The PGA Tour heads to Avondale, Louisiana this week for the Zurich Classic, a team stroke play event featuring 80 duos with alternating formats over the week. In an update that has only seen two editions, the first and third rounds play as a fourball and the second and fourth rounds as alternate shot. Fourball rounds consist of both golfers on each team playing their own ball through an entire hole and the team’s score being the better of the two. Alternate shot is just that — teams play one ball each hole and take turns, with the two rotating tee shots from hole to hole.
There will be a cut this week, with the top 35 teams advancing to the weekend. The field features stars such as Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, and Collin Morikawa and some names way down the world ranking list, the most egregious of which belong to the Woody Austin and Rocco Mediate pairing.
TPC Louisiana is the course, a 7,425-yard par 72 just a few miles outside New Orleans. We get back to back Pete Dye designs, as the architect of last week’s Harbour Town GL is also responsible for TPC Louisiana.
Betting markets are pretty straightforward this week and we can expect some pretty short odds at the top of the market given the disparity in some teams. DFS contests are also offered across the industry, with additional scoring and rostership considerations. DraftKings points are awarded equally to both golfers on each team. So if Team A makes a birdie, both golfers will accrue the points in DFS lineups. You will not be able to draft both golfers from the same team, however.
Some chance of rain is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, but not enough at this point to play much of a factor for our purposes. As the week goes on, continue to monitor any developments and see if one waive is expected to get potentially softer conditions.
Let’s dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: TPC Louisiana
Distance: 7,425 yards
Fairways/Rough: TifSport bermudagrass
Greens: MinVerde bermudagrass overseeded with poa trivialis and velvet bentgrass
While the team format lends itself to lower scores generally, TPC Louisiana sets up on the easier side anyway. Each of the par 5s is reachable, though the par 3s will require solid long iron play as they all measure over 200 yards.
Overseeded bermuda and Pete Dye direct us to Harbour Town (RBC Heritage) and TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS), though water hazards are not omnipresent here as they are at those two tracks. We can look to the QBE Shootout as the only other team event on Tour, though the field is much smaller and the format is different. The only repeat pairing from the most recent edition is that of Aussies Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman.
All in all, this is a pretty unique event and one that is tough to correlate to any others. The variance offers a lot of uncertainty but if you have a hunch this week on a middle-of-the-pack pairing you’re likely going to see too many others thinking the same way.
These stats will be key to success in the Zurich Classic.
|Key Stats for the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermudagrass|
Pretty straightforward here — in the alternate shot rounds, each team is going to have to alternate who hits the tee shot, and from there, their partner will hit the approach. We need golfers who can excel at either or both, and they’ll of course need the total ballstriking package in the foursomes where they play their own ball through each hole.
Birdie making is the quintessential quality here, and sealing the deal often comes down to who can make the clutch putts.
Course History Studs
It’s only been three team editions so we are pretty light on history, and a lot of luck goes into team events anyway given the atypical nature of play. However, we must note that Billy Horschel won here individually in 2013 and won again partnered with Scott Piercy in 2018. The runner up team that year was Pat Perez and Jason Dufner, the 2012 champ as TPC Louisiana.
Other former winners in the field this week include Justin Rose and Bubba Watson.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.