The First Look: Zurich Classic

FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler returns to action after his maiden major title at the Masters and will pair up with Ryan Palmer to lead the field at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the PGA TOUR’s only full-field team event.

International Presidents Cup teammates Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman return to Louisiana to defend their 2021 title.

FIELD NOTES: After Scheffler’s Masters title – his fourth TOUR win in six starts – he’s looking for more at TPC Louisiana. Scheffler will team with fellow Texan Ryan Palmer, who has made a bit of a habit in partnering with some of the game’s top names. He won in 2019 alongside Jon Rahm… A pair of the game’s young stars are together in Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland… There is plenty of European Ryder Cup firepower at the Zurich Classic, with teams including Danny Willett and Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry and Ian Poulter, and Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose… Reigning FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay is teaming up with fellow Californian Xander Schauffele… Two-time winner in New Orleans (once as an individual and once as part of a team) Billy Horschel is again playing with LSU product Sam Burns… Jay Haas will tee it up on the PGA TOUR for the first time since 2010. He’s playing with his son, Bill.

FEDEXCUP: Winners receive 400 FedExCup points each.

COURSE: TPC Louisiana, par 72, 7,425 yards. The Pete Dye design features 100 bunkers and stretches over 250 acres of wetlands. Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson served as design consultants. Located just 15 minutes from downtown New Orleans, it’s one of the TOUR’s most scoreable courses despite its water-logged layout.

STORYLINES: This marks the fifth year the event has been played as a team format. Duos will play best-ball on Thursday and Saturday and alternate shot on Friday and Sunday… Winning duos will once again split the FedExCup points usually reserved for the winner (500 points) and second-place finisher (300 points), for 400 points each … Cameron Smith is hoping his success around TPC Louisiana will continue again in 2022. Smith, who has won twice this season including THE PLAYERS Championship, is a two-time winner at the Zurich Classic with two different partners… There are plenty of close- friend pairs (Max Homa and Talor Gooch), same-college pairs (Harry Higgs and Austin Smotherman), countrymen (Canadians Adam Hadwin and Adam Svensson) and used-to-live-together pairs (Will Zalatoris and Davis Riley), which makes this event so fun.

72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Cameron Smith / Jonas Blixt (2017), Kevin Kisner / Scott Brown (2017).

ALTERNATE SHOT RECORD: 65, Jon Rahm / Ryan Palmer (Round 2, 2019)

BEST BALL RECORD: 60, Retief Goosen / Tyrone van Aswegen (Round 2, 2017), Kevin Kisner / Scott Brown (Round 4, 2017), Chez Reavie / Lucas Glover (Round 1, 2018), Marty Dou / Xinjun Zhang (Round 1, 2018) , Brian Gay / Rory Sabbatini (Round 1, 2019)

LAST TIME: The Australian duo of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith won the Zurich Classic in a playoff over a pair of South Africans in Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. It was Smith’s second victory at the TOUR’s lone full-field team event – he won in 2017 with Jonas Blixt. The win came on the second playoff hole after Oosthuizen drove it in the water and couldn’t convert a bogey effort. It was a dramatic back-and-forth between the two teams, paired together in the final round. The South Africans had a one-shot lead through 54 holes but shot 71 in the alternate-shot final round. Leishman and Smith shot a 2-under 70. Each team bogeyed the penultimate hole of the tournament and made par on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff. Richy Werenski and Peter Uihlein shot an impressive alternate-shot 67 on Sunday to vault from 18th to third. Billy Horschel and Sam Burns, Keith Mitchell and Brandt Snedeker, and Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele finished tied for fourth. Defending champs Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm finished seventh.


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