The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will have a new format in 2017, going from an individual tournament to a two-man team format.
The Tour officially announced the change in format, with 160 players in the field as 80 teams of two. The top 80 players in the PGA Tour’s priority ranking that commit to the field will get to pick their partner, with no restrictions on who that partner is except that they have PGA Tour status or secure a sponsor exemption to play.
The 80 teams will play a 72-hole event, with the first two rounds played as alternate shot (foursomes). A 36-hole cut will be made down to the top 35 teams and ties, which will then play the final two rounds under best ball (fourballs) rules. A sudden-death playoff to settle any ties after 72 holes will be played under best-ball rules, too.
Two teams have already been announced for the event, to be played April 27-30. Jason Day and Rickie Fowler will be a duo, as will European Ryder Cup stalwarts Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.
“I’ve loved being a part of team events throughout my amateur, collegiate and now professional career,” Fowler said. “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.”
The players on the winning team will each get a two-year PGA Tour exemption and spots in the PGA Championship, The Players, the Tournament of Champions and other invitational events. The team will split the FedEx Cup points normally distributed for individual events, meaning the winning team will split the 500 points for first place and 300 points for second place — or 400 points per player.