PGA Tour: Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Zurich Classic kicks off Thursday morning and Earl is back with some handicapping advice for the tournament.
Valero Texas Open Recap
Last week, Kevin Chappell won his first PGA Tour Event taking a 1 shot lead on the final hole to win the 2017 Valero Texas Open. This was the first win for Chappell, who was making his 180th attempt at a PGA Tour Event. The pro’s of the PGA now shift focus from Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana where they will partake in a new form for most golfers, team play, at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Zurich Classic of New Orleans
This year marks the 69th year of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The Zurich Classic is the 11th oldest tournament on the PGA Tour. For the first time in the history of the tournament, this year’s Zurich Classic will feature a new format of 2 man teams.
This year’s change of switching from regular single player stroke play to the new format of team play is the first since 1981 at the Walt Disney Classic. In Rounds 1 and 3, the will play an alternate shot and in Round 2 and 4, they will play the best ball. For those who aren’t familiar with this type of play, the Spooky Express has your breakdown of each style.
Alternate Shot or Foursomes
This will take place in the first round and the third round. The way it works is Player A will hit the ball off the tee. On the second shot, Player B will step in and hit shot #2. On the third shot, they will alternate so each player will take a turn in alternating sequence. Each Team must advise PGA officials prior to the start of the tournament, who will hit off the tee on odd and who will hit off the tee on even numbered holes.
Best Ball or Four-Ball
For Best Ball play, both golfers will sort of play the hole singularly, but only the lowest score gets marked on the scorecard. For example, if Jason Day and Rickie Fowler are on hole 18 and Day shoots a par and Fowler shoots a birdie for -1, the only thing that gets put on paper is Fowler’s -1.
There is a cut after 36 holes, which will be the low 35 teams and ties advance to play the weekend. If there are more than 40 teams with ties, there will be an additional MDF cut for this tournament.
Another aspect we should be aware of is this tournament will use sudden death playoff system in case of a tie after 72 holes. They will use the Best Ball format for the playoffs and it will start on hole 18.
TPC Louisiana Course Details
The Zurich Classic is played at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, Louisiana. Avondale, Louisiana is located in the suburbs, just south of New Orleans. The course itself was designed by Pete Dye, so that means accurate golfers do well here. This course is considered one of the easier courses on tour that the pros will play with the winner usually scoring between -15 to -20 under par.
TPC Louisiana is a 7,425 yard, par 72 course. The greens at TPC Louisiana aren’t particularly difficult and the rough is playable. TPC Louisiana is surrounded by the Louisiana Wetlands, cypress trees and oak trees. There are more than 100 bunkers on the course and five ponds for golfers to work around. There is a lot of water on this course which makes it very similar to some of the Florida courses. There are numerous large waste bunkers on the back nine.
Weather forecasters are predicting a beautiful week of golf for the Zurich Classic. On the days leading up to the event, there is absolutely no rain in the forecast with temperatures in the low to mid-80’s.
On Thursday, it looks like it will warm up a little with temperatures around 88 degrees and low winds.
On Friday, it is going to be cloudy with temperatures still around 88 degrees. The wind will pick up a little on the second day at around 17 MPH from the S-SE, peaking out around 25 MPH with gusts.
Saturday has a 40% chance of some thunderstorms with winds around 25 MPH. The temperature will remain around 86 degrees with high humidity.
More thunderstorms are expected on Sunday with winds remaining around 20-25 MPH. The temperature will drop to the low 80’s on Sunday with the humidity increasing to around 85%.
All in all, the weather doesn’t look to be too drastic and could make for some really good golf this week.
- Jason Day – Rickie Fowler
- Jason Dufner – Patton Kizzire
- Justin Rose – Henrik Stenson
- Jordan Spieth – Ryan Palmer
- Angel Cabrera – Julian Etulain
- Bubba Watson – J.B. Holmes
- Billy Horschel – Matt Every
- Russell Knox – Kevin Streelman
- Hideki Matsuyama – Hideto Tanihara
- Patrick Reed – Patrick Cantlay
- David Lingmerth – Danny Lee
- William McGirt – Robert Garrigus
- Daniel Berger – Thomas Pieters
- Steven Bowditch – Boo Weekley
- Keegan Bradley – Brendan Steele
- Wesley Bryan – Ryan Blaum
- Alex Cejka – Soren Kjeldsen
- Tony Finau – Daniel Summerhays
- Fabian Gomez – Jhonattan Vegas
- Branden Grace – Louis Oosthuizen
- Cody Gribble – Jim Herman
- Russell Henley – Blayne Barber
- J.J. Henry – Tom Hoge
- Tyrrell Hatton* – Jamie Donaldson
- Trey Mullinax* – Bobby Wyatt
- Charley Hoffman – Nick Watney
- Mackenzie Hughes – Nick Taylor
- Smylie Kaufman – Harold Varner III
- Si Woo Kim – Sung Kang
- Chris Kirk – Brendon Todd
- Kevin Kisner – Scott Brown
- Brooks Koepka – Chase Koepka
- Peter Malnati – Mark Wilson
- Ben Martin – Ben Crane
- Troy Merritt – Robert Streb
- Rod Pampling – John Senden
- Steve Stricker – Jerry Kelly
- Brian Stuard – Chris Stroud
- Hudson Swafford – Harris English
- Vaughn Taylor – Andres Gonzales
- Justin Thomas – Bud Cauley
- Geoff Ogilvy – Ian Poulter
- Carl Pettersson – Jason Bohn
- Kyle Ramey – Phil Schmitt
- Seung-Yul Noh – Byeong Hun An
- Kevin Chappell – Gary Woodland
- Roberto Castro – Scott Stallings
- Jamie Lovemark – Luke Donald
- Brian Harman – Johnson Wagner
- David Hearn – Graham DeLaet
- Kyle Reifers – Andrew Johnston
- Ricky Barnes – Matt Jones
- Patrick Rodgers – Cameron Tringale
- Chez Reavie – Lucas Glover
- Freddie Jacobson – Willy Wilcox
- K.J. Choi – Charlie Wi
- Spencer Levin – Rocco Mediate
- Tyrone Van Aswegen – Retief Goosen
- Derek Fathauer – Sam Saunders
- Jonas Blixt – Cameron Smith
- Zac Blair – C.T. Pan
- Andrew Loupe – John Peterson
- Mark Hubbard – Jonathan Randolph
- Kyle Stanley – Ryan Ruffels
- Michael Kim – Brandon Hagy
- Shawn Stefani – John Rollins
- Ken Duke – Chad Collins
- Steve Marino – Will MacKenzie
- Morgan Hoffmann – Camilo Villegas
- Grayson Murray – Cameron Percy
- Kelly Kraft – Kevin Tway
- Ollie Schniederjans – Richy Werenski
- J.J. Spaun – Ryan Brehm
- Dominic Bozzelli – J.T. Poston
- Michael Thompson – Tim Wilkinson
- Whee Kim – Greg Owen
- Bryson DeChambeau – Rory Sabbatini
- Martin Flores – Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
- Seamus Power – Steven Alker
This week is very unique and I truly don’t like the odds and financial outlook of this tournament. I am not going to go crazy this week as I just don’t like some of the plays for various reasons. I would rather play 2 head to heads this week and skip over the flat plays with the exception of one play.
My only play that I am going to play this week is Hideki Matsuyama and Hideto Tanihara at 26/1. These two have played in 17 tournaments between them and have only missed the cut 2 times. They are both in very good form and both are coming into this tournament rested after taking last week off. I think they will both play well and compliment each other very nicely. They will be the ONLY team I am playing this week.
Head To Head Plays
Last week, we won our newsletter only PGA pick and we are going to take another shot at it this week with another newsletter only PGA pick. Below is our head to head matchup and we also have one that is only available in the Spooky Express Newsletter. If you aren’t receiving the newsletter, make sure you sign up for the daily email NOW!
Matsuyama/Tanihara over Watson/Holmes at -110 2.5 Units