The PGA season at times can feel like a never-ending cycle with a new tournament each and every week. Majors and other strong-field events help to separate, but there is no doubt the weeks sometimes blend together. Fortunately, this week is going to feel different than all the rest as the tour heads to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic. This week features a new format, as this is a team event with golfers playing in pairs. Normally there are not DFS contests for this event, but this year that is not the case, and there is a lot of money up for grabs. So here we will cover the best way to find proper process and strategy for making PGA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.
The teams will be battling it out at TPC Louisiana, which is the normal host of this event. It is another Pete Dye layout that measures 7,400 yard as a par 72. The course doesn’t seem to have a distinct theme, as golfers can club down off the tee without being punished. Bombers are totally negated, though, and that will set up one of the many dynamics of the team event. Having quality ball-strikers seems to once again be the focal point.
For the short game, being able to work out of the sand will be important given the number of hazards here this week. The surface is Bermuda, which is more of a secondary factor, but it is still important to note. Overall, the course doesn’t stand out in any drastic way, which means gamers are not funneled to specific types of players. In addition to the bunkers, there is some trouble via water on the course, but it’s not to the level of the Florida swing.
This week there are 160 players teeing it up in two-man teams. Since players are directly tied to their teammate, it’s really an 80-man field to choose from. Pricing gets started with Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay at $11,700, followed by Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm, who are the defending champs from the 2019 version of the event. From there come pairings ranging from countrymen teaming up to completely random couplings, which makes for interesting lineup construction.
Even though two golfers take up a roster spot, there are still six roster spots to fill, 12 golfers total. You will need six different teams and hope that they are able to find the weekend and return value. As much as the field and course are important, this week has to start with the format, as it is a different type than any other week on tour. Let’s jump into the rules and strategies for the Zurich Classic.
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How Does This Team Event Work?
First off, there are 80 teams playing in the event, and each team is guaranteed two rounds. The first and third rounds are going to be Four-Ball, aka Best Ball, while the second and final rounds will be alternate shot. This is going to make birdies and scoring extremely important in that opening round, as teams will look to get off to a hot start. After 36 holes, we will have a cut, but it is just the top 35 and ties this week. That means most likely half the field or more may be going home, and this could be a tough 6-for-6 week.
Gamers could look to golfers with major upside in terms of birdie-or-better percentage and hope that with best ball one of them will more often than not have a good look at birdie. For alternate shot, having two players that complement each other can be useful, but most people will overthink this. Like any week, the right strategy is employing golfers who are playing well and racking up scoring chances. That will not change even with the new format.
The final thing to consider are the pairings themselves as some of these duos are veterans of playing together while others seems to have little to no experience. Similar to the never-ending course history debate, it’s very hard to quantify how much experience matters and if guys like Rahm and Palmer have an edge being the defending champs. This will factor in for ownership, and that is something to be aware of when building this week. Overall, this has a match play feel with the new format and tough cut mixed in. Let’s dive into the teams and see who stands out across the salary ranges.
PGA DFS Picks: Zurich Classic
Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm $11,500 DraftKings, $11,900 FanDuel
Even with Cantlay’s struggles, he and Schauffele are probably the most talented team in the field, but Rahm and Palmer are a close second. They are the defending champs from the last time this was played in 2019, and both come in playing solid golf. Rahm is one of the most consistent players on tour, having missed zero cuts his season and peppering the first page of the leaderboard. The game is well rounded and in form, and the field certainly doesn’t have a ton of top-tier options.
Palmer may not be on Rahm’s level, but that doesn’t mean he cannot hold his own. Palmer’s 2021 season has been very impressive, coming in with 10 straight made cuts, including last time out at The Masters. He is always a pure ball striker, and this is shaping up to be one of his best seasons on tour. Add in that he and Rahm clearly have chemistry and experience, and this grades out as probably the best overall team. The one knock is that they are the defending champs, and that will artificially pump their PGA DFS ownership projections even though it’s probably deserved.
Also considering – Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele
Maverick McNealy/Joseph Bramlett $7,900 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel
The mid-range gets questionable fast, and with only 80 teams to choose from, there are not a lot of options. These teams either have one player struggling with a partner in form or two guys with not a ton of success lately on tour. This is going to make most of these teams appealing tournament targets, but finding safety is almost nonexistent.
One especially appealing team for large-field tournaments is Maverick McNealy and Joseph Bramlett, who are directly in the mid-range salary. McNealy isn’t consistent, but he has the talent to win on tour and is coming off a fourth-place showing at RBC Heritage. He was runner-up earlier in the year at Pebble Beach, while his partner is a little more stable. Bramlett makes more cuts but isn’t in contention as often.
Coming in, Bramlett has made five of six weekends but has no finishes inside the top 10. Still, these two complement each other with Maverick’s short game and Bramlett being a more consistent ball striker. They will not garner a lot of ownership, and this is a sneaky combo in a mid-range that doesn’t have a lot that stands out.
Also considering – Doug Ghim/Justin Suh
Peter Uihlein/Richie Werenski $7,100 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel
It is very difficult to build this week with the limited options at each price point. Furthermore, pricing is tight, so gamers will need to open up salary. Although the Zurich Classic isn’t the prestige of the big tournaments, it still is massively important because it holds the weight of a regular PGA Tour win. For many players looking for status and safety, having a big showing in the team event could be a career-defining moment. That is not to say it’s a given that will happen, but a team like Uihlein and Werenski stands out in the lower ranges.
Both these guys have talent, and Werenski has hung in a handful of PGA Tour events. He finished fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but a string of three missed cuts has killed all that momentum. He will be looking towards his teammate for good vibes, and Uihlein should have plenty of those coming off a win last week on the Korn Ferry Tour. He can get extremely hot with the putter, and pairing that with Werenski’s flashes of ball striking is a solid combo. Of course, the downside is immense, but that’s a given in an event like this. This duo could still make some noise.
Also Considering – Chesson Hadley/Ben Martin
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