Golf is notoriously an individual sport with few exceptions, but one of them is this weekend as players head to New Orleans and TPC Louisiana for the 2022 Zurich Classic.
There are 80 teams of two for a total of 160 golfers participating, with all teams playing 36 holes on Thursday and Friday before a cut to the best 33 teams and ties. Those T33 and better will play the weekend with the same format.
On Thursday and Saturday teams will play a best-ball format sometimes called four-ball. Each golfer will play their own ball from the tee into the hole, but only the best score between the two players on a team will count. This allows for more aggressive play by golfers, and generally leads to lower scores than you’d see during a regular PGA event.
On Friday and Sunday, teams will play an alternate shot format, sometimes called foursomes. This means one member of the team will hit the tee shot on the odd-numbered holes, and the other on the even-numbered holes. But unlike best-ball, there’s no safety net here and teams have to play a bit safer since there’s only one ball going from the tee to the cup.
Also keep in mind players at the elite level of professional golf tend to be very particular about the brand of ball they use. You’ll likely see Titleist ProV1 guys looking to team up with other users of that same ball, just as TaylorMade TP5 users would also prefer to play together.
Other than that, it’s just like every other PGA Tour event. The low score wins, and any playoff will be foursomes on the first hole, four-ball on the second, and continue alternating.
What the winners receive
And as far as winner goodies, it’s pretty close a regular Tour event. Both members of the winning team receive a Tour exemption through the end of the 2023-2024 season, a spot in the May’s PGA Championship and the Tour’s invitational events (American Express, Genesis, The Memorial, Arnold Palmer), as well as the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions and The Players at TPC Sawgrass.
The winning team also splits what would normally be first- and second-place earnings, which is 18% of the $8.3 million prize pool to the winner, and 10.9% for second place using the Tour’s normal purse breakdown. So each winner will receive $1,199,350, and the champions split the FedExCup points as well: First place would normally get 500 and second place 300, so both winners will take home 400 each.
The only downsides of this as compared to winning a normal PGA Tour stop: There are no Masters exemptions for the winners, and no Official World Golf Ranking points will be on offer.