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Zurich Classic teams a mix of both strategy and pageantry
The two-man teams at the 2017 Zurich Classic will provide golf fans with endless entertainment this week. Here are some highlights our panelists are looking forward to.
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Can't possibly wait until the Ryder Cup for another team golf event? Worry not, golf fans: The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will provide you with the fix you need. Here's everything you need to know about the changes to the regular Tour stop in Louisiana.

1. The Basics

What: The Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Where: TPC Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
When: Thursday to Sunday, April 26-29, 2018
TV schedule (ET):
Thursday: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Friday: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Saturday: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (CBS)

2. History

Zurich Insurance Group came on as the title sponsor in 2005, though the tournament has been an annual event since 1958, when Billy Casper beat Ken Venturi in a playoff to capture the first of what would be 14 Greater New Orleans Open Invitational titles. Before heading to TPC Louisiana in 2005, the tournament was held at English Turn Golf & Country Club for 16 straight years. It has remained since, save for 2006, when damage from Hurricane Katrina forced the event back to English Turn for a year.

3. Format

The 2017 edition was a two-man team event, with two rounds each of foursome and four-ball play. It was the first time the Zurich Classic wasn't a stroke-play event. Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith beat Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a Monday playoff last year. Blixt and Smith are back to defend their title this year.

Eighty teams (160 players) are entered. The top committed players choose their playing partner, provided they have full PGA Tour status or have been invited to play the event on a sponsor exemption.

Rounds one and three will be four-ball (best ball), and rounds two and four will be foursomes (alternate shot). (This is reversed from 2017.) A cut will be made after 36 holes with the top 35 teams, including ties, advancing to the weekend. A new, and fun, wrinkle to this year's edition — teams that advance to the weekend will select their own walk-up music for the 1st tee.

Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer will team up for the second straight year.

Getty Images

4. What's at stake

The winners of the tournament, which has a $7.2 million purse ($1.036 million to each winning player), will earn two-year exemptions on the PGA Tour and be eligible for invitational events like the Players Championship and the Tournament of Champions.

Each player will also receive FedEx Cup points by combining every two positions from the official FedEx Cup point list and splitting them evenly. For example, the winner of the event would receive 500 points and the runner-up 300, so each player on the winning team will receive 400 points (half of the total 800 from first and second; the prize money will be split the same way).

5. The field

Five of the world's top-10 players will tee it up at TPC Louisiana. Notable teams include: Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan, Jason Day and Ryan Ruffels, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay, and Brooks Koepka and Marc Turnesa.

For a complete list of teams, click here.

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