Zurich Classic: Jason Day, Rickie Fowler Among Those Who’ll Team Up in New Format

As team play returns to the PGA Tour at next year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler will be among those to team up.

Team play is returning to the PGA Tour for the first time since the Walt Disney World Open Invitational was changed from a team to an individual event in 1982. The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will become a team event in 2017. Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, both of whom represent Zurich, have committed to play as a team.

“I’ve loved being a part of team events throughout my amateur, collegiate and now professional career.  I’m so excited that the Tour and Zurich are making this part of our schedule and can’t wait to tee it up with Jason in April,” said Fowler.

Justin Rose, also representing Zurich, has announced he is teaming with Henrik Stenson.

“As a longtime ambassador, the Zurich Classic is already a special tournament for me,” said Rose, the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist.  “The addition of a team format adds a new, incredibly exciting element to the event. Henrik and I are very excited to tee it up together in April, and hopefully we can continue our longstanding chemistry and success in team formats.”  The two have had success in Ryder Cup in match play.

This time around, the tournament will feature two-man teams playing alternate shot (Foursomes) in rounds one and three and better ball (Fourball) in rounds two and four, according to information just released by the PGA Tour.  After two rounds, there will be a cut to the low 35 teams and ties. If there is a tie after 72 holes, a sudden-death playoff will decide the championship. They will play fourball format during the playoff.

“Zurich is excited to bring this new format to the PGA Tour, and we look forward to the unique competition and comradery at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this spring,” said Mike Foley, CEO for Zurich North America.

The PGA last had a regular event as a team competition between 1974 and 1981.

“We have seen the growth of popularity with the biennial team competitions like the Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup and World Cup and the excitement that they produce. We believe the fans will love to see this sort of competition as a regular part of our season,” said Andy Pazder, Chief of Operations for the PGA Tour.

One of the difficulties with team events in the past has been how to deal with the money won. This time, the money will be awarded by combining places where the teams finish and dividing that number by two, and that will count as official money. In other words, the winning team will receive the first and second place funds, but will divide the total by two, and that will be the official money for each player.

The PGA Tour will treat the team event victory as a normal PGA Tour victory, awarding a two-year exemption to the winners.

FedEx Cup points have been adjusted by combining the first and second place points to the winners to be equally divided, which will give each team member 400 points for a victory, versus 500 for a normal PGA Tour event.

Winners also receive invitations to compete in The Players and the Tournament of Champions. The PGA of America will consider both winners in the Tournament Winners exemption category for the PGA Championship, which means they automatically qualify for the event.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will be played April 24-30 at TPC Louisiana. It is one of the oldest tournaments held on the PGA Tour, dating to 1938. That year, the event was won by the legendary Harry Cooper who shot 285 at City Park Golf Course to beat Jug McSpaden.

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