There’s a new format. There’s a new twist.
There is also a new set of PGA betting considerations for West Virginia gamblers eyeing the Zurich Classic and its unique format Thursday through Sunday.
Unlike the regular PGA competition, this one unfolds in twosomes, with a team concept.
Players view it as a refreshing change, much like they embrace an All-Star game. It’s a reprieve from the weekly tournament grind and has a fun overview of one player occasionally bailing out another. This is otherwise impossible on the tour.
Here’s the original leaderboard from DraftKings WV:
- Viktor Hovland/Collin Morikawa +650
- Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele +800
- Scottie Scheffler/Ryan Palmer +900
- Cameron Smith/Mark Leishman (defending champs) +1000
- Sam Burns/Billy Horschel +1200
There also is a prop up for the Round 1 winner and one of the most popular golf draws for creating your tournament. Two- and three-ball matchups exist outside the realm of the leaderboard.
Zurich Classic tournament format
It’s fine to make some preliminary bets. But unlike any other tour stop, this one dramatizes the benefit of in-game betting. How do the players interact with each other and the new conditions? Do they play into one another’s strengths?
See that early and bet more later.
Teams will alternate formats. By watching the first two rounds, you may get a feel of which team fits more comfortably in different formats.
This is one tournament for which laying heavier action later may be beneficial. There is no blueprint regarding which teams will work better together other than the Smith/Leishman angle to repeat.
But a normally weak PGA player may be a good teammate. He may be a safe bet for par, while his partner boldly attacks a birdie.
Rules according to the PGA Tour
This is an alternating-round four-ball and foursomes format.
The first and third rounds will be four-ball, and the second and final rounds will be foursomes. For foursomes play, players will rotate tee shots. One player will hit the tee shots on all the odd-numbered holes, and the other will hit the tee shot on even-numbered holes.
Example: Player A and Player B are partners.
On the first hole, Player A tees off; Player B plays the second shot; Player A plays the third shot; and so on until the ball is holed. The total strokes taken will result in the team’s score for that hole.
For four-ball play, the players on each team will each play their ball throughout the entirety of the round, with the best score on each hole recorded.
Example: On the first hole, both golfers on each team tee off. Player A pars the hole and Player B birdies it. The team will be credited with a birdie.
Breaking down PGA’s Zurich Classic
The starting field will consist of 80 teams (160 players). Each of the top available players from the PGA Tour Priority Rankings who commit to the tournament will choose his partner, who in turn must have PGA Tour status unless he is chosen as a tournament sponsor exemption.
Making the cut
Following the conclusion of the second round, there will be a cut to the low 33 teams and ties at the 33rd position.
In case of a tie
A hole-by-hole (sudden death) playoff will be contested with the first hole played as foursomes (alternate shot) and the second hole played as four-ball (best ball), where the formats alternate every hole, thereafter on a set rotation of holes.
With a win
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans awards FedExCup points and money and will count as an official victory for the members of the winning team. As such, both players will receive a two-year winner’s exemption and eligibility into invitational fields, including the Sentry Tournament of Champions and THE PLAYERS Championship.
Additionally, the PGA of America will include both members of the winning team in the tournament winners’ category for the PGA Championship.
Zurich Classic odds at WV sportsbooks
Some may feel that Hovland/Morikawa is not a good price here: two excellent players, but not excellent value.
Scheffler and Palmer are a classic example of a betting conundrum. Scheffler is the best player in the world. He just won the Masters, a tournament for which Palmer did not make the cut. But many people think Palmer is underrated and will serve this format well.
This may create interesting decisions in four-ball play on potential birdie holes. If Palmer can play conservatively, all but guaranteeing a par, Scheffler can hit more aggressively and gamble on finding the green in two shots to seek a birdie or eagle.
Bettors may see the players more relaxed, at least up until the final round. Some players soar when there is no pressure on them.
As always, look for value and unique props that may come up from round to round. Leaderboards will be adjusted after every round, too.