranked team in New Orleans – the only pairing of top-20 ranked players.
Cantlay enters off a T9 at the Masters and T3 at Harbour Town, and other than a blip at the PLAYERS has been pretty much lights out all season (seven top 10s and three more top 20s in just 12 starts).
Reed, on the other hand, has been less impressive, yet always seems to play well in team events, especially alongside his good friend Cantlay.
In two starts here as a pairing, they own a T14 (2017) and T7 (2018).
Odds To Win: 12-1
World Ranking Total: 37 – Patrick Cantlay (18), Patrick Reed (19)
Jason Day & Adam Scott
The Australian duo won 2013 ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf and will comprise one of only three teams in the field with both players ranked in the world top 30. Day has not played well here in his two team event appearances (MC with Fowler in 2017, and T34 with Ryan Ruffels in 2018), but he enters in pretty good form (T5 Masters, T8 PLAYERS).
Scott, the 2013 Masters winner, will make his first appearance at the Zurich Classic. He also enters in pretty solid form, albeit with a shaky putter. In his last six starts he owns two top 10s and two more top 20s.
Odds To Win: 6-1
World Ranking Total: 42 – Jason Day (14), Adam Scott (28)
Kevin Kisner & Scott Brown
The South Carolina residents were defeated by Cameron Smith/Jonas Blixt in a Monday playoff at the 2017 Zurich Classic, and then claimed the 54-hole lead the following year (although, a final-round 5-over 77 sent them tumbling down to a T15 finish).
Kisner, ranked No. 25 in the world, seems to relish these odd ball formats. In fact, in 2017 and 2018 – in the only two non stroke play PGA Tour events (Dell Match Play and Zurich Classic), Kisner has finished 1st, 2nd, 2nd, and 15th.
World No. 223 Brown enters as a true hit or miss. In 16 starts this season, he’s missed the cut in half of them but also owns four top 20s, including a pair of top 10s. Brown is still in search of his second PGA Tour victory (2013 Puerto Rico Open).
Odds To Win: 33-1
World Ranking Total: 248 – Kevin Kisner (25), Scott Brown (223)
Bubba Watson & J.B. Holmes
Bubba and J.B., the former Ryder and Presidents Cup teammates, and best friends, will be paired together for the second time (T5 in 2017) at the Zurich Classic. The long bombers went 4-1-1 in four matches at the 2015 Presidents Cup in Korea.
Bubba, who won three times in 2018, is winless in 2019, but he’s been in solid form while holding down a world top-20 ranking. He’s posted five top 20s in his last eight starts, including a T12 at the Masters.
Holmes claimed his fifth career title at Genesis Open earlier this season, although he’s been a free-fall ever since, going MC, MC, T71, T62 in his last four stroke play events.
Odds To Win: 18-1
World Ranking Total: 64 – Bubba Watson (17), J.B. Holmes (47)
Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
The defending champions made a spectacular pairing last year, complimenting each other perfectly. And this season they enter in better form, especially Piercy, who has bounced back from a terrible two-year stretch.
The 40-year old Las Vegas native, who was ranked as high as No. 25 in 2016, had fallen all the way to No. 259 late last year. But he enters this edition ranked No. 85, and fresh off a T3 at Harbour Town – his fifth top 10 of the season.
Horschel, meanwhile, is the more accomplished and higher ranked player (No. 41), but after a strong finish to 2018 (fifth in the 2018 FedExCup standings), and solid start to 2019 (five top 25s in first nine starts), he’s been in something of a slump, recording three consecutive poor finishes (MC, T56, T45).
Odds To Win: 18-1
World Ranking Total: 126 – Billy Horschel (41), Scott Piercy (85)
Joel Cook contributed to this post.