2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview
Dates: April 24-30, 2017
Where: Avondale, La.
Course: TPC Louisiana (Pete Dye/2004), 36-36—par 72/7,425 yards
Field size: 80 teams/160 players
2016 champion: Brian Stuard
FedExCup: 400 points (each member of winning team)
Format: 72-hole stroke play, Foursomes (Thursday/Saturday) and Four-ball (Friday/Sunday)
Historic new tournament format
- Last November, the PGA TOUR Policy Board approved a historic change to the format of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, making the event a 2-player team event featuring Foursomes (alternate shot) during the first and third rounds and Four-Ball (best ball) during the second and fourth rounds. Since the formation of the PGA TOUR (1968), this is the first time an official event has utilized Foursome play as part of a team competition, and the event is the first official team event since 1981.
- 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.
History of PGA TOUR team events
- The 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans will be the first official PGA TOUR team event in 36 years. The last official PGA TOUR team event was the 1981 Walt Disney World National Team Championship held at the Magnolia, Palm and Lake Buena Vista courses at Disney. Vance Heafner and Mike Holland won that title. The tournament became an individual stroke-play event in 1982.
- 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 where a pro was paired with an amateur in official events, with the pro always earning official-win designation.
- The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will use a four-ball and foursomes format. The closest the PGA TOUR has previously come to using a Foursomes format in an official event was at the 1934 Pinehurst Pro-Pro held at Pinehurst’s No. 2 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 holed.
How Brian Stuard won the 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans
- Michigan native Brian Stuard won his first career PGA TOUR event in his 120th professional start on the PGA TOUR, making birdie on the second hole of sudden death, the par-5 18th hole, to defeat Jamie Lovemark and Byeong Hun An.
- It was the 13th playoff in event history.
- Although the event was reduced to 54 holes due to inclement weather, Stuard was the only player in the field to play bogey free.
- The last player to win on the PGA TOUR with no bogeys in a 72-hole event was Lee Trevino at the 1974 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
- Including the playoff, Stuard was a perfect 46 of 46 from putting inside 10 feet for the tournament.
- With the new team format in 2017, Stuard will pair with Chris Stroud in an attempt to defend his title.
More on Brian Stuard/Chris Stroud Brian Stuard
- Last season, advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs for the third time in his PGA TOUR career, thanks to his first career win on TOUR. Kept himself alive through the first three of four Playoffs events, before ending his season after the BMW Championship at No. 60 in the FedExCup standings.
- Was the 16th player since 1990 to make the Zurich Classic of New Orleans his first career PGA TOUR victory and the eighth of the last 12 to do so.
- The 2016 victory was his fourth start in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, having previously missed the cut in 2010 and 2014. He finished T65 in 2015.
- Stuard’s best finish to date in 2016-17 was T16 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
- Stroud’s best finish thus far in 2016-17 was T8 at the Puerto Rico Open.
- Career-best PGA TOUR finish is runner-up at the 2013 Travelers Championship, where he lost a playoff to Ken Duke.
- Owns five top-25 finishes in 10 career appearances at the Zurich Classic, including a T5 in his
tournament debut in 2007.
The Zurich Classic and the FedExCup
The 2016-17 season marks the 11th year of the FedExCup, the season-long points competition highlighted by four FedExCup Playoff events, with the FedExCup champion being crowned at the completion of the TOUR Championship. Some FedExCup notes regarding the Zurich Classic of New Orleans:
- Three FedExCup champions are in the field: Jordan Spieth (2015), Billy Horschel (2014), Henrik Stenson (2013).
- Six of the 10 winners of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans have gone on to qualify for the season finale, the TOUR Championship: Andres Romero (2008), Jerry Kelly (2009), Bubba Watson (2011), Jason Dufner (2012), Billy Horschel (2013) and Justin Rose (2015).
- 18 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings are in the field led by Hideki Matsuyama (No. 2) and Justin Thomas (No. 3).
Notes on the field
- Six of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking: Jason Day (No. 3), Hideki Matsuyama (4), Jordan Spieth (5), Henrik Stenson (6), Justin Rose (8) and Rickie Fowler (9), and 25 of the top 50.
- Twelve major champions, combining for 16 major titles, are in the field, although only one team features both players as major winners – Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson. Other major champions competing at the Zurich Classic include Retief Goosen (2), Jordan Spieth (2), Bubba Watson (2), Angel Cabrera (2), Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Louis Oosthuizen, Geoff Ogilvy and Lucas Glover.
- Twelve of this season’s PGA TOUR winners: Brendan Steele, Cody Gribble, Rod Pampling, Mackenzie Hughes, Justin Thomas, Hudson Swafford, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Russell Henley, Wesley Bryan and Kevin Chappell.
- Ten past Zurich Classic of New Orleans winners: Brian Stuard (2016), Justin Rose (2015), Seung-Yul Noh (2014), Billy Horschel (2013), Jason Dufner (2012), Bubba Watson (2011), Jason Bohn (2010), Jerry Kelly (2009), Nick Watney (2007) and K.J. Choi (2002).
- Seven Zurich Ambassadors will compete in the Zurich Classic this week – Keegan Bradley, Ben Crane, Jason Day, Jamie Donaldson, Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel and Justin Rose.
- LPGA star Lexi Thompson, also a Zurich Ambassador, will be on site Tuesday to team with Olympian Lolo Jones in the Celebrity Shootout at 3 p.m. The competition, over four holes (Nos. 1, 2, 8 and 9), using the same foursomes/four-ball format as the Zurich Classic, will determine the winner of the $10,000 charitable donation. A total of eight celebrities will compete in this competition.
2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview: Notable Teams
Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson
Rose (gold) and Stenson (silver) were Olympic medalists at the 2016 Summer Olympic Golf Competition. They are the only team featuring two major champions in the Zurich Classic. The pair also combined for three wins while paired together as European teammates in the 2014 Ryder Cup. In 2016, the duo played against Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed three times, winning once (5 and 4, R1, afternoon four-ball) and losing twice.
More on Rose
- Rose has made 11 starts at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and has finished in the top-15 in four of his last five appearances at TPC Louisiana (T10/2012, T15/2013, T8/2014, 1/2015, MC/2016). He has 18 consecutive rounds of par or better at TPC Louisiana. Dating to 2012, Rose is 60-under-par at TPC Louisiana.
- Rose is one of six international winners of the Zurich Classic since 2000 (2015/Justin Rose/England, 2014/Seung-Yul Noh/South Korea, 2008/Andres Romero/Argentina, 2004/Vijay Singh/Fiji, 2002/K.J. Choi/South Korea, 2000/Carlos Franco/Paraguay).
- He was runner-up to Sergio Garcia after losing a sudden death playoff at last month’s Masters
More on Stenson
- This year marks his first appearance at the Zurich Classic.
- Posted final-round 63 to win The Open Championship last year, his fifth PGA TOUR title and first major championship victory.
- Swede was second of three international players to become FedExCup champion, in 2013 (2007/Vijay Singh/Fiji, 2016 Rory McIlroy/Northern Ireland).
- In six starts on TOUR this season he has recorded two top-10 finishes (T2/WGC-HSBC Champions, T7/Valspar Championship) but he has missed the cut in his last three starts.
Jason Day/Rickie Fowler
Day (No. 3) and Fowler (No. 9), both Zurich Ambassadors, are currently ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. The pair are also the most recent winners of THE PLAYERS – Day in 2016 and Fowler in 2015.
More on Day
- Finished T5 at last year’s Zurich Classic as the first player ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf
Ranking to compete in this event since David Duval in 1999.
- Held the solo 36-hole lead, and shared the 54-hole lead with Justin Rose at the 2015 Zurich Classic before finishing T4 with four sub-70 rounds.
- Ten-time PGA TOUR winner, most recently at THE PLAYERS Championship last year.
More on Fowler
- Won The Honda Classic earlier this season for his fourth career PGA TOUR title.
- While playing the same format as the Zurich Classic, finished runner-up, with Jimmy Walker as his partner, at the ISPS HANDA World Cup at Kingston Heath in Australia late last year.
- Making his seventh consecutive appearance in the Zurich Classic. Best finish is T10 in 2012.
- Currently ranked No. 8 in the FedExCup standings.
Hideki Matsuyama/Hideto Tanihara
Matsuyama, No. 2 in the FedExCup standings and No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking, pairs with fellow Japanese star Tanihara, who reached the semifinal of the recent World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.
More on Matsuyama
- After the close of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season, Matsuyama won five of 10 worldwide starts, including the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and the Waste Management Phoenix Open in a four-hole playoff over Webb Simpson. Matsuyama also claimed the Japan Golf Open and the VISA Taiheyo Masters in his home country and beat a small but stellar field in the Bahamas to capture the Hero World Challenge. During this period he also finished runner-up at the CIMB Classic and the SBS Tournament of Champions.
- Matsuyama has been at the top, or near the top, of the FedExCup standings this season and currently lies 81 points behind leader Dustin Johnson.
- Finished T6 at ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf in Australia last year while playing with Ryo Ishikawa using same format as this week’s Zurich Classic.
- Matsuyama makes his first appearance at the Zurich Classic this week.
More on Tanihara
- Tanihara earned his best PGA TOUR finish with his fourth at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last month. He now owns three top-10 finishes in 45 career starts on TOUR, along with a T5 at The Open in 2006 and a T8 at the 2014 Sony Open in Hawaii.
- The 38-year-old, who has 14 international victories, qualified for the Masters by moving inside the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after his performance in Austin. He missed the cut at Augusta National.
- Tanihara is ranked 11th in the International Team Presidents Cup standings as he looks to make the team for the first time in his career.
- This will be the second appearance at the Zurich Classic for Tanihara. In 2005, he shot 70-80 to miss the cut.
Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer
- 2015 FedExCup champion and two-time major winner Spieth teams with fellow Texan and three-time TOUR winner Palmer.
- When Spieth won the 2016 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational at Colonial CC, Palmer finished T3.
More on Spieth
- With his win at the 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Spieth tied Jason Day for most victories since the start of the 2013 PGA TOUR season. Spieth and Day, who have nine each, were joined by Dustin Johnson who won the Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in consecutive starts to reach nine titles since the start of the 2013 season.
- Spieth is the second-youngest player since World War II to win nine times on the PGA TOUR:
- o Tiger Woods (23 years, 5 months, 7 days) – 1999 Memorial
- o Jordan Spieth (23 years, 6 months, 16 days) – 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
- o Jack Nicklaus (24 years, 19 days) – 1964 Waste Management Phoenix Open
- In nine starts this season, Spieth has finished inside the top 10 four times.
- Spieth makes his second appearance at the Zurich Classic after missing the cut in 2013.
- Spieth is the second-youngest player since World War II to win nine times on the PGA TOUR:
More on Palmer
- Palmer’s most recent of three PGA TOUR wins was the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii.
- Palmer has advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs nine times in 10 seasons.
- His lone top-10 in eight appearances in New Orleans was T4 in 2012.
Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly
- Stricker and Kelly are both Wisconsin natives who currently play PGA TOUR Champions.
- The pair teamed to win the 2009 Shark Shootout in Naples, Fla., and finished as the runner-up at the same event late last year.
- They also teamed to play in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf on PGA TOUR Champions where they finished T8 last week.
- They have a combined age of 100, the oldest in the field this week, with 31 appearances at the Zurich Classic between them.
More on Stricker
- Captain of 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup Team.
- Winner of 12 PGA TOUR events, best result this season is T16 at the Masters Tournament.
- Making his 16th start in the Zurich Classic where he has three top-10s (T4/2000, T7/2009, 6th/2012).
- In two starts on PGA TOUR Champions since becoming eligible this year, Stricker has a runner-up finish at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic and a T3 at the Mississippi Gulf Resorts Classic.
More on Kelly
- Kelly is a three-time PGA TOUR winner, including the 2009 Zurich Classic.
- In 16 previous appearances at the Zurich Classic, Kelly has one additional top-10 result, a T5 in 2003.
- Kelly was a member of the U.S. Presidents Cup Team in 2003 and posted a 2-2-0 record.
- Kelly posted a T3 at the 2017 Chubb Classic in his PGA TOUR Champions debut after turning 50 in November last year.
Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes
The American pair ranked No. 1 (Holmes) and No. 4 (Watson) in the Driving Distance category in the 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season. The duo played together at the 2015 Presidents Cup in several matches.
More on Watson
- Watson won the Zurich Classic in 2011. The two-time Masters champion, and nine-time PGA TOUR winner is seeking his first win since last year’s Genesis Open in Los Angeles. Watson’s results this season have been erratic with three MC’s, one WD and one top-10 (T9/WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play) in nine starts.
More on Holmes
- Holmes has represented the United States on one Presidents Cup team (2015) and two Ryder Cup teams (2008, 2016), with the U.S. Team winning all three events.
- In nine starts this season he is still seeking his first top-10. Since joining the TOUR in 2006, the only season Holmes has failed to post a top-10 during a season was 2013 when he was limited to five events after breaking his ankle while rollerblading. In three starts at the Zurich Classic, Holmes has recorded nine of 10 rounds under par (75/R2/2009). His best result in New Orleans is T11 in 2014.
Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace
- The South African duo were unbeatable at the 2015 Presidents Cup in Korea, winning all four team matches together.
- Grace also defeated Matt Kuchar (2 and 1) in singles for a 5-0 record, while Oosthuizen halved with Patrick Reed to go 4-0-1.
- This marks the first appearance in New Orleans for both Oosthuizen and Grace.
More on Oosthuizen
- Oosthuizen’s only PGA TOUR title is The Open Championship in 2010. He owns 12 international victories, most recently the 2016 ISPS HANDA Perth Invitational. His best result in eight starts this season is third at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
More on Grace
- Although he has 10 international titles, Grace’s lone TOUR victory is the 2016 RBC Heritage. His T11 at this year’s event while attempting to defend his title is his best showing this season. In the last eight major championships, Grace has recorded four top-five finishes (T4/2016 PGA, T5/2016 U.S. Open, 3rd/2015 PGA, T4/2015 U.S. Open).
Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley
- Thomas, currently third in the FedExCup standings on the strength of three wins teams with fellow former University of Alabama golfer Bud Cauley.
More on Thomas
- Thomas is a four-time TOUR winner, including three wins this season (CIMB Classic, SBS Tournament of Champions, Sony Open in Hawaii). Thomas shot 59 (-11) in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii to become the seventh player with a sub-60 round on TOUR.
- In 2013, Thomas helped lead Alabama to its first NCAA golf national championship and was named second-team All-American. He left Alabama after his sophomore season to turn professional, having won six individual titles in two years.
- Thomas celebrates his 24th birthday Saturday of the Zurich Classic.
- He was T12 in 2015 in his only appearance at the Zurich Classic.
More on Cauley
- Cauley earned his PGA TOUR status for the 2012 season from the PGA TOUR non-member money list in just eight starts. He joined a short list of players who earned their PGA TOUR card straight from college without having to go to the Qualifying School.
- Cauley was a three-time All-American at Alabama and represented the U.S. at the 2009 Walker Cup, where he posted a 3-0-1 record. During his freshman year at Alabama, he was the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year.
- Seeking his first victory on the PGA TOUR, although he is a winner on the Web.com Tour (2014 Hotel Fitness Championship). He has three top-10s this season (T3/CareerBuilder Challenge, T9/RBC Heritage, T10/Valero Texas Open).
Tyrell Hatton/Jamie Donaldson
- Hatton, from England, and Donaldson, from Wales, both received sponsor exemptions to compete in the Zurich Classic.
- Donaldson is a Zurich Ambassador while Hatton recently joined the PGA TOUR as a Special Temporary Member.
More on Donaldson
- Three-time European Tour winner Donaldson did not meet the 15-event minimum requirement for members and therefore lost his PGA TOUR membership last season. He will make his first start of the season at the Zurich Classic and his third appearance at this event, where he was T48 last year.
More on Hatton
- European Tour winner Hatton gained some attention last year with top-10 finishes in two major
championships – a T5 at The Open and a T10 at the PGA Championship.
- After a T4 at The Honda Classic, he followed up with two more top-10s – a 10th in the WGC-Mexico Championship and a T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to secure enough non-member FedExCup points to earn Special Temporary Membership. This will be his first appearance at the Zurich Classic.
Daniel Berger/Thomas Pieters More on Berger
- Berger, 24, was PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year in 2015 and the only rookie to advance to the TOUR Championship that season.
- He won the 2016 FedEx St. Jude Classic for his first TOUR victory. He posted a T6 in his debut at the Zurich Classic in 2015 and finished T20 last year. Berger has three top-10 finishes this season.
More on Pieters
- Belgium native played collegiately at the University of Illinois, where he won the individual NCAA
Championship in 2012.
- 25-year-old has won three European Tour events, represented Belgium at the Olympic Golf in Rio and World Cup, and played as one of Darren Clarke’s four captain’s pick on the 2016 European Ryder Cup team.
- Earned Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR earlier this year on the strength of T2 at the Genesis Open. Finished T4 in last PGA TOUR start at the Masters Tournament. Making first career start at the Zurich Classic.
Brooks Koepka/Chase Koepka
- The Koepka brothers are the only siblings teamed together in this event.
More on Brooks Koepka
- Brooks attended Florida State before turning professional and heading to Europe to play. He joined the PGA TOUR after the 2014 season and earned his lone TOUR victory at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
- At 26 years of age, Brooks has a victory on the PGA TOUR, European Tour, Japan Tour and four wins on the Challenge Tour.
- Member of the winning U.S. Team in the 2016 Ryder Cup. He finished T21 in his lone start in New Orleans in 2014.
- Runner-up at last week’s Valero Texas Open.
More on Chase Koepka
- Chase, 23, attended USF where he exceled, winning a school-best four tournaments.
- Received a sponsor exemption to compete with his brother and will make his PGA TOUR debut in the Zurich Classic.
Russell Knox/Kevin Streelman
- Knox and Streelman are students of Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson, ranked the No. 1 and No. 2 female instructors in America and co-founders of VISION54.
More on Knox
- Knox, from Scotland, began this season with three top-10s and sits No. 32 in the FedExCup standings.
- Won twice on the PGA TOUR in 2015-16, at the WGC-HSBC Champions and Travelers Championship, and qualified for the season-ending TOUR Championship.
More on Streelman
- Two-time PGA TOUR winner’s lone top-10 in 13 starts this season is a T4 at the OHL Classic at
- Making his sixth start in the Zurich Classic.
Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays
- Finau and Summerhays are Utah natives who both advanced to the PGA TOUR via the Web.com Tour.
More on Finau
- Finau won the 2014 Stonebrae Classic on the Web.com Tour which helped him earn PGA TOUR status the following year. Last season, he claimed his first TOUR title with a victory at the Puerto Rico Open.
- Missed the cut in his only previous start in New Orleans in 2015.
- Finished T3 at last week’s Valero Texas Open.
More on Summerhays
- Summerhays qualified for a spot in the 2007 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational when he earned first-team All-American honors at BYU and went on to win the event, becoming the first amateur to win a Web.com Tour title. He couldn’t accept the $126,000 first prize but did earn a full exemption for the remainder of the season and all of 2008. Three days after that win, he made the decision to forego his senior season at BYU and turned professional.
- Joined the PGA TOUR in 2011, in search of his first TOUR victory.
- Making his fifth appearance at the Zurich Classic, his best result being T21 in his last start in 2014.
Several international teams are made up of players from the same country, including;
- Rod Pampling/John Senden, (Australia)
- Angel Cabrera/Julian Etulain (Argentina)
- Mackenzie Hughes/Nick Taylor and David Hearn/Graham DeLaet (Canada)
- Seung-Yul Noh/Byeong Hun An, Si Woo Kim/Sung Kang and K.J. Choi/Charlie Wi (South Korea)
- Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace, Tyrone Van Aswegen/Retief Goosen (South Africa)
The Louisiana Connection
Among those in the field with Louisiana connections:
- Patrick Reed – Won two high school state championships while attending University High in Baton Rouge. Finished T24 in first appearance at Zurich Classic in 2012 but missed cut in both 2013 and 2014. No. 15 in the Official World Ranking. Will partner with another Patrick – Patrick Cantlay – who has two top-three showings in four starts this season.
- Smylie Kaufman – LSU graduate won in his second career start on TOUR at the 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a final-round 61. Father Jeff and mother Pam both played collegiately at LSU. Shot 68-81 at Zurich Classic last year to miss cut in his only previous appearance. Teammate this week is Harold Varner III, 2016 Australian PGA champion.
- Michael Thompson – Former Tulane University undergrad, who transferred to University of Alabama following Hurricane Katrina. Thompson claimed his first career PGA TOUR title in 2013 at The Honda Classic. Teaming with Kiwi Tim Wilkinson this week.
- Andrew Loupe – Baton Rouge native and LSU grad (2011) will be making his fifth start in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans (MC/2011, T52/2014, MC/2015, MC/2016). T10 at Shell Houston Open was lone made-cut in first eight starts this season. Partnering with John Peterson in all-LSU pairing.
- John Peterson – Three-time All-America and two-time All-SEC selection at LSU, where he won twice, including the 2011 NCAA Division I individual championship. His mother, Jan, is a graduate of LSU and two of his siblings also attended LSU. Moved back home to Fort Worth, Texas, in 2014 after living in Baton Rouge, La., following college. T8 in 2012 is best result in four appearances at Zurich Classic. Joins Andrew Loupe in all-LSU team at Zurich Classic.
2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview: Tournament notes
- The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is the penultimate PGA TOUR event for players, not previously eligible, to earn a start in THE PLAYERS in one of three ways: 1) moving into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking; 2) winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans; and 3) moving into the top 10 in the 2016-17 FedExCup standings.
- Since 1990, 16 players have made the Zurich Classic of New Orleans their maiden victory on the PGA TOUR, including eight of the past 12 champions; Brian Stuard (2016), Seung-Yul Noh (2014), Billy Horschel (2013), Jason Dufner (2012), Andres Romero (2008), Nick Watney (2007), Chris Couch (2006) and Tim Petrovic (2005).
- TPC Louisiana is the fifth of 13 TPC Network venues to host PGA TOUR events this season.
- Ben Martin, teaming with Ben Crane this week, holds the TPC Louisiana course record with a bogey-free 10-under 62 in the opening round of the 2014 Zurich Classic.
Stars have come out in 2017
- Nine of the 17 winners in the 2017 calendar year have been inside the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering that week’s event: Justin Thomas (SBS Tournament of Champions/22); Thomas (Sony Open in Hawaii/12); Hideki Matsuyama (Waste Management Phoenix Open/5); Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am/6); Dustin Johnson (Genesis Open/3); Rickie Fowler (The Honda Classic/14); Johnson (WGC-Mexico Championship/1), Johnson (WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play/1), Sergio Garcia (The Masters/11).
Young stars winning
Eleven different players under the age of 30 have accounted for 14 of the 24 PGA TOUR wins through the Valero Texas Open, including a PGA TOUR-record tying (since 1970) seven straight between The RSM Classic in November and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. The under-30 winners in 2016-17 are listed below:
|October 23, 2016||CIMB Classic||Justin Thomas||23 years, 5 months, 24 days|
|October 30, 2016||WGC-HSBC Champions||Hideki Matsuyama||24 years, 8 months, 5 days|
|October 30, 2016||Sanderson Farms Championship||Cody Gribble||26 years, 1 month, 10 days|
|November 20, 2016||The RSM Classic||Mackenzie Hughes||25 years, 11 months, 29 days|
|January 8, 2017||SBS Tournament of Champions||Justin Thomas||23 years, 8 months, 10 days|
|January 15, 2017||Sony Open in Hawaii||Justin Thomas||23 years, 8 months, 17 days|
|January 22, 2017||CareerBuilder Challenge||Hudson Swafford||29 years, 4 months, 13 days|
|January 29, 2017||Farmers Insurance Open||Jon Rahm||22 years, 2 months, 19 days|
|February 5, 2017||Waste Management Phoenix Open||Hideki Matsuyama||24 years, 11 months, 11 days|
|February 12, 2017||AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am||Jordan Spieth||23 years, 6 months, 16 days|
|February 26, 2017||The Honda Classic||Rickie Fowler||28 years, 2 months, 13 days|
|March 12, 2017||Valspar Championship||Adam Hadwin||29 years, 4 months, 10 days|
|April 2, 2017||Shell Houston Open||Russell Henley||27 years, 11 months, 21 days|
|April 16, 2017||RBC Heritage||Wesley Bryan||27 years, 21 days|
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.
The 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview is via PGA TOUR