New York - Rio Olympic champion Justin Rose and runner-up
Henrik Stenson will partner for next year's US PGA Zurich Classic of New
Orleans, which announced Monday it will switch to a two-man team format
starting next year.
The event has been won in the past by such stars as Jack
Nicklaus, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Byron Nelson, Lee
Westwood, K.J. Choi, Vijay Singh and Rose in 2015.
"The Zurich Classic is already a special tournament for
me," Rose said. "The addition of a team format adds a new, incredibly
exciting element to the event. Henrik and I are very excited to tee it up
together in April, and hopefully we can continue our longstanding chemistry and
success in team formats."
Both have been stalwarts for Europe in the Ryder Cup and
their exciting last-day duel for gold in August electrified the first Olympic
men's golf competition since 1904.
The US PGA Tour policy board changed the event format to two
rounds of foursomes and two of four-ball starting with the 2017 edition of the
tournament, set for April 27-30 at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans.
Among the duos to defeat will be the Rose-Stenson pairing
and world number one Jason Day of Australia teaming with US star Rickie Fowler.
"I've loved being a part of team events throughout my
amateur, collegiate and now professional career," said Fowler. "I'm
so excited that the tour and Zurich are making this part of our schedule and
can't wait to tee it up with Jason in April."
American Brian Stuard defeated compatriot Jamie Lovemark and
South Korean An Byeong-Hun in a playoff last May for the final solo title.
The new 72-hole stroke-play format will feature foursomes
(alternate shot) in the first and third rounds and four-ball (best ball) during
the second and fourth rounds.
A field of 80 teams will be cut to the low 35 pairs and ties
after two rounds. A sudden-death four-ball playoff will be used as a playoff to
decide the champions.