As the top players on the PGA Tour compete this weekend in the Zurich Classic, fans watching on national TV will be treated to an exciting new format for professional tournament golf. For only the second time since the Walt Disney World National Team Championship in 1981, team play will take place on the PGA Tour. Two-person teams are competing in New Orleans to become Zurich Classic champions.
Although this format will be new to most viewers, fans of The Invitational Shootout have enjoyed the non-stop excitement of two-person teams since the Tournament debuted in 1994. For the past 24 years, The Shootout has been the top two-person golf scramble in the Midwest. Now the PGA Tour is using the same recipe that Shootout fans have become accustomed to since Mike Roach and Walter Lis won the inaugural event at the Links at Carillon in 1994.
“I’ll be honest” said Shootout Competition Committee Chairman and 2004 Champion Joe Hill. “I’m surprised it took the PGA so long to follow our lead and create a tournament that uses the same rules, structure and format that we’ve perfected over the years. The Shootout pioneered this type of event and it’s actually quite flattering to see the PGA Tour is now using everything we created.”
“Make no mistake, the Zurich Classic has a long way to go before it can match The Invitational Shootout” said Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mick McDonnell. “It’s nice to see Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay on the same team, but do you think they could compete with our 2016 Champions Mike Howley and Ray Shinkle? I seriously doubt it. A two-person scramble is an entirely different beast and typically takes years for golfers to learn how to excell in this type of format.”
Top teams this week in the Zurich Classic include Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay as well as Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar. How would some of these teams measure up to the best teams at The Invitational Shootout?
“Obviously we would be happy to host any of the teams from the Zurich Classic at the Invitational Shootout” said Joe Hill. “However, just because they’re PGA Tour players doesn’t mean they would automatically be wearing wool jackets in the Champions Ring of Honor. I’ll guarantee that a living legend like King George Les wouldn’t be even slightly intimidated by Patrick Reed or Bubba Watson.”
Whether the two-person format at the 2018 Zurich Classic will continue be popular is still unknown. What we do know is the Invitational Shootout will continue to break new ground this year and in the future as the premier two-person scramble golf tournament in the Midwest.