Jordan Spieth, ranked fifth in the world, becomes the seventh top 10 ranked player to enter a team in the 2017 Zurich Classic, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
Spieth, who has won nine times in less than five years on the PGA TOUR, will partner with Ryan Palmer, who has scored three TOUR victories himself.
“We are thrilled by the response from the players and the depth of the field,” said Worthy. “Our fans and television viewers will be treated to some intense and exciting golf in a format that we rarely get to see,” Worthy added.
Spieth most recently tied for 11th at the Masters, where he has won once and claimed runner-up twice in only four appearances. So far this year, he has won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and has also posted a third in the Sony Open in Hawaii and a ninth in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He currently ranks sixth in FedExCup points and fifth in earnings on the PGA TOUR.
In addition to his nine wins on the PGA TOUR, he has won the Australian Open twice, joining champions such as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Greg Norman as multiple winners of that tournament. In 2015, he won the Valspar Championship, the Masters, the U.S. Open and the TOUR Championship to become ranked number one in the world. He held his top ranking for a total of 26 weeks.
Spieth has played on the last two Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams and was a member of the Walker Cup team in 2011 when he was a freshman at University of Texas. He is the only golfer besides Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Junior Amateur twice. As a freshman at Texas, he helped his team win the 2011 NCAA championship and was named All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year.
His playing partner Palmer is a fellow Texan who has won three times on the PGA TOUR, most recently at the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii. He finished tied for fourth in the 2012 Zurich Classic when his third round score of 64 tied the course record at TPC Louisiana.
He advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs last year for the ninth time in 10 seasons. He just barely missed qualifying for the TOUR Championship, finishing 34th after posting a tie for fourth in the BMW Championship the week before.
The latest commitments further strengthen what is arguably the strongest field in history for the Zurich Classic, with seven players ranked in the world’s top 10, nine in the top 20 and 13 in the top 25.
Top ten players entered include Jason Day (third), Hideki Matsuyama (fourth), Spieth (fifth), Henrik Stenson (sixth), Justin Rose (eighth), Rickie Fowler (ninth) and Justin Thomas (tenth).
Day, ranked number one in the world for 47 weeks, is teaming with Fowler. Masters runner-up and Olympic gold medal winner Rose has paired with Olympic silver medalist Stenson in this year’s unique team format.
The new 72-hole stroke play format will feature Foursomes (alternate shot) during the first and third rounds and Four-Ball (best ball) during the second and fourth rounds. The starting field will consist of a field of 80 teams. Following the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 35 teams and ties at the 35th position. In case of a tie after 72 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff using the Four-Ball format.
About Fore!Kids Foundation:
Since 1958, the Fore!Kids Foundation has raised money to fund children’s service organizations through golf events like the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Golf Ball Gala and several charitable golf tournaments. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, Fore!Kids has helped to raise more than $32 million to date for children’s charities in metro New Orleans and Baton Rouge. More information at www.forekidsfoundation.com.
About the Zurich Classic of New Orleans:
Televised in more than 224 countries and territories, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans generates a significant economic impact on the city of New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana. Independent research has shown that the tournament generates spending of more than $40 million within the local economy and garners $33 million in positive national and international media exposure for both the city and state throughout the year beyond the four days of competition.
The tournament will be played April 24-30, 2017 at TPC Louisiana in Westwego. Purse for 2017 totals $7.1 million, with each member of the winning team earning $1,022,400.
Single-day grounds tickets are only $25 each in advance and $35 each the week of the tournament starting April 24. Weekly passes are $75 and choices of suite and specialty venue options are available by calling the Tournament Office at 504-342-3000or online at www.zurichgolfclassic.com.