Olympic medalists sign up for new PGA Tour team event
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Olympic gold and silver medalists Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were among the first to sign up for the PGA Tour's first team event since 1981.
The Zurich Classic outside New Orleans will feature 80 two-man teams, and both players will receive credit for an official victory, the tour said Monday.
Rose outlasted Stenson in the final round at Rio to capture the gold medal. They also have gone 4-2 as partners in the last two Ryder Cups.
''The addition of a team format adds a new, incredibly exciting element to the event,'' said Rose, who has a sponsorship deal with Zurich. ''Henrik and I are very excited to tee it up together in April, and hopefully we can continue our longstanding chemistry and success in team formats.''
Jason Day, the world's No. 1 player, and Rickie Fowler also announced plans to compete as a team.
The Zurich Classic is April 27-30 at the TPC Louisiana. It will feature two rounds of foursomes (Thursday and Saturday) and two rounds of fourballs. Tour officials felt it was important to have foursomes (alternate shot) as part of the format so that both players contributed.
The winning team will each get credit for an official PGA Tour victory and be exempt into the Tournament of Champions and the PGA Championship, just like a regular PGA Tour event. It does not include an exemption to the Masters, which is held three weeks before the Zurich Classic.
Prize money and FedEx Cup points will be distributed based on sharing points for two positions. Using last year's prize money, first place ($1,260,000) and second place ($756,000) would be combined and then split, awarding each player $1,008,000. The runner-ups would split third- and fourth-place money. For the FedEx Cup, because first place is worth 500 points and second place is worth 300 points, each winner would get 400 points.
The last official team event was the Walt Disney World Team Championship in 1981.
Players can pick their own partners, provided they have PGA Tour status or receive a sponsor's exemption.
That creates a field of 160 players, with a cut after the second round to the top 35 ties. In case of a tie, a playoff would be determined using fourballs.
The tour hopes to create more interest and to complement the team format used in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and World Cup. The PGA Tour now has stroke play, match play, modified Stableford scoring (Barracuda Championship) and now a team format.