Well — that was fun, wasn’t it? The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is in the book and team golf returns to the shelf until the Ryder Cup. For the second time in his career, Billy Horschel got the W on the bayou. For his partner, Scott Piercy, the win was the 4th of his career and first since 2015.
The team of Horschel and Piercy bested the duo of Jason Dufner and Pat Perez by one stroke, combining to shoot a final round 67. The real question is — does anyone care?
I’m not going to lie — I didn’t watch a second of this event. While team golf sounds like fun on paper, it also sounds like something that ought to be reserved for people who suck. I kind of hate the idea that we end up with two Zurich Classic Champions every year. About the only thing I enjoyed about last week’s tournament was the walk-up music.
In case you missed it, this was — I think — the first PGA Tour event where players got to choose a walk-up song on the first tee. Personally, I think this is awesome. Lets keep that. I know I’m not the only one who listens to music when I play golf and, while I know Tour pros rocking out before, during and after every shot is not something that’ll ever happen, giving them something to walk up to is pretty neat and harmless.
Okay — off the soap box.
Here’s a look at those who feel somewhere between the dynamic duo of Horschel/Piercy and the pathetic duo of Brett Stegmier and Cameron Tringale:
Billy Horschel/Scott Piercy — Like every week, the champs deserve their coronation. Billy Horschel has been playing great golf lately so it stood to reason that he’d win soon. Instead of being pulled down by the partnership with Scott Piercy, it seemed to fire them both up. Despite a disappointing 73 in the second round on Friday, the two were able to bounce back with a masterful 61 on Saturday before capping their victory with that Sunday-67.
Jason Dufner/Pat Perez — This one hurt. I had some serious coin on these two last week in New Orleans and they ALMOST pulled it off. As I mentioned last Tuesday, these two teaming up seemed like a match made in chill heaven. Not only have Dufner and Perez enjoyed great seasons individually, they’re two guys who strike you as the absolute best partners to have in any member-guest tournament. Hopefully these two will team up again — perhaps at the Ryder Cup?
Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays — A duo looking for a big win was Tony Fianu and Daniel Summerhays. Finau already has a PGA Tour win to his credit, but Summerhays has not. After opening with a blistering round of 62, the twosome stumbled on Friday with a 72. From there, they bounced back with round of 63. Unfortunately, Sunday resulted in a mundane 71 — which just wasn’t going to cut it with the eventual winners firing a 67. Surely, both will win and win again on Tour, but last week was certainly a missed opportunity.
Michael Kim/Andrew Putnam — I really considered putting this two in the “Or Worse” section, but I decided to save that section for those who missed the cut — but the results for Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam were certainly the most disappointing of the weekend. After being the only group in the top-15 finishers who opened with three rounds in the 60’s — including a Thursday 62 — Kim and Putnam could only muster a Sunday 76, dropping them from second to T-15.
Xinjun Zhang/Zecheng Dou — From the “golf is hard” and “golf is cruel” file comes the story of Xinjun Zhang and Zecheng Dou. After opening with a 60 — yes, a 60! — the two crumbled on Friday, shooting 80. The 10-shot rule (the theory that a player will be 10 shots worse the round following a 63 or better, orginally proposed by Matty Blake) was in effect for BOTH players. I mean, can you imagine shooting 60 and missing the cut? Yikes. Good thing virtually no one alive had money on these guys.
Big Stars — Generally speaking, people who become stars on the PGA Tour usually gave up team sports at a young age for some reason or another. Perhaps, it was because they’re stronger as individuals? Maybe they don’t like team-atmospheres? I don’t know — but it’s hard to argue with that when you consider teams featuring Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, John Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka all missed the cut.