Our 11 favorite teams at the Zurich Classic 2022 | Golf News and Tour Information

The team-centric Zurich Classic in New Orleans returns this week. The PGA Tour’s only team event is now in its fifth year, turning a tournament often lost in the post-Masters doldrums into one of the most gripping showcases of the spring. This year’s field features a number of star teams in Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay and defending champions Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman.

However, the intrigue does not stop at the star attractions. We’ve compiled our favorite teams for this week’s Zurich Classic, a list fueled by our winning prediction, curiosity and excitement.

Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland

The favorites, and for good reason: only Scottie Scheffler and Camerson Smith have had better seasons than these two. Both rank in the top 10 in SG/approach (Hovland third, Morikawa seventh) and birdie average (Hovland fourth, Morikawa eighth), and Hovland had a good run in Zurich last year with Kris Ventura before a final lap 78 submarined their title hopefuls. Their short-term struggles could make the alt-fire portions of the event a little dicey. Yet their collective muscle is simply too big to overlook.

Scottie Scheffler and Ryan Palmer

It has been three years since this observation…

Palmer went on to win the 2019 event, allowing him to relaunch it with Rahm in 2021 (the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic) and this year he’s playing with…verification grades…World No. and reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. Don’t get me wrong, Palmer enjoyed a successful career, making over 450 tour starts and amassing $30 million in total earnings. Conversely, it is a CV that pales in comparison to those of his Zurich teammates. Maybe it’s a byproduct of Palmer’s boldness and savvy, or maybe other players are slow to team up. Personally, I like to think that young people look at Palmer as the golfing version of Robert Horry, a veteran who brings good vibes and always comes back strong. Whatever the reason, keep shooting, Ryan.

AFTER: Zurich Classic 2022 odds – Ryan Palmer can’t stop, won’t stop teaming up with top players

Joaquin Niemann and Mito Pereira

Pereira ranks 22nd in SG/tee-to-green in his rookie season on tour and enters the 41st FedEx Cup Zurich. This ranking could be higher if Pereira could punch a putt; although he ranked 14th in approach and 12th in GIR percentage, he is 155th in birdie average. Although Niemann is not a player known for his short game prowess, he makes the most of his opportunities, ranking 10th in points and 18th in birdie average. If a bit of that can rub off on Pereira, watch out.

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman

We could discuss Smith’s campaign, which saw him go from top 30 to world No. 1. We could discuss Leishman’s solid and super sneaky year (24th in strokes gained, 14th in birdie average) and how his +5000 Open Championship odds seem like a good investment for those looking to retire early. . We guess we should discuss these two reigning champions. Instead, we like to make our annual call for the Zurich Classic to change the format from Saturday to a scramble (to see how stupid these guys can get) and Sunday to a worse ball or reverse scramble (for chaos ).

Bubba Watson and Harold Varner III

Varner is no longer the little powerhouse that could do it, rivaling The Players and RBC Heritage and recording a top 25 in his Masters debut. He has yet to understand the last round (91st goalscorer on Sunday), but he is close to a major breakthrough. As for Bubba, it’s fair to wonder at 43 how much gas is left in the tank, and the results in just six starts this year haven’t been promising. However, Bubba is at its best when the focus is on creativity, and while TPC Louisiana doesn’t necessarily lean into that strong point, the event format does. Coupled with Watson’s history on this course (including a win in 2011 and a T-8 last year), expect the ‘good Bubba’ to show up this week.

AFTER: Jordan Spieth just did something that hasn’t happened in 13 years (and it’s not good)

Adam Hadwin and Adam Svenson

Big fan of guys with the same names teaming up. Frankly, it’s appalling that none of the Cameron 11 are together this week.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauele

Whatever the over/under on the Ryder/Presidents Cup endorsements with these two, hit the over. Cantlay and Schauffele finished T-11 in Zurich last year, betrayed by a 74 on Friday. Schauffele is having a strange season, ranking 17th in shots gained but only achieving one top 10 in 10 starts. Who better to succeed than Cantlay, who finished second at Hilton Head and boasts five top-10 finishes in just nine outings. And because we have nothing else to add: there’s no word if walk-in music is back at Zurich, so in case the officials dither on the idea, let’s just say while we enjoyed the effort, unless it was in front of a first tee amphitheater Ryder Cup, the entrance songs do more harm than good.

Max Homa and Talor Gooch

They’re right next to each other in strokes won (Homa 25th, Gooch 26th), and there’s tremendous balance in their games. Homa was better off the tee, Gooch is able to keep big numbers at bay, both were efficient with their second shots. Although Gooch’s FedEx Cup position (fifth) was mostly the result of a steep drop, he remained quietly strong in 2022 with a T-7 at Bay Hill and a T-14 at Augusta National with Homa not far behind. with five top 20 finishes in eight starts this year.

Jay and Bill Haas

Cy Cyr/PGA TOUR/Getty Images

We had to confirm with the tournament officials but it is indeed the Jay Haas, winner of nine tours, captain of the 2015 United States Presidents Cup team and father of Bill. Jay turns 68 this week, so we don’t want to hear any more about Tom Brady still playing in the NFL at 44. Of course, Jay has some work to do to become the oldest player to play. a tour event; that honor goes to Jerry Barber, who competed in the 1994 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines two months before his 78th birthday.

AFTER: Tour pro gets bizarre penalty after hitting ball in the air in Spanish Moss

Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia

After a tough few years, Tommy Lad is showing signs of revival, posting seven top-25 finishes in his last nine starts. Plus, he has a solid track record at this event with a runner-up and a T-4. As for Garcia (who won a silver with Fleetwood here in 2019), he was OK halfway through the touring season, ranking 44th in strokes gained. Again, this is a man who transforms from a very good player into a tour de force at team events. Don’t be surprised to see these Ryder Cuppers go head-to-head on the weekends.

Will Zalatoris and Davis Riley

Look, ever since this tournament switched to a team format, the common mistake has been the craze of young wolves joining forces only to see said young wolves fail at the weekend. We say that to say this: there is no scenario where Zalatoris (T-6 or better in four of seven starts; first in SG/tee-to-green) and Riley (23rd in birdie average, runner-up in last Valsper month) do not win this by six strokes.

Michael C. Ford