Zurich Classic Preview: How To Watch & Who To Watch

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For the second year in a row, the Zurich Classic returns as a pairs contest to TPC Louisiana from the 26-29th April.

The two-man duo of Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt triumphed in a playoff against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown during the first edition of the Zurich Classic, and will be back to defend their title this year. 

Of the 80 pairs taking part this year, just 19 return with the same partners they played with in the 2017 edition, including Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley, and Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. 

Newly crowned Masters Champions Patrick Reed also comes back to Louisiana with his partner of last year Patrick Cantlay in his first outing since claiming the green jacket.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of new pairings to grab your attention for the second edition of the Zurich Classic, including Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello, and Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

The winners of the tournament will each earn a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and each player will also receive FedEx Cup points by combining every two positions from the official FedEx Cup point list and splitting them evenly. 

Zurich Classic: The Format 

On Thursday and Saturday's rounds, the teams will play a better-ball format where the lowest individual score on a hole is record for each pairing. 

On Friday and Sunday, the format changes to alternate shot (foursomes). *

*This is reversed from the way the Zurich Classic was played in 2017, where it was foursomes for Thursday/Saturday then the fourball format for Friday/Sunday. 

An addition to this year's tournament is that much like the European Tour's GolfSixes event - teams who make it to the weekend will select their own walk-up music for the 1st tee.

Last year's winners Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith 

Zurich Classic 2018: How To Watch

Thursday: Featured Groups Sky Sports Golf (13:00), Sky Sports Golf (19:30)

Friday: Featured Groups Sky Sports Golf (14:15), Sky Sports Golf (19:30)

Saturday: Sky Sports Golf (18:00)

Sunday: Sky Sports Golf (18:00), Sky Sports Main Event (19:30)

Zurich Classic: Who To Watch 

Jonas Blixt & Cameron Smith
- A suprise winner in many ways in 2017, but the combination of Blixt and Smith got to 27-under par during last year's contest and were impressive to watch. Blixt's most recent finish was T14 at last week's RBC Heritage, while Smith has posted three top 10s in his last six starts - including T5 at both The Masters and WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. 

Jordan Spieth & Ryan Palmer
- The Texan duo are friends, but they initially paired up in 2017 because Spieth lost a bet to Palmer's caddie James Edmonson. Edmondson told Spieth: If I beat you today (on the course), you have to partner with Ryan at the Zurich. He shot 71 to beat him, but it worked out well. They finished solo 4th last year at 22-under-par, and are looking to go a few better - putting was the problem last year. Ranked No.3 in the World, Spieth is coming in to the event having posted back to back 3rd place finishes at both the Houston Open and The Masters, while Palmer (Rank #115) has had a string of missed cuts but did finish 2nd at the Farmers back in January. 

Justin Thomas & Bud Cauley 
- Roommates, alumni from the same college, and good friends. A combination that saw Cauley and Thomas finish T5 at last year's Zurich Classic at 19-under. This year they're together again, and while Thomas hasn't finished worse than T22 in 2018 (including a win at the Honda Classic), Cauley's last three starts have been T23-T18-T14. Definite ones to watch this week. 

Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson 
- Pegged as one of the favourites last year, the Ryder Cup teammates failed to make the cut in 2017, but have teamed up once more to give it another go. The most experienced team out there, Rose and Stenson have played six times together in the Ryder Cup and have a record of 4-2-0. Stenson is on hot form having gone T5-T6-4 in his last three starts, while Rose has had three top 10s in his last six starts, and finished T12 at The Masters.  

Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel 
- Another duo with playing experience, this South African duo are Presidents Cup teammates who have played four times together (though not since 2013). Their record isn't great together so far (1-3-0) so unsure how this pairing will do but Louis has just gone T12-T9 in his last two starts so is clearly on form, while Charl will be hoping to regain some in  New Orleans. 

Scott Brown & Kevin Kisner
- Not a pairing we would have initially jumped to get behind, but given that they got beaten in a play-off by Blixt and Smith at 27-under last year, it's a team that clearly teams up well together. Brown not on the best form with three MC in his last four, but Kisner was 2nd in the WGC Dell Match Play and T7 at last week's RBC Heritage. 

Sergio Garcia & Rafa Cabera Bello
- The two Spaniards are taking their unbeaten Ryder Cup formation to the Zurich Classic, having teamed up in 2016 to beat JB Holmes and Ryan Moore, and halving their match against the formiddable American duo of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. Both coming in to Zurich after MC's that followed a strong start to the season, but we reckon this could setting could provide an explosive bounce-back for both players.  

Bubba Watson & Matt Kuchar
- We aren't sure if you could get more opposite in terms of demeanor on the golf course, but we're very intrigued by this pairing. They've played together once in the Ryder Cup, losing their fourball match to Rose/Stenson 3&2, but that was back in 2014. Current World No.18 and No.21, and given that Kuchar is the king of steady (hasn't missed a cut in over a year) and Bubba has won twice already this year, this could be a duo to keep your eye on. 

Jon Rahm & Wesley Bryan
- This pair have become friends on Tour, and are teaming up for the first time at the Zurich Classic. A bit of an unknown quantity with these two, but given Rahm is ranked 1st on Tour for birdie average, 11th for Scoring Average and Bryan is ranked 11th for overall putting average, this looks to be a solid match-up. 

Full List of Pairings: Zurich Classic

*played together in the 2017 Zurich Classic

Jordan Spieth – Ryan Palmer*

Justin Thomas – Bud Cauley*

Sergio Garcia – Rafael Cabrera Bello

Jon Rahm – Wesley Bryan

Justin Rose – Henrik Stenson*

Jason Day – Ryan Ruffels

Bubba Watson – Matt Kuchar

Patrick Reed – Patrick Cantlay*

Brooks Koepka – Marc Turnesa

Tommy Fleetwood – Chris Paisley

Jonas Blixt – Cameron Smith*

Jimmy Walker – Sean O'Hair

Jim Furyk – David Duval

Steve Stricker – Jerry Kelly*

Charley Hoffman – Nick Watney*

Ian Poulter – Graeme McDowell

Kevin Kisner – Scott Brown*

Louis Oosthuizen – Charl Schwartzel

Zach Johnson – Jonathan Byrd

Billy Horschel – Scott Piercy

Keegan Bradley – Jon Curran

Jason Dufner – Pat Perez

Daniel Berger – Gary Woodland

K.J. Choi – Charlie Wi*

Russell Knox – Martin Laird

Shane Lowry – Padraig Harrington

Tony Finau – Daniel Summerhays*

Sam Burns – William McGirt

John Peterson – Cody Gribble

Matt Every – Sam Saunders

David Lingmerth – Danny Lee*

Brice Garnett – Chesson Hadley

Emiliano Grillo – Peter Uihlein

Brant Snedeker – J.B. Holmes

Rory Sabbatini – John Daly

Retief Goosen – Tyrone Van Aswegen*

Ryan Armour – Johnson Wagner

Greg Chalmers – Cameron Percy

Fabian Gomez – Andres Romero

D.A. Points – Kyle Thompson

Mackenzie Hughes – Corey Conners

Billy Hurley III – Peter Malnati

Chris Kirk – J.T. Poston

Brendan Steele – Jamie Lovemark

Chris Stroud – Brian Stuard*

Hudson Swafford – Harris English*

Jamie Donaldson – Ross Fisher

Chez Reavie – Lucas Glover*

Kevin Na – Byeong Hun An

Kevin Tway – Kelly Kraft*

Chad Campbell – Matt Jones

C.T. Pan – Zac Blair*

Harold Varner III – Robert Garrigus

Michael Kim – Andrew Putnam

Richy Werenski – Nicholas Lindheim

Brian Gay – Aaron Wise

J.J. Henry – Tom Hoge*

Andrew Landry – Talor Gooch

Martin Piller – Joel Dahmen

Keith Mitchell – Stephen Jaeger

Abraham Ancer – Roberto Diaz

J.J. Spaun – Sam Ryder

Scott Stallings – Aaron Baddeley

Smylie Kaufman – Tom Lovelady

Ryan Blaum – Blayne Barber

Colt Knost – Ricky Barnes

Brandon Harkins – Lanto Griffin

Brett Stegmaier – Cameron Tringale

Sung Kang – John Huh

Whee Kim – Andrew Yun

Alex Cejka – Ben Crane

Tyler Duncan – Adam Schenk

Xinjun Zhang – Zecheng Dou

Ben Silverman – Matt Atkins

Seamus Power – David Hearn

Shawn Stefani – John Rollins*

Jonathan Randolph – Trey Mullinax

Troy Merritt – Brendon de Jonge

Nate Lashley – Rob Oppenheim

Denny McCarthy – Hunter Mahan