The Zurich Classic returns this week and there's a strong field assembled at TPC Louisiana

Zurich Classic Preview, TV Times

The PGA Tour is back in New Orleans for what promises to be a fun week at TPC Louisiana.

For the second year in a row, the Zurich Classic will be a doubles event and this year’s field is much stronger than last time out.

Patrick Reed makes his first start since winning the Green Jacket whilst Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson are all playing. World number nine Brooks Koepka makes his first start since the Tournament of Champions after a wrist injury.

The format will see alternate shot on Thursday and Saturday and best ball on Friday and Sunday. FedEx Cup points and prizemoney are up for grabs and will be split between the pairings. There will be no world ranking points on offer.

The weekend will see players walk out on to the tee with music which is a first for the PGA Tour.

Last year, Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith beat Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a Monday playoff after a dramatic finale on Sunday as Kevin Kisner holed out for eagle to force the playoff.

Kisner celebrates holing an eagle pitch on the final hole last year. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

There are some strong teams this week with three of the duos containing both men inside the world’s top 25, they are: Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Other pairings to watch out for our Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan, Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer and Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley.

One of the oldest events on the PGA Tour, the New Orleans Open was first contested in 1939.

TPC Louisiana was changed dramatically by original designer Pete Dye and Steve Elkington after the 2005 tournament. Many of his changes involved adding hazards to demand a more strategic approach. It’s a course where precision is essential. The greens are relatively large but they are undulating and it’s vital to leave yourself on the right side of the flag.

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith with the trophy and winners’ belts. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

Venue: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana
Date: April 26-29
Course stats: par 72, 7,425 yards
Purse: $7,100,000 Winners: $1,022,400 (each)
Defending Champions: Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 27– Sky Sports Golf from 7.30pm, Sky Sports Main Event from 10pm
Friday 28 – Sky Sports Golf from 7.30pm
Saturday 29 – Sky Sports Golf from 6pm, Sky Sports Main Event from 10pm
Sunday 30 – Sky Sports Golf from 6pm, Sky Sports Main Event from 9.45pm

Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Zurich Classic?

Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass, if you just wish to watch one of the rounds, or for just £12.99 you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.

Buy a Now TV Sky Sports Day Pass for £7.99

Buy a Now TV Sky Sports Week Pass for £12.99

Player watch:

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson – The favourites are both major champions, Olympic medallists and proven match players. Rose comes into the event having narrowly missed out on Masters victory.

Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer – The Texans were 4th here last year and Spieth returns to action fresh from his Masters charge.

Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay – The two Patricks are highly fancied this week and rightly so. One of them has just won the Masters and the other is one of golf’s hottest prospects. They came T14th last year as well.

Key Hole: 17th. A par-3 of 215 yards, this tends to rank as the toughest hole on the course. With a recently reshaped green, a pot bunker guarding the right side and difficult run-off areas, par is an excellent score here.

Skills required: Course management. Finding the right positions to attack the undulating putting surfaces is a key to success here.