Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview

Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview

Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview

  • Dates: April 22-25, 2021
  • Where: Avondale, Louisiana
  • Course: TPC Louisiana (Pete Dye/2004), 36-36—par 72/7,425 yards
  • Field size: 80 teams/160 players
  • Defending Champion (2019): Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer (event canceled in 2020)
  • Purse: $7,400,000 / $1,069,6300 to each player
  • FedExCup Points: 400 points (to each player)
  • Format: Four-ball (Thursday/Saturday) and Foursomes (Friday/Sunday)

Things to Know

  • The 2020 Zurich Classic of New Orleans was one of 11 events canceled in the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19
  • The Zurich Classic of New Orleans (which was first played in 1938), has utilized the two-man team format since 2017; it is the only official FedExCup team event on the PGA TOUR schedule
  • Two-player team event, with each team comprised of two professionals, featuring Four-ball (best ball) during the first and third rounds and Foursomes (alternate shot) during the second and fourth rounds
  • Starting field will consist of 80 teams (160 players)
  • 36-hole cut to the low 33 teams and ties at the 33rd position
  • If a sudden-death playoff is required after 72 holes, the Foursomes format will be used for the first extra hole, Four-ball for the second extra hole and then alternating formats, thereafter, on a set rotation of holes
  • FedExCup points and official money will be awarded to teams making the cut based on combining every two positions from the distribution table for a standard PGA TOUR event, with each team member receiving an equal share. The winning team will evenly split first and second place FedExCup points (500 for first, 300 for second for 800 total points, or 400 for each player). Official money will be distributed in the same manner.

Field Highlights

  • Five of top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking: Jon Rahm (3), Collin Morikawa (4), Xander Schauffele (5), Tyrrell Hatton (8), Patrick Cantlay (10)
  • 11 major champions; two teams include two major champions: Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel
  • 11 winners during the 2020-21 season: Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Billy Horschel, Max Homa, Joel Dahmen, Branden Grace, Viktor Hovland, Matt Jones, Jason Kokrak, Martin Laird, Robert Streb
  • 12 past Zurich Classic of New Orleans winners: K.J. Choi (2002), Nick Watney (2007), Andres Romero (2008), Bubba Watson (2011), Jason Dufner (2012), Billy Horschel (2013, 2018), Justin Rose (2015), Brian Stuard (2016), Cameron Smith (2017), Scott Piercy (2018), Jon Rahm (2019), Ryan Palmer (2019)
  • Zurich Ambassadors: Justin Rose, Billy Horschel, Collin Morikawa

History of PGA TOUR team events

  • The 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans was the first official PGA TOUR team event in 36 years, since the 1981 Walt Disney World National Team Championship held at the Magnolia, Palm and Lake Buena Vista courses at Disney, won by Vance Heafner and Mike Holland. That tournament went to individual stroke-play event in 1982.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the FedExCup

  • Zurich Classic of New Orleans is the 30th event in the PGA TOUR’s 2020-21 season with 50 official events
  • 14 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings are in the field, led by Xander Schauffele (4), Patrick Cantlay (5), Viktor Hovland (6) and Billy Horschel (10)
  • Five FedExCup champions are in the field: Bill Haas (2010), Brandt Snedeker (2012), Henrik Stenson (2013), Billy Horschel (2014), Justin Rose (2018)
  • Since 2007, eight of the 16 winners of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans have gone on to qualify for the season- ending TOUR Championship: Andres Romero (2008), Jerry Kelly (2009), Bubba Watson (2011), Jason Dufner (2012), Billy Horschel (2013, 2018), Justin Rose (2015) and Jon Rahm (2019)

Current FedExCup standings

PositionPlayerPointsPoints Behind
1Bryson Dechambeau1,5770
2Justin Thomas1,55225
3Stewart Cink1,348229
4Xander Schauffele1,335242
5Patrick Cantlay1,280297
6Viktor Hovland1,259318
7Jordan Spieth1,250327
8Hideki Matsuyama1,244333
9Dustin Johnson1,194383
10Billy Horschel1,100477

2019 Final-Round Leaderboard

Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer                      64-65-64-69—262 (-26)

Sergio Garcia/Tommy Fleetwood      65-68-64-68—265 (-23)

K.H. Lee/Matt Every                            65-69-65-68—267 (-21)

Brian Gay/Rory Sabbatini                   60-70-66-71—267 (-21)

How Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer won the 2019 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

  • Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer won by three shots over Sergio Garcia/Tommy Fleetwood, marking the first team to win by three shots or more since the event went to the team format in 2017
  • Second-round 65 marked lowest score in Foursomes format in tournament history
  • Rahm collected his third career win on the PGA TOUR in his 67th start at the age of 24 years, 5 months, 18 days
  • Palmer claimed his fourth career TOUR title at the age of 42 years, 7 months, 9 days; a total of 3,388 days had elapsed since Palmer’s last win (2010 Sony Open in Hawaii)

More on Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer

  • Rahm and Palmer pair up for the second time; Rahm makes his third appearance (2019/won, 2018/MC/Wesley Bryan), while Palmer is making his 12th start in the event
  • At No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Rahm is the highest ranked player in the field
  • Rahm has five PGA TOUR wins, two since the 2019 Zurich Classic (2020 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, 2020 BMW Championship)
  • Rahm leads the TOUR with eight top-10s this season, including a T5 at the Masters Tournament
  • Rahm welcomed his first child, son Kepa, on April 3
  • Since winning the 2019 Zurich Classic, Palmer has two runner-ups: 2020 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide (won by Rahm), 2021 Farmers Insurance Open

Notable Teams

Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay

  • First time partnering together; Schauffele make second appearance and first since 2017 (T11/Tag Ridings); Cantlay partnered with Patrick Reed in three previous starts: (2017/T14, 2018/T7, 2019/MC)
  • Only team of players ranked inside the top 10 of the FedExCup and Official World Golf Ranking
    • Schauffele: FedExCup/4, OWGR/5
    • Cantlay: FedExCup/5, OWGR/10
  • Teammates at the 2019 Presidents Cup going 2-2-0
  • Both have California connections
    • Schauffele: From San Diego, attended San Diego State University
    • Cantlay: From Long Beach, California, attended UCLA

Collin Morikawa/Matthew Wolff

  • Each making their tournament debut
  • Youngest team in the field with combined age of 46 (Morikawa/24, Wolff/22)
  • Each turned professional in summer of 2019 and won that July: 2019 3M Open/Wolff, 2019 Barracuda Championship/Morikawa
  • Morikawa has four wins in 43 PGA TOUR starts: 2019 Barracuda Championship, 2020 Workday Charity Open, 2020 PGA Championship, 2021 WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession)
  • Wolff has one win (2019 3M Open) and three runner-ups including a solo-second at the 2020 U.S. Open and playoff loss at the 2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Tony Finau/Cameron Champ

  • Finau (fifth appearance) and Champ (second appearance) will team up for the first time; Finau finished sixth in 2018 with partner Daniel Summerhays
  • Both Champ (318.3) and Finau (305.1) average more than 300 yards in Driving Distance this season
  • Finau owns one PGA TOUR victory (2016 Puerto Rico Open) and eight runner-up finishes including two this season: T2 at the Famers Insurance Open and a playoff loss at The Genesis Invitational
  • Champ has two PGA TOUR wins (2019 Fortinet Championship, 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship)

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson

  • Rose and Stenson will pair up for the third time (2017/MC, 2018/T19) in Rose’s 14th tournament appearance and Stenson’s fourth; Rose did not play in 2019, while Stenson teamed up with Graeme McDowell (T18)
  • Rose won the 2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans
  • Both are FedExCup Champions
    • Rose/2018
    • Stenson/2013
  • Both are major champions
    • Rose/2013 U.S. Open
    • Stenson/2016 Open Championship
  • Both medaled at the 2016 Olympic Games
    • Rose/Gold
    • Stenson/Silver

Marc Leishman/Cameron Smith

  • Australian natives will team up for the first time as Leishman makes his first start in the team format (2009/MC, 2015/T28, 2016/T20)
  • Smith won the Zurich Classic in its first year as a team event (2017) with partner Jonas Blixt
  • Members of the 2019 Presidents Cup International Team
  • Only team in the field to post top-10s at 2021 Masters Tournament (Leishman/T5, Smith/T10)
  • Smith makes fifth appearance at Zurich Classic: (2015/T43, 2017/Won, 2018/MC, 2019/MC)
  • Leishman has five PGA TOUR wins (most recent: 2020 Farmers Insurance Open)
  • Since winning the 2017 Zurich Classic, Smith won the 2020 Sony Open in Hawaii

Billy Horschel/Sam Burns

  • Zurich ambassador and two-time Zurich Classic winner Horschel teams with Shreveport, Louisiana native and former LSU star Burns
  • Horschel became the 10th player to claim multiple victories in the Zurich Classic and became the first player to win in both the individual (2013) and team format (2018)
  • Burns recorded his career-best finish at the 2021 Genesis Invitational with a solo-third

Viktor Hovland/Kris Ventura

  • Hovland and Ventura will make their tournament debut
  • Only PGA TOUR members from Norway
  • Former Oklahoma State University teammates and members of the 2018 NCAA Championship winning team (Matthew Wolff was also on the team)
  • Hovland is a two-time PGA TOUR winner (2020 Puerto Rico Open, 2020 Mayakoba Golf Classic); had a run of three consecutive top-five results in 2021 (Farmers Insurance Open/T2, The Genesis Invitational/T5, WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession/T2)
  • Ventura has two top-10s on TOUR: 2020 Fortinet Championship/T7, Sanderson Farms Championship/T6)

International teams with players from the same country:

  • Argentina: Nelson Ledesma/Fabian Gomez
  • Australia: Marc Leishman/Cameron Smith, Cameron Percy/Greg Chalmers
  • England: Danny Willett/Tyrrell Hatton
  • Norway: Viktor Hovland/Kris Ventura
  • South Africa: Charl Schwartzel/Louis Oosthuizen
  • South Korea: Sungjae Im/Byeong Hun An, Sung Kang/K.J. Choi
  • Sweden: Alex Noren/Henrik Norlander

Tournament notes

  • Since 1990, 17 players have made this event their maiden victory on the PGA TOUR, including nine since 2005; Cameron Smith (2017), Brian Stuard (2016), Seung-Yul Noh (2014), Billy Horschel (2013), Jason Dufner (2012), Andres Romero (2008), Nick Watney (2007), Chris Couch (2006) and Tim Petrovic (2005)
  • Nine international winners of the Zurich Classic since 2000 (2019/Jon Rahm/Spain, 2017/Cameron Smith/Australia-Jonas Blixt/Sweden, 2015/Justin Rose/England, 2014/Seung-Yul Noh/South Korea, 2008/Andres Romero/Argentina, 2004/Vijay Singh/Fiji, 2002/K.J. Choi/South Korea, 2000/Carlos Franco/Paraguay)
  • 60 is the low 18-hole score in the team format (all in Four-ball), five times: most recent, Brian Gay/Rory Sabbatini in round one of 2019

Tournament records and history

(since 2017, when team format was introduced) 9-hole score: 28

  • 2017, R4 – Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown (front 9), R4 – Brooks Koepka/Chase Koepka (front 9), R4 – Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley (front 9)

18-hole score: 60

  • 2017, R2 – Retief Goosen/Tyrone Van Aswegen, R4 – Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown
  • 2018, R1 – Lucas Glover/Chez Reavie, R1 – Xinjun Zhang/Zecheng Dou
  • 2019, R1 – Brian Gay/Rory Sabbatini

36-hole score: 129

  • 2017, Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith
  • 2019, Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer

54-hole score: 193

  • 2019, Scott Stallings/Trey Mullinax, Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer

72-hole score: 261

  • 2017, Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith

Largest Margin of Victory:

  • 3 strokes – 2019

Holes-in-one: (bold)

  • Billy Hurley/Peter Malnati, Hole No. 17, R2, 2018
  • Chris Paisley/Tommy Fleetwood, Hole No. 3, R2, 2018
  • Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown, Hole No. 3, R1, 2019

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview is via PGA TOUR

Liked it? Take a second to support The Original Golf Blogger on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: