NEW ORLEANS, LA (April 6, 2018)—Australian Jason Day, who ranked #1 in the world for 51 weeks, and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who has climbed to #12 in the world, have formed teams to play in the 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
Day, currently ranked 11th worldwide, has paired with Ryan Ruffels, an American who started his golf career in Australia after his parents moved there to work in tennis.
Fleetwood will team with Chris Paisley, who plays mainly on the European Tour and is currently ranked eighth in the Race to Dubai, that circuit’s equivalent of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup. Both Fleetwood and Paisley will make their first starts in the Zurich Classic this year.
“We are always glad to have Jason back to our tournament, and we welcome Tommy Fleetwood in his debut here in New Orleans,” Worthy said. “Both their partners are rising young players who mainly compete internationally, which adds further interest to our fans,” Worthy added.
Day has claimed 11 PGA TOUR titles, including the 2015 PGA Championship. This season he won the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open and finished second in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
His titles include some of the TOUR’s most prestigious: two World Golf Championships, the PLAYERS Championship and two FedExCup playoff tournaments. The two playoff wins came in a stretch at the end of 2015 when he won four tournaments in the space of six weeks.
He has recorded three top 10 finishes in the Masters, including a second in 2011 and a third in 2013. He has also scored in the top 10 five times in the U.S. Open, once in The Open Championship and four times in the PGA Championship, in addition to his win there.
He ranks 15th in all–time PGA TOUR money winnings with more than $40 million.
Day has played for the International team in the last four Presidents Cup competitions, and played in the 2013 World Cup as well.
He has come close to winning the Zurich Classic twice: he tied for fourth in 2015 and fifth in the rain-shortened 2016 tournament. Last year he paired with Rickie Fowler in the initial year of team format at the Zurich Classic.
Day’s teammate Ruffels turned pro at age 17 and currently plays on the Latin American Tour. He teamed with Kyle Stanley to finish tied for 29th in last year’s Zurich Classic.
Although Ruffels was born in Florida, he grew up playing golf in Australia. He was the 2014 Australian Boys Amateur champion.
Ruffels’ parents, Ray Ruffels and Anna Maria Fernandez, were professional tennis players. His father won 16 doubles titles throughout his career, and he reached the Australian Open singles semifinals three times. With Billy Jean King as his partner, he reached the mixed doubles finals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1978. His mother won five WTA doubles titles.
Fleetwood has won six times internationally and claimed a fourth on the Honda Classic earlier this season on the PGA TOUR. Last season he finished second in the WGC-Mexico Championship and fourth in the U.S. Open.
He has competed all over the world on the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Japan Golf Tour, the Southern Africa Tour and the Asian PGA.
As an amateur, he competed in the 2009 Walker Cup, and later as a professional he represented England in the 2013 Seve Trophy.
Paisley is currently ranked eighth on the European Tour. He won the BMW SA Open earlier this season with his wife Kerrie as his caddy. In addition, he claimed two fifth place finishes at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
He competed collegiately at the University of Tennessee. He played in the 2009 Walker Cup, the 2008 St. Andrews Trophy and the 2009 Palmer Cup.
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 the Four-Ball format.
Already committed to the tournament are Justin Thomas, ranked second in the world; Jon Rahm, ranked third; Sergio Garcia, the reigning Masters champion; Bubba Watson, who has won twice this season, playing with Matt Kuchar; Ian Poulter, who in Houston to qualify for the Masters; U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk; 2016 Olympic medalists Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson and Patrick Reed, known for his intensity in team competition.
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 has 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 Westwego. 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 suite and specialty venue options are available by calling the Tournament Office at 504-342-3000 or online at www.zurichgolfclassic.com.