photo courtesy Titleist
The 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans takes place April 26-29 at the Pete Dye designed TPC Louisiana. This tournament is a staple of the PGA Tour and was first contested 80 years ago in 1938. For almost the entirety of its existence, the TPC Classic of Louisiana was a traditional individual stroke play event. However, beginning in 2017 the tournament shifted to its current team format, a first for the PGA Tour in almost three decades. The format now consists of two-man teams competing over 4 rounds. Team captains are chosen through their PGA Tour priority rankings and are free to pick a PGA Tour member partner. This allows for more parity while also allowing golfers some control over their pairings. The pairs play alternating rounds of foursome (each team playing one ball by alternating shots) and fourball (each golfer playing their own ball with only the lowest score per team recorded for each hole). This makes for an exciting and wholly unique PGA Tour experience as teams compete for their share of the $7.1 million prize fund.
The 2017 edition was won by Sweden’s Jonas Blit and Australian teammate Cameron Smith. Neither have committed yet to this year’s edition, and a repeat looks exceedingly difficult against the strong field that have committed. Early favorites would include the teams headlined by Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm. The all-Spanish team of Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello also looks strong as does the pairing of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Masters winner Patrick Reed will also be at the tournament, in addition to Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk to round out the favorites for the tournament.
Schedule of Events
While the tournament doesn’t officially start until Thursday, April 26, there are events occuring at TPC Louisiana the entire week. On Monday, April 23 fans can watch the Monday Pro-Am as seasoned professionals play with local amateurs. Tuesday, April 24 features practice rounds for the pros in addition to a Celebrity Shootout at 3:00pm CT. Wednesday will see another Pro-Am as the professionals get their last bit of practice on the course before the first round begins Thursday. Tickets to the Zurich Classic are still available on the event’s official website and vary from the expensive and all-inclusive to $35 daily passes. All tournament rounds will begin about 7:00am CT with coverage available on the Golf Channel (2-5pm CT Thursday-Friday, noon-1:30pm CT Saturday-Sunday) and CBS (2-5pm CT Saturday-Sunday).