The PGA Tour Heads To TPC Louisiana For The Only Team Event Of The Year

Dick Durrance II. Getty Images.

Welcome to the Zurich Classic, where some of the PGA Tour's best are pairing up to take on TPC Louisiana in the only team event of the season. It's a bit of a weird one but it's refreshing. I wish the Tour would tinker with modified formats a bit more often. The European Tour seems to do it all the time. Hell, they've got one where there's a 36-hole cut, then a 54-hole cut, and then 6-hole match play in a 24-player bracket to determine a winner. They get weird with it and it's awesome. The PGA Tour should too (and they might based on some proposed changes to next year's schedule), but for now… this is about as weird as they get.

The format is this: 80 teams of two, stroke play. 36-hole cut of top 33 teams and ties. The 1st and 3rd rounds are best ball and the 2nd and 4th rounds are alternate shot. So coming down the stretch on Sunday, you're going to watch the drama of guys having to deal with the trouble their teammates put them in and the pressure of trying to avoid putting them in it in the first place. Fun stuff.

The Aussies Cam Smith and Marc Leishman beat out South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in a playoff featuring former President's Cup team members. It was Oosthuizen's wayward tee shot on the first playoff hole that allowed the Aussies to coast to a par on the first playoff hole and take the victory, which served as Cam's 2nd win here in the team format.

Last year's leaderboard and recent winners…

2021 Leaderboard

Recent Winners

The Course 

TPC Louisiana is a par 72 measuring by 7,425 yards. It's designed by Pete Dye… because of course it is. Everything on Tour was designed by Pete Dye. That means tons of bunkers (100 of them in fact), water lurking off the tee in a variety of spots, and of course… bulkheads. There's a good amount of target golf here once again, much like it was last week at Harbour Town. The one thing that sets this course apart from last week is that this course has some serious length to it. All of the par 3's measure over 200 yards and a handful of the par 4's push 500 yards. This place requires a balanced game to compete.

Oh and one more thing. There's hella gators out there. They're even in the @PGATour header:

The 3-legged gator known as "Tripod" is the star of the show and roams the 17th and 18th hole, so keep an eye out for him. 

Best Hole - 18th Hole, Par 5 585 yards 

Speaking of the 18th hole, we've got a doozy on our hands here. I'm always a fan of finishing par 5's. Great opportunity for dramatic leaderboard swings and keeps the drama alive for anybody within 2 shots of the lead on the last tee. You've got water all down the right side and bunkers on both sides of the landing zone off the tee. That long fairway bunker on the right is very typical Pete Dye. It's long enough to keep those who miss the fairway from likely getting home in 2, and short enough for each of these pros to likely give it a go if they do hit the short stuff. Great hole and that held true last year in deciding the winner.

The Weather 

Some dicey weekend weather. Wind gonna play a part too.

The Coverage

The Trophy 

Stacy Revere. Getty Images.

GREAT trophy. If you've ever been to Nawleans, you've seen that symbol everywhere. Hell we see it on the Saints helmet every Sunday. It's the Fleur-de-lis, French for "Flower of the Lily" (if you want to rabbithole that one, here you go). When I evaluate trophies here, there are a lot of points awarded for a trophy that captures the local flavor. This does that to a T. When you see that trophy in a trophy case, you know EXACTLY what tournament was won. The belts they added to give this a heavyweight tag team feel was just running up the score. I gotta give this an 8.4/10.

The Board

Team Cantlay/Schauffele is the co-favorite for the 2nd year in a row, this time joined with Hovland/Morikawa at +800 at the Barstool Sportsbook. Those are definitely the two teams that have a pair of heavyweights head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Ryan Palmer always finds himself a great partner, having played (and won) this event with Jon Rahm. This time he finds himself paired with fellow Texas native Scottie Scheffler. 

But my pick here is gonna be Sam Burns and Billy Ho at +1100. This is a course Horschel has mastered, having won here once when it was an individual event and another time with Scott Piercy as his partner, who wasn't even in the World Top 100 at the time. Nowadays he's paired with Sam Burns, a far superior player (11th in the world) and Louisiana native who knows this course well. That type of course knowledge holds even more weight in a team event because you can impart some of that knowledge onto your teammate, whether it be in best ball or alternate shot. They finished 4th here last year together and given Billy is playing more consistently good golf this year than last (hasn't missed a cut since last year's US Open), I like their chances to get the W this time around.

Other Plays

Burns/Horschel Top 5 +275 - History repeats.

Davis Riley/Will Zalatoris To Win +3000/Top 5 +550 - Riley damn near won Valspar a few weeks ago if it wasn't for Burns. Will Z is a stick. Love this price.

Scott Brown/Kevin Kisner To Win +8000/Top 10 +550 - I don't care how far Scott Brown has fallen off the map, I will take this pairing in this event until they give me a reason they shouldn't (ok fine, they missed the cut last year but they were always in the mix otherwise)

Harry Higgs/Austin Smotherman Top 20 +335 - I can't really claim to know who Smotherman is other than Higgs' SMU teammate but the Big Rig just feels like tremendous team play vibes and this pick is purely premised on that.

Finish In A Playoff +400 - Feels like it's always tight going down the stretch here. 5 of the last 10 (and 2 of 4 team versions) Zurich Classics have gone to a playoff.

That's it. Enjoy the Zurich Classic.