The PGA Tour returns to The Big Easy for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Last year, which was the event’s first year as a team event, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt edged out Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner in a playoff. This year, the Blixt/Smith duo will defend their title against a slew of tough teams, including Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello,Gold and Silver Olympians Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, and the Patricks: Masters Champ Patrick Reed and this season’s Shriner’s Open Champ Patrick Cantlay. The format is the same as last year’s, with each team playing best-ball for the first and third rounds, and alternate-shot for the second and final rounds.
TPC Louisiana has hosted the event for every year except one (2006) since 2005. The New Orleans tournament has been played since 1938, and after a nine-year absence from 1949-1957, has been active for every year since. The change in format, especially with two rounds of best-ball, should produce extremely low scores.
Teams to Watch
Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer: Jordan is making his first start since his magical final round at the Masters, and he should carry that momentum into this even. Ryan Palmer is a three-time winner on Tour, and having a decent season. The combination of Spieth’s recent putting and Palmer’s ball-striking will make them a tough team.
Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson: Rose won this event in 2015, when it was still an individual stroke-play tournament. He’ll join Ryder Cup teammate Henrik Stenson, who has four top-10 finishes this season. Both formidable ball-strikers, look for them to be near the leaderboard come Sunday.