Smith and Leishman will return to Zurich Classic to compete for record purse
NEW ORLEANS — Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman will return this year to defend their title, as the Zurich Classic will offer a record $8.3 million purse, announced Steve Worthy, Fore!Kids Foundation CEO and tournament director.
The tournament will be played April 18-24, 2022 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale. The record $8.3 million purse will earn each member of the winning team $1,199,350.
This year’s purse is nearly a million dollars more than last year’s. After the 2020 tournament was canceled, the 2021 event generated a record $2.3 million in contributions to children’s charities in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge metro areas.
“Cameron was ranked in the top ten in the world until this week on the strength of an excellent season last year and a victory in the opening event this year,” said Worthy. “Marc has also played very well of late, with a tie for third and fourth in the first two events of the fall season, so we expect they will make a very strong defense of their title,” Worthy added.
Australians Leishman and Smith defeated South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in a playoff for the 2021 Zurich Classic title. It was Smith’s second team title at the Zurich Classic, which he won also in a playoff in 2017, the first year of the team format.
Smith won the opening tournament of 2022, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, setting a PGA Tour record for lowest score under par at -34. He is currently ranked 11th in the world, vaulting from 22nd at the end of the 2020-21 season, and eighth in FedExCup standings. He has won three times on the PGA Tour in the last two years following his maiden victory at the Zurich Classic in 2017. In his home country, he won the Australian PGA Championship in consecutive years 2017-18.
He partnered with Leishman in the 2018 ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf and brought his team within two strokes of the win when he holed out for birdie from a greenside bunker on the par-5 14th hole of the match.
He also played on the 2019 Presidents Cup team that lost to the U.S. on the last day in Melbourne.
Leishman has won six times on the PGA Tour, with one title each in the last three seasons. He is currently ranked 35th in the world and 24th in FedExCup. He has qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs 13 consecutive seasons.
He has played on the International Presidents Cup team in the last four competitions. Both he and Cameron Smith represented Australia in the 2020 Olympics.
Leishman was voted Rookie of the Year in 2009 to become the first Australian to win that honor on the PGA Tour.
In 2015, he withdrew from the Masters to be with his wife, who made what was called a
“miraculous” recovery from a series of infections that put her into a coma. He returned to the PGA Tour at the Zurich Classic that year, finishing tied for 28th.
The Zurich Classic is the only team tournament on the PGA TOUR season. Since launching the team format in 2017, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans has drawn some of the highest ranking fields for any regular-season tournament on the PGA TOUR.
In 2021, after cancellation of the 2020 tournament, the Fore!Kids Foundation generated an all-time record $2.3 million in charitable giving for children’s charities in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge metro areas.
Because of its popularity, the Best of the Zurich Classic pass will return in 2022, along with expanded suite options at the 17th and 18th holes. A new Walk-On’s Stadium Club venue will also be introduced.
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 Holiday Auction Fore!Kids and several charitable golf tournaments. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, Fore!Kids has distributed more than $42 million since inception, providing healthcare, education and hope for over 200,000 children each year. More information at http://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 18-24, 2022 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale. Purse for 2022 totals a record $8.3 million, with each member of the winning team earning $1,199,350.
Day-specific grounds tickets are only $40. In addition, the Best of the Zurich Class Pass offers a variety of dishes from some of New Orleans most famous restaurants at three locations across the TPC course starting at $175 per day. Additional ticket options are available by calling the Tournament Office at 504-342-3000 or online at www.zurichgolfclassic.com.
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