Major winners Harrington, Dufner form teams for Zurich Classic
Harrington teams with fellow Irishman Shane Lowry and Jason Dufner pairs with Pat Perez, ranked 22nd in the world
NEW ORLEANS — Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington will team with fellow Irish golfer Shane Lowry in the 2018 Zurich Classic, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
Jason Dufner, who won his first PGA TOUR title at the 2012 Zurich Classic and went on to win the 2013 PGA Championship, has teamed with Pat Perez for this year’s tournament, Worthy reported.
“Padraig and Shane add great international flavor, so we are pleased they are attracted to the unique team format of our event,” said Worthy. “And we are always glad to welcome back former champion Jason Dufner, who finished tied for fifth in last year’s tournament,” added Worthy.
Harrington won the 2007 Open Championship, then came back the next year to win both the 2008 Open Championship and the PGA Championship. He also finished tied for fourth in the 2008 Zurich Classic and finished that season eighth in money winnings.
He has won a total of six PGA TOUR titles and 20 international tournaments in his career.
Harrington has established a reputation as one of Europe’s most active team players. He has earned a place on the European Ryder Cup team six times and on the World Cup 11 times consecutively from 1996 through 2006. He also played in four Seve Cup competitions and four Dunhill Cup contests. He represented Ireland in the 2016 Olympics. As an amateur, he played on the winning Walker Cup team against the U.S. in 1985.
He is currently playing the PGA TOUR on a medical exemption after an elbow injury cut short his 2017 season.
His best finishes in the Zurich Classic were a tie for fourth in 2008 and a tie for ninth in 2005.
Harrington’s teammate Shane Lowry started playing a full schedule on the PGA TOUR just three years ago. He won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2015 and has claimed two European Tour titles.
Lowry’s best finish this season was a tie for 4th in the Houston Open. He tied for second in the 2016 U.S. Open and tied for ninth in the 2014 Open Championship.
He has played in two World Cups and one Eurasia Cup. Before turning professional, he won the Irish Amateur Closed Championship and was a member of the winning Irish team in the European Amateur Team Championship in 2007 and 2008.
Dufner has won five times on the PGA TOUR, starting with his 2012 victory in the Zurich Classic. His win here launched him on a torrid streak when he won the Byron Nelson Championship in the next tournament he played, then second in the Crowne Plaza Invitational the following week and a tie for fourth in the U.S. Open the next month. He went on to post four more top-10 finishes that season to place fourth on the money list in 2012.
He won the PGA Championship the next year in 2013. This season, he has posted three top-20 finishes.
He played on the 2013 Presidents Cup team and the 2012 Ryder Cup team.
Perez has won three PGA TOUR titles, including this year’s CIMB Classic. He currently ranks 22nd in the world on the strength of a tie for fourth in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a tie for fifth in the CJ Cup Nine Bridges to go with his victory at the CIMB Classic.
He came back strong in 2017 from an injury the year before to post a victory at the OHL Classic and earned his first start in the TOUR Championship, when he finished 16th.
He was a member of Arizona State’s 1996 NCAA Championship team and won the 1993 Junior World title over Tiger Woods, who finished fourth.
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.
Already committed to the tournament are: new Masters champion Patrick Reed; FedExCup leader Justin Thomas, ranked second in the world; Jon Rahm, ranked fourth in the world; Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion; Bubba Watson, who has won twice this season and will be paired with 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar; 2016 Olympic gold and silver winners Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson playing as a team again and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk.
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. 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.
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