Five teams to watch at the PGA Tour’s lone team event, the Zurich Classic
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is the PGA Tour’s lone team event of the season, which always leads to some interesting pairings.
Here’s a look at five teams to watch at TPC Louisiana.
Scottie Scheffler/Ryan Palmer
World No. 1 Scheffler is off to one of the best years in the Tour’s history. With four wins in his last six starts, including a World Golf Championship event and the Masters, the Dallas native will look to keep it rolling alongside his fellow Texan. Palmer, who won the Zurich Classic in 2019 alongside Jon Rahm, has once again found himself with a high-profile teammate in this event. Scheffler joins Rahm and last week’s winner, Jordan Spieth, as partners of Palmer in New Orleans (which caught the attention of Justin Thomas).
Collin Morikawa/Viktor Hovland
Morikawa (No. 2) and Hovland (No. 5) are going from foes to friends this week, as the pair went head-to-head in singles at the 2021 Ryder Cup, tying the match. They make up the highest-ranked pairing at TPC Louisiana, and are the only team with both players inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. Morikawa finished T-26 at last week’s RBC Heritage, but had back-to-back top-10s leading into that event, with a T-9 finish in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and a fifth-place finish at the Masters. Hovland, who climbed as high as third in the world ranking, is coming off a T-27 at the Masters, but had a run of three consecutive top-10s earlier this season – T-4 at the Genesis Invitational, T-2 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T-9 at The Players Championship. Both players are having great ball-striking seasons. Morikawa ranks seventh in strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach the green, while Hovland ranks 11th in strokes gained: off the tee and third in strokes gained: approach the green.
Cameron Smith/Marc Leishman
The Australian team is looking to go back-to-back at this event after an exciting playoff victory against the team of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in 2021. It was the second time Smith had prevailed at TPC Louisiana, as he and Jonas Blixt were the victors in 2017 (also in a playoff), the first year this event changed to a team format. Smith would likely be the lead contender for PGA Tour Player of the Year if not for Scheffler’s red-hot two months. Smith already has two wins – the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The Players Championship – as well as a T-3 finish at the Masters. Leishman is looking to find some form this week, as his only top-10 finish in 2022 came in Maui, where he finished T-10.
Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele
The California kids will look to improve on last year’s T-11 finish at this event, which included a second-round 74 in the alternate-shot format. Cantlay is coming off a runner-up finish to Spieth at last week’s RBC Heritage, which saw the fourth-ranked player in the world bogey the first playoff hole. It was the second runner-up of the season for the reigning FedExCup champion, who lost to Scheffler in a playoff at the WM Phoenix Open earlier this year. Schauffele finished T-3 in Phoenix, which is his best result, and only top-10, of the season. He’s coming off his only missed cut at the Masters in five starts.
Billy Horschel/Sam Burns
The two SEC products make up another team consisting of two top-15 players in the world, with Burns at No. 11 and Horschel at No. 14. The pair shot a first-round 63 here last year, before ultimately finishing T-4, two shots out of the playoff. Burns missed the cut at the Masters, but won the Valspar Championship – for the second consecutive year – in his previous start. Horschel’s best finish on Tour this season is a T-2 at the Arnold Palmer invitational, but consistency has been the name of the game for the former Gator. He hasn’t missed a cut since the 2021 U.S. Open.