2023 Zurich Classic Betting Picks and Predictions

The PGA Tour is heading to New Orleans, Louisiana for the Zurich Classic. Golf handicapper and expert Andy Lack gives us his best picks for the 2023 Zurich Classic.

Sungjae Im plays his shot on the fourth hole during the second round in The Masters.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Zurich Classic is a unique tournament on the PGA Tour, as while it used to be a regular individual stroke play event, it shifted formats in 2017. The field now consists of 80 two-man teams who play better ball in rounds one and three and alternate shots in rounds two and four. The top 33 teams plus ties will advance to the weekend. 

The tournament has been held at the Pete Dye-designed TPC Louisiana since 2004. Super team Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele will return to defend their title. Still, they will be met this year by an interesting crop of challengers, including returning tandems such as Sam Burns and Billy Horschel, as well as new duos such as Max Homa and Collin Morikawa and Tom Kim and Si Woo Kim. A change of pace is always welcome on the PGA Tour, and the Zurich Classic always seems to deliver.

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Zurich Classic: Course Preview

TPC Louisiana

TPC Louisiana was designed in 2004 by Pete Dye, and although we do not have strokes gained at this event for obvious reasons, we still possess some limited data from when a stroke play event was held here prior to 2017. There have been some notable changes to the course since 2017, including a lengthening of over 200 yards. Truth be told, the extra length didn’t change much of the character of the course, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. There are ample opportunities for players to take advantage of TPC Louisiana, which is by no means a difficult golf course despite the added length and high volume of long iron shots. 

In 2015 and 2016, TPC Louisiana ranked as one of the seven easiest courses on the PGA Tour. There is not a ton of trouble off the tee, the rough is nearly non-existent, the course is extremely flat, and there is very little undulation to the greens and surrounding greenside areas. For this reason, teams will need to be incredibly comfortable going low, especially on Thursday and Saturday in the best ball format. I will be focused this week on identifying the teams that are the best overall long iron tandems, are comfortable in easy scoring conditions, and generate the most birdie opportunities per round.

Zurich Classic Key Stats

  • Proximity 200 yards plus
  • Opportunities Gained
  • Birdies or Better Gained

Zurich Classic: Outright Winner

Sungjae Im & Keith Mitchell (+1400) (Bet $100 to collect $1,500) Head to DraftKings for the best Sungjae Im & Keith Mitchell odds

While Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell have never played this event together before, both players are well antiquated with TPC Louisiana and fit this course ideally from a numbers standpoint. Sungjae Im is clearly one of the best talents in this field and playing some of the best golf of his career. The World No. 17 is coming off a contending seventh-place finish at the Heritage, where he gained 4.8 strokes off the tee and 2.5 strokes on approach, good for his sixth top-25 finish in a row. Im has done just about everything but finds the winner’s circle this year. He has already recorded top-six finishes at the Farmer’s Insurance Open, Waste Management Open, and Players Championship. 

The possibility of a different format and a worthy partner may help him cross the finish line. While Keith Mitchell may not have the pedigree of Im, he is a player I have been high on all season that I fully expect to break through at this level. The University of Georgia product remains one of the best drivers of the ball in this entire field, and he also ranks top-15 in both opportunities gained and birdies or better gained. Both players combine to rank as the third most formidable duo in my team rankings and present a fair amount of value in the outright market.

Davis Riley & Nick Hardy (+4000) (Bet $100 to collect $4,100) Get the best Davis Riley & Nick Hardy odds at DraftKings

Davis Riley and Nick Hardy are a new duo this year, but both players fared incredibly well at this event last year, with Riley finishing fourth alongside Will Zalatoris and Hardy finishing 21st alongside Curtis Thompson. Both players have elevated their games since then and now enter as a worthy duo at an appetizing price. Riley and Hardy are certainly undervalued in the market, coming off near-missed cuts at the RBC Heritage. 

My numbers suggest that the tandem are the fourth most formidable pairing in this field and course fit for TPC Louisiana. Riley is one of the absolute best in the field at generating birdie opportunities and an incredibly worthy long-iron player as well. Hardy, on the other hand, is an excellent long iron player as well, provides plenty of pop off the tee, and is one of the biggest risers in easier scoring conditions. Ultimately, I believe this team, at their current number, presents the most value in the entire field, and I will gladly take my chances on a breakthrough performance from two young talents.

Andy Lack

A PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York, Andy Lack has contributed to sites such as Golf Digest, GolfWRX, OddsChecker Rotoballer, the Score, and now Golf Monthly. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. When he’s not writing, Andy can likely be found somewhere on a golf course pursuing his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.