AVONDALE, La. – Tournament officials made a slight tweak to the format for this year’s Zurich Classic.
Instead of having the two-man teams compete in fourballs (best ball) during the final round, players will now play alternate shot on Sunday.
That means fewer birdies and roars, but the Tour is hoping that the move will create more strategy and volatility – leaders likely won’t be able to run away from the pack, while the contenders have more of a chance with a good round.
Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith teamed up to win last year’s event at 27 under. Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown fired a 60 on Sunday to force a playoff, but for much of the day it was a two-team race.
“There could be volatility,” Jim Furyk said. “It just might come in a different fashion.”
“There’ll be a lot more hold-on as opposed to catch-up,” David Duval said.
Fourballs will be played during the first and third rounds, while the alternate-shot format is used Friday and Sunday. That'll speed up play Sunday, but it also eases some of the concerns from last year, because now players can ease into the flow of the tournament by playing best ball first.
“It’s a little more comfortable, with two balls in play,” Furyk said.
One of the drawbacks? The Zurich has its best field in tournament history, with 10 of the top 14 players in the world, and those stars will only hit half the shots on Sunday. That’s not ideal for either the fans at TPC Louisiana or those watching at home.
“That’s sort of a bummer,” Billy Horschel said. “They had success last year, but they’re trying to make a little tweak and see if it’s any better. If not, they can go back to the old way.”