Brooks Koepka headlines the field at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the rejuvenated two-man team event, as the No. 3-ranked player in the world.
His teammate for the second time in three years will be his younger brother, Chase, a former European Tour player who currently holds no status on the PGA Tour, but could become a member with a two-year exemption should the pair take home the trophy this week.
The 160-man event is made up of the top 80 players on the PGA Tour’s priority ranking list and their choice of a partner, so long as that partner has some kind of PGA Tour status or has garnered a sponsor’s exemption. Chase received the latter from Steve Worthy, the tournament director and Fore!Kids Foundation CEO.
“Brooks is coming off a career season last year that really started with his return to play at the Zurich Classic and finished with two majors and a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team,” Worthy said, according to Fox8Live.com. “Chase was playing the European Challenge Tour when he entered the 2017 Zurich Classic with his older brother and went on to earn his European Tour card the same year.”
The Koepka brothers finished in a tie for fifth place in the event in 2017.
— Zurich Classic (@Zurich_Classic) March 21, 2019
While Chase’s inclusion — he is currently ranked No. 927 in the Official World Golf Rankings — has rubbed some inside the ropes the wrong way, his sponsor’s exemption status should pull that controversial tag from his head. Others in the field are further down the OWGR than the younger Koepka, most notably Dru Love, son of Davis Love III, who is ranked 1,246.
Other high-profile teams include Jason Day and Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood, defending champions Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy, Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes and Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay.
The event will take place over the normal four-day time period with a mixed format — best ball on Thursday and Saturday and alternate shot on Friday and Sunday. The 36-hole cut will include the top-35 teams, plus ties.
The spoils for the victors are very similar to winning a “regular” PGA Tour event — a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, spots in the PGA Championship, The Players Championship, the Tournament of Champions and other invitational events, as well as FedEx Cup points.