Earlier in the week, I wrote this piece comparing two-man Zurich Classic teams with corresponding NBA playoff teams. It was fun, it was silly, it was probably even a little stupid.

But that underscores a greater theme at this event: It’s all about the partnerships.

Beginning last year, the annual New Orleans tourney injected a much-needed spark, becoming a two-man team event. It was wildly popular, with the energy carrying over to this year’s edition, as 10 of the world’s top 14 players are competing, this time infused with walk-up music for their first-tee entrances.

It will be fun, it will be silly. But no, it won’t be stupid.

(The only stupid thing this week is that none of the major DFS providers is offering any competitions. Even though you could pair players together and price them in the same manner. Even though you could score best-ball/alternate-shot format … just as usual. Ridiculous.)

All of which leads to the one question you’re all wondering: How do we analyze this one?

Right off the bat, I’m viewing these teams from the same perspective as playing a match at your local muni. The guys who are buddies and have played together a lot generally should thrive; those who were set up on a “blind date” by agents or sponsors will presumably lack some chemistry.

Just check out these comments from last year’s runner-up tandem, Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown.

“We play together quite a bit at home,” Brown said last year. “We kind of sneaky practiced for this event.”

“We know each other’s games so well,” Kisner added. “We’re comfortable with each other.”

See? That solves it. These guys are great friends and they contended, so that’s the big secret formula.

Uh, not quite.

Just as Andrew Landry and Satoshi Kodaira busted all analytical models the past two weeks, last year’s Zurich champions, Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith, negated the idea that only close buddies can play well together.

“We haven’t known each other that long,” Blixt admitted after their victory.

Score one for the unknown commodity.

Even so, I’m going back to the well this week. The players who ultimately play the best will be the ones who have the most fun, and it stands to reason that the ones who have the most fun will be those who know each other the best.

With that in mind, let’s get to the picks. I’ll cover my tourney winner, a few top-five/10 props, a head-to-head matchup and a few guys I’m fading.


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