Jordan Spieth, ranked fifth in the world, will team with Ryan Palmer for the 2017 Zurich Classic. Spieth most recently tied for 11th at the Masters, where he has won once and claimed runner-up twice in only four appearances. So far this year, he has won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and has also posted a third in the Sony Open in Hawaii and a ninth in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He currently ranks sixth in FedExCup points and fifth in earnings on the PGA TOUR.
In addition to his nine wins on the PGA TOUR, he has won the Australian Open twice, joining champions such as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Greg Norman as multiple winners of that tournament. In 2015, he won the Valspar Championship, the Masters, the U.S. Open and the TOUR Championship to become ranked number one in the world. He held his top ranking for a total of 26 weeks.
Spieth has played on the last two Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams and was a member of the Walker Cup team in 2011 when he was a freshman at University of Texas. He is the only golfer besides Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Junior Amateur twice. As a freshman at Texas, he helped his team win the 2011 NCAA championship and was named All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year.
Bubba Watson, who won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2011, then went on to win two Masters titles, will team with J.B. Holmes in the 2017 Zurich Classic that features a new team format unique on the PGA TOUR this year, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
In addition to Watson and Holmes, two PGA TOUR players from Korea have teamed up for the 2017 Zurich Classic: 2014 champion Seung-Yul Noh and Byeong Hun An, who made the three-person playoff in the 2016 event.
“Bubba has always been a fan favorite here,” said Worthy, “and we are excited to welcome J.B. Holmes back to our tournament. Their style of play featuring imaginative shots and dramatic saves excites both casual and experienced golf fans everywhere.”
Watson, currently ranked 15th in the world, has won nine times on the PGA TOUR and is ranked 15th in all time TOUR winnings, with $35.5 million in prize money. In addition to his win in 2011, he also finished fifth in the 2007 Zurich Classic. He has played on two President’s Cup teams and three Ryder Cup teams.
The PGA TOUR Policy Board has approved an exciting new two-man team format for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans which will feature two rounds each of Foursome and Four-Ball competition.
The change will be in effect for the 2017 tournament, which is scheduled for April 24-30 at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans. It has drawn widespread interest among TOUR members and already has resulted in a couple of high-profile commitments. Announcing their participation today were the teams of World No. 1 Jason Day with Rickie Fowler, and 2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans champion Justin Rose with Henrik Stenson, the Olympic gold and silver medalists, respectively.
The new 72-hole stroke play format will feature Foursomes (alternate shot) during the first and third rounds and Four-Ball (best ball) during the second and fourth rounds. The starting field will consist of 80 teams (160 players). Each of the top available players from the PGA TOUR Priority Rankings who commits to the tournament will choose his partner, who in turn must have PGA TOUR status unless he is chosen as a tournament sponsor exemption.
Following the conclusion of the second round, there will be a cut to the low 35 teams and ties at the 35th position. In case of a tie after 72 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff using the Four-Ball format.