Rickie Fowler and Jason Day announced this morning that they will be teaming up in the newly formatted Zurich Classic. The PGA Tour announced Monday that the event (played in April of 2017) will now be a two man team event, as opposed to the traditional stroke play format. Oh, the possibilities.
The format now works something like this, Rounds one and three will be alternate shot, with two and four being best ball. Fans asking for more Ryder Cup style golf, here is your answer. Now just because you might live in the same neighborhood or share a home club with a tour player, don’t think you can weasel your way into the event. Both of the players on each team must have at least some PGA Tour status, and the first two teams committing to the event are filled with heavyweights.
Rickie Fowler released on social media this morning that he and Jason Day will be competing as a team, with Europeans Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson also partnering up in Nola.
Now the PGA Tour has been trying to “spice” the game up and make it more watchable for the average observer, and getting this kind of hype for a traditionally “middle of the road” tournament more than five months in advance is a success. Let’s take a look at a few other teams that we would love to see.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas: Spring Break ’16 take New Orleans? Yes. The two friends would be seen as one of the favorites as Justin Thomas has recently picked up his 2nd PGA Tour win and combining his length with Spieth’s short game wizardry, there would be little doubt that they could take the title.
Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters: Perhaps the two brightest stars from a losing European Ryder Cup squad, McIlroy and Pieters could bring their form from Hazeltine down south, and compete to bring the team title back to the UK.
Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka: Patrick Reed stole the show at the Ryder Cup, and anyone betting against him in a team event might as well just walk away. Keopka had a mighty fine showing of his own in his first Ryder Cup, winning three matches and proving he has the game to be the next great american star. Get out your red, white, and blue because this pairing is as American as it gets.
Regardless of who actually ends up teaming to capture the title at the Zurich, this kind of excitement is what golf needs more of. The European Tour is putting tee boxes on top of hotel roofs (Turkish Airlines Open) to make things more interesting, so the PGA Tour is taking a massive step in the right direction with more team golf. Personally, I can’t wait.