FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW ORLEANS, LA (April 20, 2018)—Current U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who has not played a competitive round since January due to a wrist injury, will return to the PGA TOUR at the 2018 Zurich Classic, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
Koepka will partner with Marc Turnesa, who has won once on the PGA TOUR and for the last several years has played mostly on the Web.com Tour. Both Koepka and Turnesa are members of Medalist Golf Club in Hob Sound, FL.
“The addition of Brooks really puts the icing on the cake for our field,” said Worthy. “That gives our field the current holders of all four major titles and 10 of the top 14 in the world,” Worthy added.
Koepka enjoyed his most successful year on TOUR in 2017, winning the U.S. Open by four strokes at Erin Hill. He also posted top-15 finishes at the Masters (tied for 11th); the Open Championship (tied for sixth) and the PGA Championship (tied for 13th). He ended the season with a sixth at the TOUR Championship to finish 10th in FedExCup points and eighth in money winnings.
He started the 2017-18 season successfully with a tie for second in the WGC-HSBC Champions before a wrist injury sidelined him since January.
Playing with his brother Chase in the Zurich Classic’s inaugural team format last year, he finished tied for fifth. He also tied for 21st in the 2014 Zurich Classic, playing as a non-member on the PGA TOUR.
He made the 2016 Ryder Cup, where we posted a 3-1 record, and the 2017 Presidents Cup, when he went 2-2, to help the U.S. teams win both titles.
Koepka played collegiately for Florida State, where he was a four-time All-American. He took an unusual path to the PGA TOUR, playing his first year as a pro fulltime in Europe, where he won three times on the Challenge Tour to earn an immediate promotion to the European Tour.
In 2014, he played both the European Tour and a limited schedule on the PGA TOUR, where he earned enough non-member FedExCup points to earn his TOUR card for 2014-15. In 2015, his first full year on the TOUR, he enjoyed a breakout season with a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and seven other top-10 finishes.
Koepka's teammate Turnesa won the 2008 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children’s Open.
Turnesa comes from a deep and successful golf family. His great-uncle Jim was the 1952 PGA Championship and his grandfather Mike was a six-time winner on the PGA TOUR, with a second-place finish to Ben Hogan in the 1948 PGA Championship. Mike was one of seven brothers, six of whom played on the PGA TOUR. One of those, Joe, was a 15-time PGA TOUR winner. The only brother who didn't turn professional was Willie, the 1938 and 1948 U.S. Amateur champion and 1947 British Amateur winner.
Koepka’s entry to the 2018 Zurich Classic gives the tournament six players ranked in the top 10 in the world: FedExCup leader Justin Thomas (2), Jordan Spieth (3), Jon Rahm (4) and Justin Rose (5), Koepka (9) and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia (10).
Following close behind them are 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed (11), Tommy Fleetwood (12), Jason Day (13) and Henrik Stenson (14) for a total of 10 players in 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 15 players ranked among the top 25 and 18 in the top 30. Also playing this year are Jim Furyk, the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, and Steve Stricker, the 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup captain.
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 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 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.