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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, the gold and silver medalists at this year’s Olympics, were among the first golfers to sign up for the Zurich Classic, the PGA Tour’s first team event since 1981.
The tournament, to be held in April at T.P.C. Louisiana, outside New Orleans, will feature 80 two-man teams, and both players on the winning team will receive official credit for a victory, the tour said Monday.
Rose outlasted Stenson in the final round at the Rio Games to capture the gold medal. They have also gone 4-2 as partners on the European team at the last two Ryder Cups.
“The addition of a team format adds a new, incredibly exciting element to the event,” said Rose, who has a sponsorship deal with Zurich Insurance Group. “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.”
Jason Day, the world’s top-ranked player, and Rickie Fowler also announced plans to compete as a team.
The event will feature two rounds of foursomes (Thursday and Saturday) and two rounds of four-balls. Tour officials felt it was important to have foursomes, or alternate shot, as part of the format so that both players could contribute.
The winning players will each be exempt for the Tournament of Champions and the PGA Championship, just as they would be for winning a regular PGA Tour event. They will not receive exemptions for the Masters, which will be held three weeks before the Zurich Classic.
Each winner will get 400 FedEx Cup points (splitting the total of the 500 points for first place and the 300 points for second). Using last year as a guide for prize money, each winner would be awarded $1,008,000, with the $1,260,000 for first place last year and the $756,000 for second place combined and then split. The runners-up would split the third- and fourth-place money.
The last official team event was the Walt Disney World Team Championship in 1981.
Players can pick their own partners, provided they have PGA Tour status or receive a sponsor’s exemption.
That creates a field of 160 players, with a cut after the second round to the top 35 ties. In case of a tie, a playoff would be determined using four-balls.
The tour hopes to create more interest and to complement the team format used in the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and the World Cup. The PGA Tour also has tournaments that feature stroke play, match play and modified Stableford scoring (the Barracuda Championship).