NEW ORLEANS, LA (April 18, 2018)—With four of the top five players and nine of the top 14 in the world entered in the 2018 Zurich Classic, tournament director Steve Worthy judges this year’s field to be at least as good as last year’s—maybe even better.
“Overall, we are extremely pleased with the quality of our field this year, validating that the players have really embraced our team format,” said Worthy. “And this year, we add walkup music on Saturday and Sunday to further increase fan interest and get our players even more involved in the tournament,” Worthy added.
Worthy also announced two more late team entries: former PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker with Sean O’Hair and fan favorite John Daly paired with South African veteran Rory Sabbatini.
“Jimmy was forced to withdraw from last year’s tournament at the last minute when he was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease, so we are grateful his health has returned and he can play with Sean O’Hair this year,” said Worthy.
“John always attracts large galleries wherever he plays, and Rory has had a long successful career, so they will be a popular addition to our field,” Worthy added.
Highlighting the field are four players ranked in the top five in the world: FedExCup leader Justin Thomas (2), Jordan Spieth (3), Jon Rahm (4) and Justin Rose (5).
Following close behind them are 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia (10), 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed (11), Tommy Fleetwood (12), Jason Day (13) and Henrik Stenson (14) for a total of nine of the top 14.
In addition, the field includes Bubba Watson (18), Matt Kuchar (21), Pat Perez (22), Kevin Kisner (24), Rafael Cabrera Bello (25), Charley Hoffman (26), Ian Poulter (29) and Louis Oosthuizen (30) for a total of 14 players ranked among the top 25 and 17 in the top 30. Also playing this year is Jim Furyk, the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
A six-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Walker tied the 36-hole scoring record at the 2016 PGA Championship, which he won by a single stroke over defending champion Jason Day. Walker finished in the top ten in money winnings on TOUR three consecutive years from 2014-16 and made the FedExCup Playoffs last year for the eighth consecutive time, despite his health issues.
His best finish this season was a tie for eighth in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He last played the Zurich Classic in 2013, when he finished eighth.
Walker is a veteran of team play, earning a spot on the 2015 Presidents Cup, the 2016 World Cup and the last two Ryder Cup teams.
Walker’s partner Sean O’Hair is a four-time winner of the PGA TOUR and advanced to last season’s FedExCup Playoffs for the ninth time in his career. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2005.
His best finish this season was a tie for seventh at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He tied for 12th in the 2015 Zurich Classic and recorded two other top-15 finishes in the tournament. He was a member of the 2009 Presidents Cup team.
Daly now plays on the Champions Tour and will be making his first PGA TOUR start this year at the Zurich Classic with Sabbatini. Daly won five titles on the PGA TOUR, two of which were majors—the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 Open Championship.
He posted his first victory on the Champions Tour in his first full season last year, winning the Insperity Invitational.
Sabbatini has won six PGA TOUR titles in his career and tied for fifth in this season’s Valspar Championship. He has also posted three other top-25 finishes this season.
His best finish at the Zurich Classic was a tie for second in 2009.
The veteran from South Africa has played on six World Cup teams and one Presidents Cup team. He was a three-time All-American and NCAA individual runner-up at the University of Arizona, where he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Zurich Classic is the only team tournament on the PGA TOUR season. This year’s 72-hole stroke team play format will feature Four-Ball (best ball) during the first and third rounds and Foursomes (alternate shot) during the second and fourth rounds. The starting field will consist of 80 teams. Following the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 35 teams and ties. In case of a tie after 72 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff using Foursomes (alternate shot) for the first extra hole and Four-ball (best ball) for the second extra hole and alternate each hole thereafter.
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 Taste of the Tournament gala and several charitable golf tournaments. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, Fore!Kids have helped to raise more than $34 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 23-29, 2018 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale. The purse for 2018 totals $7.2 million, with each member of the winning team earning $1,036,800.
Single-day grounds tickets are only $35 and weekly passes are $85. Single day tickets for the two most popular hospitality venues on the PGA TOUR start at $85 for Acme Oyster House and $185 for The Champions Club. Other choices of a suite and specialty venue options are available by calling the Tournament Office at 504-342-3000 or online at www.zurichgolfclassic.com.