The QBE Shootout at Tiburón Golf Club's Gold Course in Naples, Florida, is the event we are tackling this week. If you don't know much about me, know that I love team events (in doses). A remarkable esprit de corps starts buzzing around the golf community. This year will be the final year that the QBE Shootout is not a mixed event. Starting next season, we will see the LPGA and PGA Tours team up to deliver an event that should continue to grow the game.
The format this week is simple. There will be 12 two-golfer teams competing in different formats across three different days. On Friday, the golfers will play a scramble. Saturday will be modified alternate shot (teams select one tee shot and alternate until the hole is finished), and Sunday will end with fourballs. Before looking at the pricing, a few teams instantly caught my eye. However, since this is a mixed-team event, there will be some who tend to celebrate more than worry about their final standings on the leaderboard. That must be taken into consideration.
Here are the golfers I am betting on this week for the QBE Shootout:
Steve Stricker and Cameron Young (+1200) – BetMGM
When I was breaking down the field, I certainly thought we would see a price of +750-+800 for the Striker and Young duo. While Young has yet to earn his first professional win, there's no doubt in my mind that he is the best golfer without a win. Young is a beast off the tee. He bombs his drivers down deep, which should be a massive advantage in the alternate shot format. Averaging 318 yards off the tee and still hitting over 59% of the fairways. This is setting up the hottest golfer on the Champions Tour to have basically a wedge in his hand on almost every approach he takes.
The distance projections set up perfectly for this tandem. Stricker is fifth in SG: 75-100 yards and fourth in SH: 150-175 yards. As icing on the cake for Stricker, he's also fourth SG: 175-200 yards. Young is a beast with his long irons. He's second in SG: 150-175 yards and third in SG: 200+ yards. There's no surprise Young is second in SG: Off the Tee. I'm excited to watch these two scorching hot golfers play on a team this week.
Harris English and Matt Kuchar (+650) – DK
This team is the team of super goats. They won this event in 2013, 2019, and 2020 and finished runners-up twice. English is a volatile golfer, primarily due to the surgery he had last season. He's seemed to find his grove over his last few starts. Most impressively, his T9 finish at the Fortinet Championship, where he appeared to have a serious chance to content. Kuchar has three top-30 finishes so far this season, with his highest finish being a T12 at the Fortinet Championship. Kuchar is the ultimate team competition guy. Kuchar isn't the longest off the tee, but his game doesn't have many holes. Much like the Striker and Young team, they should be able to play to each other's strengths. The best reason to bet on this team is that they are the Tom Brady-led Patriots of this tournament. Bet them until they break.
Brian Harman and Sepp Straka (+750) – DK
Whenever I watch Harman play, I'm amazed. There aren't holes in his game, and it almost makes you forget that he's 23rd in the world. His pricing for tournaments is always playable, but he only has two wins in his career. Yet, that isn't a reason to shy away from the Harman and Straka team this week. Outside of the 2023 season winners, Harman has been one of the hottest golfers on Tour. He opened the season with a T15 at the Shriners and followed that up with a T23 at the CJ CUP and back-to-back runner-up finishes at Mayakoba and the RSM Classic. Through 24 rounds, Harman is fourth in SG: Total and second in both SG: Tee to Green and SG: Approach. He's also fifth in SG: Ball Striking.
Harman's teammate Straka is unquestionably the most violate golfer in this field. He's the golfer who could finish top 10 or miss three straight cuts. He's missed the cut in three consecutive events. This should be a good pairing for him. Teaming him up with a fellow Georgia Bulldog with ages of experience should help bring him down to earth when things are not going his way.
Straka has the tools to be a great golfer. However, his inability to control his game when things aren't going well might be the biggest issue. Teaming up with Harman should be a great mixture of youthful experience and veteran reinforcement.