QBE Shootout tournament notes

Harris English and Matt Kuchar enter the QBE Shootout as defending champions. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

NAPLES, Fla. For the 17th consecutive year, the QBE Shootout comes to Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples and 24 individuals will compete as 12 two-person teams. The event is celebrating its 29th year on the PGA TOUR calendar. The tournament is the longest running PGA TOUR-sanctioned post-season event. Here are some notes regarding what has become a favorite annual gathering for professionals, amateurs and fans:

Lexi is Back: For the third time in tournament history, one of the stars in women’s golf will compete. Lexi Thompson, a nine-time winner on the LPGA and the world’s No. 4 ranked player among ladies, will play with Tony Finau as she competes in the tournament for the second consecutive year. Last year, the 22-year-old became the second LPGA player to compete, when she played with Bryson DeChambeau. In 2006, Annika Sorenstam teamed with Fred Couples.

Winners: The field includes 11 players who won last season or the early part of this year’s PGA TOUR season. That group of players combined for 14 victories and was led by Brendan Steele, Pat Perez and Lexi Thompson, who have won twice during that span. Other current champions are Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Jason Dufner, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner and Kyle Stanley.

World Rankings:  Fifteen of the 24 players in the field are ranked among the top 50 in the world, including Lexi Thompson, who is ranked 4th among the ladies. Here are the others: Matt Kuchar (15), Pat Perez (19), Charley Hoffman (22), Kevin Kisner (25), Brian Harman (27), Daniel Berger (28), Kevin Chappell (32), Jason Dufner (38), Tony Finau (41), Brendan Steele (44), Russell Henley (46), Zach Johnson (47), Kyle Stanley (48), Brandt Snedeker (50).

FedExCup Champs: Two players in the field have won the FedExCup title in the past five years. Brandt Snedeker won it in 2012 and Billy Horschel in 2014.

What About The Money?:   Harris English and Matt Kuchar have each earned $1,255,000 since joining forces in 2013. Since being paired together these two have finished 1st in 2013, 2nd in 2014, 2nd in 2015 and 1st in 2016. Kenny Perry is the Shootout’s all-time leading money winner having earned $2,085,623 in his 14 appearances.

Watch out for the birthday boys: Horschel, who will celebrate his 31st birthday during tournament week (December 7), has never finished outside the top five in four consecutive starts since 2013, including a pair of third place finishes, one of those last year with Charley Hoffman. Meanwhile, Brandt Snedeker, who turns 37 on December 8 will be making his sixth appearance in the Shootout having won with Jason Dufner in 2015.

Repeat Pairings: Defending champions Harris English and Matt Kuchar will attempt to become the first team to win the QBE Shootout three times. Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele were victorious in 2011 and Kevin Chappell and Kevin Kisner will pair up for the second year in a row.

New Teams: Nine of the 12 teams in this year’s Shootout will be together for the first time.

Youthful: Tony Finau, 28, and Lexi Thompson, 22, are the youngest team in the field and are tied with Pat Perez and Brian Harman for the best combined world ranking.

Most Appearances:  Steve Stricker will be making his 10th appearance in the tournament, the most by any player in the field. Matt Kuchar is next with nine starts.

Major Champions:  Six players have won eight major championship titles during their careers—Lexi Thompson (2014 Kraft Nabisco), Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship), Jason Dufner (2013 PGA Championship), Zach Johnson (2007 Masters, 2015 Open Championship), Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open) and Bubba Watson (2012 & 2015 Masters).

Total # of PGA TOUR Victories:  As a group, the 24 players in the field have accumulated 91 PGA TOUR and LPGA victories during their respective careers. Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson lead the group with 12 each. Bubba Watson has nine, Lexi Thompson has nine, Brandt Snedeker eight and Matt Kuchar seven.

2017 Presidents Cup Participants: Six players in the field were involved in the 2017 President Cup matches. Here from the victorious United States team are Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Chappell, Kevin Kisner, Daniel Berger and captain Steve Stricker.

First-Time Shootout Participants: Six players will be competing for the first time in the QBE Shootout—Tony Finau, Brian Harman, Pat Perez, Russell Henley, Kyle Stanley and Shane Lowry. Four of these will form two new teams in the competition, the Harman-Perez and Henley-Stanley pairings.

Rookie Winners: Eleven players have won the QBE Shootout in their first attempt: Mark O’Meara (1989), Curtis Strange (1989), Fred Couples (1990), Scott McCarron (1997), Hank Kuehne (2003), Rod Pampling (2006), Woody Austin (2007), Keegan Bradley (2011), Brendan Steele (2011), Harris English (2013) and Cameron Tringale (2014).

Outside The Ropes: The community of Southwest Florida will have the opportunity to participate in several QBE Shootout activities during the week. On Friday, December 8, the popular, local Ben Allen Band will perform starting at 5:00 p.m. on the Tiburon Clubhouse Lawn. On Saturday, December 9, the annual QBE Shootout 5K will be held, starting at 7:30 a.m. and later that afternoon at 4:30 p.m. the Family Golf Clinic will be conducted at the practice facility. Greg Norman will be joined by select QBE Shootout professionals as they host an instructional clinic.

Format Reminder: The order of formats for each competitive round was modified in 2014 and is Scramble (Friday), Modified Alternate Shot (Saturday) and Better Ball (Sunday).

TV Schedule: This year, Golf Channel will televise Friday (1:30-4:30 PM ET Live), Saturday (1:30-4:30 PM ET Live) and Sunday (1:00-2:00 PM Live) with coverage shifting to NBC from 2:00-4:00 PM Live


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