How it works: Zurich Classic team format
April 25, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- April 25, 2018
- Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt are teaming up to defend their title. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The PGA TOUR returns to TPC Louisiana this week for the 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. This marks the first year of team play at the event, and with the new format comes plenty of questions. Click here for the list of the teams set to compete.
Here is the breakdown of this year's team format.
HOW IT WORKS
TEAM FORMAT: Round 1 and 3 are Four-Ball (Best-Ball) and Rounds 2 and 4 are Foursomes (Alternate Shot).
For Foursomes play, players will rotate tee shots. One player will hit the tee shots on all the odd-numbered holes, and the other will hit the tee shot on even-numbered holes. Example: Player A and Player B are partners. On the first hole, Player A tees off; Player B plays the second shot; Player A plays the third shot; and so on until the ball is holed. The total strokes taken will result in the team’s score for that hole.
For Four-Ball play, the players on each team will each play his own ball throughout the entirety of the round, with the best score on each hole recorded. Example: On the first hole, both golfers on each team tee off. Player A pars the hole and Player B birdies it. The team will be credited with a birdie.
FIELD: 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.
SCHEDULE: Thursday's Four-ball round begins at 8 a.m. local time (9 a.m. ET), with the last tee time at 1:56 p.m local. Friday's Foursomes round begins at 7 a.m. local (8 a.m. ET) with the last tee time at 2:02 p.m. local. Teams will go off two tees in each of the first two days. Saturday's start time is approximately 9 a.m. local off one tee. Sunday's start time will be determined later.
MAKING THE CUT: 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: A hole-by-hole (sudden death) playoff will be contested with the first hole played as foursomes (alternate shot), the second hole played as four-ball (best ball) where the formats alternate every hole, thereafter, on a set rotation of holes.
WITH A WIN: 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.
PRIZES: 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.
Why was the format changed?
The PGA TOUR Policy Board approved the change in November, 2016 as a way to introduce team competition into the regular TOUR schedule. 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."
Has there ever been a team competition on the PGA TOUR?
Yes. The PGA TOUR has held 61 previous official team events, with two pros paired together, using various formats. The PGA TOUR has contested 13 official team tournaments with a pro paired with an amateur (the pro always earning official-win designation). The last official TOUR team event was the 1981 Walt Disney World National Team Championship, won by Vance Heafner and Mike Holland.
How is the Zurich Classic format different?
The Zurich Classic will use an alternating-round Foursomes and Four-ball format for the first time. The closest the PGA TOUR has previously come to using a Foursomes format in an official event was at the 1934 Pinehurst Pro-Pro played at Pinehurst's famed No. 2 course and won by Tommy Armour and Bobby Cruickshank. That tournament played under Scotch Foursomes rules, a setup that allows each player to hit a drive on each hole and then whichever player's ball is in the best position, the teammate hits the next shot in alternate-shot fashion until the ball is held. The Foursomes format at TPC Louisiana will strictly be alternate shot for every shot played on the hole.