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QBE Shootout Preview

QBE Shootout Preview

Although the end of 2021 will soon be upon us, there is still time for some world-class golfing action to take place and with the QBE Shootout just around the corner, it will be golf of a somewhat different kind.

Golf that comes not in individual form but the pairing of talent instead and with 12 pairs being announced recently, it means 24 of the world’s best will prepare to be part of a winning weekend combination.

A combination that will look to come out on top after a 3-day, 54 hole stroke play event and to make matters even more interesting, the format differs from day to day. While since 2014, the format has been as follows:

First round – scramble – also known as ambrose or best-shot. Each player in a team tees off on each hole, and the players decide which shot was better. Every player then plays their second shot from within a clublength of where that shot came to rest (and no closer to the hole), and the procedure is repeated until the hole is finished.

Second round – greensomes (i.e. modified alternate shot) – also known as Scotch Foursomes. Follows the same format as foursomes (teams use only one ball per team, taking alternate shots until the hole is completed) except that both players tee off on every hole. The better ball is chosen and alternate strokes are then played to complete the hole.

Final round – better ball (i.e. fourball). Each golfer plays their own ball from where it lies throughout the round. A team's number of strokes for a given hole is that of the lower scoring team member. It is also known as best ball or, more properly, better ball.

While such is the varied format, it also means that different strengths will be favoured across the course of three days and whereas a particular attribute may favour one golfer on a certain course, this will not be the case at the QBE Shootout.

The tournament itself is one that is steeped in recent history and with it first being played back in 1989, it has undertaken not only format changes along the way but also a number of different monikers.

What is now the QBE Shootout started out as the RMCC Invitational and with Mark O’Meara and Curtis Strange coming out on top 32 years ago, they would be the first pair to win such a well-respected tournament.

Although O’Meara and Strange may have been head of the class in 1989, they will not be part of proceedings in 2021 and with the pairings recently announced, here is what they will look like at the start of the weekend:

Team 1 – Matt Kuchar and Harris English (Defending Champions)

Team 2 – Matt Jones and Ryan Palmer

Team 3 – Will Zalatoris and Sean O’Hair

Team 4 – Lexi Thompson and Bubba Watson

Team 5 – Jason Day and Marc Leishman

Team 6 – Sam Burns and Billy Horschel

Team 7 – Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter

Team 8 – Kevin Kisner and Max Homa

Team 9 – Brian Harman and Hudson Swafford

Team 10 – K.H. Lee and Brandt Snedeker

Team 11 – Corey Conners and Graeme McDowell

Team 12 – Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak

With such a high-profile field, it should lead to a frenzy of sports betting in Florida, especially when it comes to golf, has seen something of an increase in interest during the past 12 months.

Whether that is because golf has largely continued unabated during the choppy waters of COVID-19, is something could be argued, but there is no doubt that another team competition would have certainly tempted punters to part with their hard-earned money.

Because after the United States’ success in the 2021 Ryder Cup, golf is going through something of a purple patch and with increased interest in the sport, it has also meant a substantial amount of betting dollars have been placed.

Where those dollars go this weekend, remains to be seen and with Matt Kuchar and Harris English returning as defending champions, they will be one of the better backed pairs in the pre-tournament market.

Of course, with another 11 pairs also vying for a shot at glory, it is not going to be easy to pick a winner and for those who do manage to select the right duo, they will no doubt be rewarded accordingly at the end of this weekend.

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