After a successful debut in 2017, the Zurich Classic returns this week with the only two-man team format on the PGA Tour. Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith were the inaugural winners of the pairs format, outlasting Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown a year ago.
Judged by the strength of the field, the two-man format is appealing to the game’s top players. Six of the current world’s top 10 players are in the field, along with No. 11 Patrick Reed making his first appearance since becoming The Masters champion early this month. He’s teamed with world No. 34 Patrick Cantlay.
Three teams in the field will include pairings of players in the world’s current top 25 — No. 5 Justin Rose and No. 15 Henrik Stenson, No. 10 Sergio Garcia and No. 25 Rafael Cabreba Bello, and No. 18 Bubba Watson and No. 21 Matt Kuchar.
Another significant storyline is the return of reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who has been out with a wrist injury since early January. Koepka, still at No. 9 in the world rankings, will team up with Marc Turnesa.
Two of the most popular young players in the game are also in the Zurich field, with world No. 2 Justin Thomas teaming with Bud Cauley and world No. 3 Jordan Spieth pairing with Ryan Palmer.
Here are additional details about what to look for this week in New Orleans.
Tournament: Zurich Classic
Dates: April 26-29, 2018
Where: New Orleans, La.
Course: TPC Louisiana
Distance: Par 72, 7,425 yards
Architect: Pete Dye
Format: 72-holes, best-ball format Thursday and Saturday, alternate-shot format Friday and Sunday, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $1,036,800 each player
Defending Champions: Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith
Marquee Players: Blixt/Smith, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia/Rafael Cabrera Bello, Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Jon Rahm/Wesley Bryan, Tommy Fleetwood/Chris Paisley, Brooks Koepka/Marc Turnesa, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly
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