Predicting a pre-tournament winner in golf isn’t easy. However the job is done and sports bettors can find fantastic value. This week it’s the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans dates all the way back to 1938 and it’s been an annual PGA Tour stop since 1958.
The likes of Byron Nelson, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Seve, to name but five former champions, have all won the title so it has plenty of history but after a number of years in which the strength of the fields have been waning, there’s a dramatic change to the format this year as the event goes from being an ordinary stroke play tournament to a team event, and it seems to have done the trick.
There were just 23 of the world’s top-100 in the line-up 12 months ago – this year there are 24 players from the top-50!
The new 72-hole stroke play format will feature Foursomes during the first and third rounds and Four-Ball (best ball) during the second and fourth rounds. The starting field will consist of 80 teams (160 players). Each of the top available players from the PGA Tour Priority Rankings who commits to the tournament will choose his partner, who in turn must have PGA Tour status unless he is chosen as a tournament sponsor exemption.
Following the conclusion of the second round, there will be a cut to the low 35 teams and ties at the 35th position. In case of a tie after 72 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff using the Four-Ball format. Find fantastic value with these lines:
BRANDEN GRACE & LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (+1400)
This is the South African dream team. Grace and Oosthuizen won four matches out of four together at the 2015 Presidents Cup in South Korea and took down some big names along the way (Patrick Reed & Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson & Jordan Spieth, Reed & Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson & J.B. Holmes).
The duo are good friends who clearly have established themselves as a force in the stroke-play format. The last time two times Oosthuizen had Grace as a playing partner he shot 84 at Alfred Dunhill Links and 64 at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
JUSTIN THOMAS & BUD CAULEY (+1800)
With three wins on the year, Thomas is clearly the bigger star of this pairing but both he and Cauley are set up to have a big weekend. Thomas collected a T-12 in his only start at the Zurich Classic and is coming off a strong weekend at the Masters where he finished T-22.
Thomas has chosen his good friend and fellow Alabama alum Cauley to join him. Cauley is coming off back-to-back top 10s at the RBC Heritage and Texas Open, and he was also T-11 at the Zurich Classic in his last visit there in 2014. Sign up now at Heritagesports