Two wildly differing tournaments take place on the world gold stage this week with Zurich Classic and Volvo Open the headline events.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans has been played since 1938, but in 2017 it became a pairs event that it is now renowned. It is played as a stroke play foursome format – alternate shot – in the first and third rounds and four-ball better ball for the second and fourth rounds.
The European Tour is in China for the Volvo Open and it is one of the biggest events they play in Asia.
See below as we run through the tournaments for you including facts, odds and picks from our own golfing professional Cliff Jackson and Betfair.
ZURICH CLASSIC OF NEW ORLEANS
- TPC Louisiana, Avondale
- First staged in 1938
- Current champions are Jonas Blixt & Cameron Smith
FIELD: A fasincating field has been assembled, unlike on the European Tour – the top players turn up for the PGA’s team events and this is no different. Ryder Cup pairing Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are unsurprisingly favourites, although defending champions Blixt and Smith are not expected to defend their crown. Over familiar partnerships include Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer, and experienced pair of Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar.
QUOTES: US Open Brooks Koepka returns after being out injured since January. “I know where I’m at. I’m already back. I’ve played the game for 23, 24 years. Four months off, I’m not going to lose it.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 25, 2018
ODDS provided by Betfair:
Cabrera Bello/Garcia 16/1
VOLVO CHINA OPEN
- Staged at Topwin Golf Club, Beijing, China
- First staged in 1995
- Current champion is Alexander Levy
FIELD: Not a bad looking line-up with a strong Asian presence, as you would expect – with some European big guns teeing it up. Favourite is defending champion Alexander Levy – who has won this event on two occasions. Home favourite and rising star Haotong Li should guarantee some big galleries in the Chinese capital.
QUOTES: Li is looking forward to playing on home soil and said: “It’s always exciting to be back playing in my hometown and hopefully I can play well and bring some sporting success to the country this week. The course is in great shape – especially the greens, which are quite fast – and it would mean a lot to win here again, especially in front of my friends and family and all the Chinese supporters so I’m looking forward to it.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 24, 2018
Alexander Levy 10/1
Haotong Li 14/1
Bernd Wiesberger 16/1
Joost Luiten 16/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 16/1
Paul Dunne 20/1
Julian Suri 25/1
Seungsu Han 25/1
Thorbjorn Olesen 25/1
Shubhankar Sharma 28/1
Jorge Campillo 33/1
Pablo Larrazabal 33/1
The pro’s point of view…
Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.
I like to see some match-play and the Zurich Classic is a really interesting event – obviously Stenson and Rose look good, but depends how serious they take it, I like the look of Spieth and Palmer in this one.
In China, I am backing Haotong Li – a really good player, and it would be great for the local audiences to see him win on home soil.
The Bookie says…
We caught up with Betfair’s Joe Dyer to get their views on this week’s action
Two contrasting events on the big tours this week with the PGA boys mixing strokeplay with a team format and the European contingent heading to China.
Betting interest is likely to be focused on the latter – punters prefer straightforward strokeplay – where Alexander Levy brings winning form from both last week and last year to the event. The defending champion, a winner at the Trophee Hassan II, is the 11/1 favourite ahead of 2016 victor, Haotong Li. A trio can then be backed at 16/1 – Joost Luiten, Bernd Wiesberger and Kiradech Aphibarnrat – with 20/1 Paul Dunne rounding up the leading septet.
Steve Rawlings is unequivocal in his China Open preview – this week’s winner will likely be long off the tee and a strong scrambler, so consult the European Tour stats and bet accordingly.
The US event is a strokeplay tournament played out between groups of two alternating between fourballs and foursomes across the four days. It was won by a long-shot last year when Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt combined to shoot 27 under par. That suggests it’s worth avoiding this week’s shorties, a list that is led by Stenson/Rose at 8/1, Bud Cauley/Justin Thomas at 10/1, and 12/1 for both Team ‘Patrick’ Cantlay/Reed and Spieth/Palmer. Dave Tindall swerves the top of the betting with his three to follow in his weekly column.
Team chemistry looks all-important this week so your best guide may be a player’s Twitter or Instagram feed to confirm they’re in good spirits.