The Zurich Classic will have a team format, but no world ranking points -- for now
The 2017 Zurich Classic will have a team format, but no world ranking points. At least, for now.
As first reported by the AP's Doug Ferguson, the Official World Golf Ranking board recently denied a PGA Tour request to reward points at this year's event. Golf Digest spoke to tournament director Steve Worthy, who confirmed the decision. And while Worthy was disappointed by the result from what he called "an ongoing process," he wasn't shocked.
"We knew there would be conversations (when we switched to the team format). We accepted it and we agreed," Worthy said. "I think they struggled to figure out what was the most accurate way to assign points when you've got a teammate. . . . I hope questions like this can be revisited down the road."
Worthy also hopes the lack of world ranking points won't negatively affect a field that's already gotten some big-name commitments, most notably from the team of current World No. 1 Jason Day and Rickie Fowler and Ryder Cup duo Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose.
"I’ve not heard that. That’s not been mentioned by any of the players," said Worthy, who previously told nola.com the team event will at least get a three-year run until Zurich's contract as title sponsor runs out. "We're very confident it's going to be a very good field."
In fact, Worthy said one star told him he'd actually prefer it if world ranking points weren't awarded, because he didn't want his rank to be affected by the play of someone else. The OWGR, which was introduced in 1986, has never awarded points for a team event.
While there are no world ranking points being offered this year, there are plenty of other rewards being offered at the PGA Tour's first official team event since 1981. The $7.1 million purse puts it easily on the high side of a regular tour event (this week's Genesis Open at Riviera, for instance, has a $7 million purse), and the winning team members will each earn 400 FedEx Cup points (the average of the points earned by a winner -- 500 -- and runner-up -- 300 -- in a typical tour event) and get a two-year exemption on tour.
As for the tournament's format, it will be a mix of foursomes (alternate shot) and four-balls, similar to the Ryder Cup. The event, which will take place April 27-30 at TPC Louisiana, will feature 80 two-man teams, 35 of which will make the cut.
"All the players I’ve talked to have been very excited," Worthy said. "They’re thrilled about the format and they're already talking about the alternate shot and who will tee off on the odd holes and who will tee off on the even holes."