Bubba Watson, two-time Masters winner & 2011 Zurich Classic champion, will team with J.B. Holmes in 2017 Tournament
2014 Zurich Classic winner Seung-Yul Noh, will partner with Byeong Hun An, who made the playoff in the 2016 tournament
New Orleans, LA (March 1, 2017)— 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.
Holmes last played the Zurich Classic in 2014, when he finished tied for 11th. He finished third in The Open Championship and fourth in the Masters last year. Currently ranked 31st in the world, he played on the President’s Cup team in 2015 and two Ryder Cup teams.
Noh is playing well this season, with two eighth-place finishes in the Sanderson Farms Championship and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He has won tournaments on the PGA TOUR, the Web.com Tour, European Tour and Asian PGA. He joined the Asian Tour in 2008 as a 16-year-old and earned Asian Tour Rookie of the Year honors.
Ben An nearly won his first PGA TOUR title at last year’s Zurich Classic when he made the three-person playoff but was eliminated on the first extra hole. He has won three times internationally and finished sixth in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The latest commitments add to what is shaping up as the strongest field in years for the Zurich Classic, said Worthy. Already announced are the teams of Jason Day with Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose with Henrik Stenson in this year’s unique team format. Day was ranked number one in the world for 47 weeks and is currently second. Fowler is ranked 9th in the world following his victory at the Honda Classic this week, Rose is 12th and Stenson is fourth.
“Based on what I have been told personally by players and their managers, right now it looks like the Zurich Classic could attract 12 of the top 20 players in the world,” said Worthy. “We hope Bubba Watson’s formal commitment will encourage many of his fellow TOUR players to finalize their commitments as well,” Worthy added.
About Fore!Kids Foundation: Since 1958, the Fore!Kids Foundation has raised money to fund children’s service organizations through golf events like the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Golf Ball Gala and several charitable golf tournaments. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, Fore!Kids has helped to raise more than $30 million to date for children’s charities in metro New Orleans and Baton Rouge. More information at www.forekidsfoundation.com.
About the Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Televised in more than 224 countries and territories, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans generates a significant economic impact on the city of New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana. Independent research has shown that the tournament generates spending of more than $40 million within the local economy and garners $33 million in positive national and international media exposure for both the city and state throughout the year beyond the four days of competition.
The tournament will be played April 24-30, 2017 at TPC Louisiana in Westwego. Purse for 2016 totals $7.1 million, with the winner taking home $1,278,000.
Single-day grounds tickets are only $25 each, weekly passes are $75 and choices of suite and specialty venue options are available by calling the Tournament Office at 504-342-3000 or online at www.zurichgolfclassic.com.
PGA TOUR Policy Board approves new Foursome/Four-Ball format for 2017
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (November 14, 2016) – 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.
“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, the 10th ranked golfer in the world.
“As a longtime ambassador, the Zurich Classic is already a special tournament for me,” said Rose, who beat Stenson by two strokes to become the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist in Rio de Janeiro. “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 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.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will continue to award FedExCup points and official money, and will count as an official victory for the members of the winning team. As such, both players will receive a two-year winner’s exemption and an eligibility into Invitational fields, including the Tournament of Champions and THE PLAYERS Championship. Additionally, the PGA of America will include both members of the winning team in the Tournament Winners category for the PGA Championship.
FedExCup points and prize money will be awarded to teams making the cut based on combining every two positions from the distribution table for a standard TOUR event, with each team member receiving an equal share. For instance, the winning team will evenly split first and second place FedExCup points (500 for first and 300 for second for 800 total points, or 400 for each player). Official prize money will be distributed in the same manner.
“We are thrilled to bring this new format to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and to introduce an annual team event to the PGA TOUR,” said Andy Pazder, Chief of Operations for the PGA TOUR. “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.”
“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, which has sponsored the tournament since 2005.
“There is always excitement about team golf, and the feedback we’ve gotten from players has been extremely positive, and I know the fans are going to love it,” said Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, the host organization for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. “The pairings opportunities are endless and will be very interesting. We are looking forward to the future and continuing our charitable impact on the lives of children in our region.”
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans dates back to 1938, when it was introduced as the Greater New Orleans Open Invitational at City Park Golf Course. It eventually moved to Lakewood Country Club in 1963 and then English Turn Golf & Country Club in 1989. Its first year at the newly opened TPC Louisiana was 2005. Shortly thereafter the course sustained considerable damage from Hurricane Katrina, requiring a temporary return to English Turn in 2006. The Zurich Classic of New Orleans was the first major sporting event that made the commitment to return to New Orleans following Katrina.