Rose to partner Stenson as format spices up tournament

NEW YORK • Rio Olympic champion Justin Rose and runner-up Henrik Stenson will pair up for next year's USPGA Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which announced on Monday it will switch to a two-man team format starting next year.

The event has been won in the past by such stars as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Byron Nelson, Lee Westwood, K.J. Choi, Vijay Singh and Rose last year.

"The Zurich Classic is already a special tournament for me," the Englishman said. "The addition of a team format adds a new, incredibly exciting element to the event.

"Henrik and I are very excited to tee it up together in April, and hopefully we can continue our longstanding chemistry and success in team formats."

Both have been stalwarts for Europe in the Ryder Cup and their exciting last-day duel for gold in August electrified the first Olympic men's golf competition since 1904.

The USPGA Tour policy board changed the event format to two rounds of foursomes and two of four-ball starting with next year's edition of the tournament, set for April 27-30 at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans.

Another duo to watch will be world No. 1 Jason Day of Australia and US star Rickie Fowler.

"I've loved being a part of team events throughout my amateur, collegiate and now professional career," said Fowler.

"I'm so excited that the tour and Zurich are making this part of our schedule and can't wait to tee it up with Jason in April."

American Brian Stuard defeated compatriot Jamie Lovemark and South Korean An Byeong Hun in a play-off last May for the final solo title.

The new 72-hole strokeplay format will feature foursomes (alternate shot) in the first and third rounds and four-ball (better ball) in the second and fourth rounds.

A field of 80 teams will be cut to the low 35 pairs and ties after two rounds. A sudden-death four-ball play-off will be used as a play-off to decide the champions.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Rose to partner Stenson as format spices up tournament'. Print Edition | Subscribe