When you read that millions of people tuned in to watch Sergio Garcia’s epic win over Justin Rose at the Masters and see the crowds of 30 deep who were at Augusta National to witness is first hand, you might think that all is good in the world of golf. Unfortunately you can’t use the Masters as a rule for golf in general. In order to ensure that viewer and fan numbers remain high, those at the top of the game are rushing to innovate.
One of the main innovations on the PGA Tour comes this week with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The event has an historic pedigree having first been held back in 1938 but it’s all change this year with the introduction of a pairs tournament; 80 teams of two will play a stroke play event with two days of alternate shot and two days of better ball deciding the winner.
It’s all change for the format but the host venue remains the same. TPC Louisiana is one of the easier courses that the PGA Tour visits annually. The Pete Dye design is a par 72 that measures 7,425 yards from the back tees and has a crazy amount of bunkers throughout but we’ve seen players get to -22 in the recent past so it’s extremely gettable.
Rose and Stenson’s Partnership Can Flourish
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson are well fancied to go very well this week and for very good reason. The two are stalwarts of the European Ryder Cup side and have a phenomenal record when paired up together under that huge pressure. They also provided one of the best finishes to a tournament of all time when they went head to head at the Rio Olympics last season so they won’t fade should they find themselves in a position to win this week.
As well as their combined massive tournament experience, Rose and Stenson have games which suit team play. They are both long and accurate off the tee so will leave each other easy second shots more often than not, they’re both wonderful ball strikers and have improved significantly on the greens. At odds of 7/1 with Bet365, Rose and Stenson look the pairing the rest have to beat.
Young Guns Pieters and Berger to Thrive
Many of this week’s pairings are predictable but the duo of Thomas Pieters and Daniel Berger was a little harder to foresee. Both players are in their early 20s, can hit the ball a long way and have performed admirably in some huge tournaments over the past couple of years. So, in terms of their game styles, the two of them should combine well. If their partnership also flourishes they will be ones to watch at 16/1 with Betfred.
Light Hearted Kaufman and Varner Suit the Occasion
Smylie Kaufman and Harold Varner III are going to have a lot of fun this week. Both young men put in a serious amount of hard work to make it onto the PGA Tour and now they’ve made it, they’re doing all they can to enjoy it. They hit the ball a similar distance and will just go out there to play golf so could be worth an each way bet at 125/1 with Betfred.