photo courtesy the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
The 2019 Zurich Classic of New Orleans returns to the Pete Dye designed TPC Louisiana from April 25-28. The tournament is unique on the PGA Tour for its two-man team format. Though the tournament dates back to 1938, the transition from a traditional stroke play tournament to the current format occurred in 2017. The result is the first team event on the PGA Tour since 1981.
The tournament is open to the top 80 available players from the PGA Tour priority rankings. Once these professionals have committed, they then must pick a partner. The partner must have PGA Tour status or be given a sponsor exemption. The actual tournament consists of both fourball and foursomes. Fourball is used on rounds 1 and 3 and features each team member playing his ball for every hole with the team's lowest score carded. Rounds 2 and 4 are Foursomes, with teammates rotating their tee shots and finishing each hole by alternating shots on 1 ball. So if Player 1 tees off, Player 2 will make the approach shot. The team continues alternating shots until the hole is finished. There is a cut after the second round, with the top 35 teams plus ties advancing to the final 2 rounds and a chance at glory.
The tournament format may seem odd, but the event offers the same incentives of other PGA Tour events to the members of the winning team; PGA Tour status for 2 years (though without an invite to the Masters), 400 FedEx Cup points and over $1 million dollars each. The winners also earn invites in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The Players Championship.
All the action is provided by the Golf Channel and CBS beginning with Golf Channel’s coverage on Thursday and Friday, 3-6pm ET. Saturday and Sunday coverage begins on the Golf Channel 1-2:45pm ET, before switching over the CBS from 3-6pm ET.