Zurich Classic of New Orleans Golf Tournament

Fact and figures - plus trivia - about the PGA Tour tournament

Cameron Smith of Australia and Jonas Blixt of Sweden react after putting in to win in a sudden-death playoff during a continuation of the final round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on May 1, 2017 in Avondale, Louisiana.
Cameron Smith (left) and Jonas Blixt celebrate victory in the 2017 Zurich Classic, the first after the tournament switched to a team format. Marianna Massey/Getty Images

This tournament has been around for a long time, and been known by many different names. But there has always been one constant: New Orleans. Now called the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the tournament was first played in 1938. With the exception of a gap in the 1940s and '50s, this event has been played ever since in the Crescent City.

Switch to Team Format in 2017
The Zurich Classic switched from stroke play to a team format beginning in 2017.

The 2-man teams play two rounds of foursomes and two rounds of fourball, with a cut from 80 teams to 35 teams following the second round. When the switch happened, the tournament became the first official PGA Tour event since the 1981 Walt Disney World National Team Championship to use a team format.

The schedule is this:

  • Round 1: Best ball (aka, fourball)
  • Round 2: Alternate shot (aka, foursomes)
  • Round 3: Best ball
  • Round 4: Alternate shot

Not sure about those formats? See:

2018 Tournament
The team of Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy eked out a one-stroke victory. They did it by birdying the first two holes of the back nine during the alternate-shot final round, then parring the final seven holes.

2017 Zurich Classic
Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith became the first team champions in the tournament's new 2-man-team era. Blixt/Smith defeated Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown on the fourth playoff hole with a birdie, after the two sides matched pars on the first three extra holes.

Both teams finished at 27-under 261; Kisner forced the playoff by chipping in for eagle on the 72nd hole. It was the third career PGA Tour win for Blixt and the first for Smith.

2016 Tournament
Bad weather over several days forced the tournament not only into a Monday finish, but into shortening to just 54.

And Brian Stuard wound up the winner in a 3-way playoff. Stuard, Jamie Lovemark and Byeong-Hun An finished at 15-under 201. An dropped out after the first playoff hole, then Stuard won it with a birdie on the second extra hole.

Official Web site
PGA Tour tournament site

PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans Records:

  • Overall: Team format - 261, Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith, 2017.  Individual stroke play - 262, Chip Beck, 1988
  • Tournament course record at TPC Louisiana: Team format - 60, Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown, 2017; Tryone van Aswegen/Retief Goosen, 2017. Individual stroke play - 62, Ben Martin, 2014

PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans Golf Courses:

The tournament's current home is TPC Louisiana, one of the PGA Tour-owned TPC courses. The Zurich Classic moved to TPC Louisiana in 2005, but the event was forced off the course in 2006 due to damage from Hurricane Katrina. It returned in 2007.

The tournament's host courses in its history are:

  • City Park Golf Club, New Orleans - 1938-46, 1948, 1958-62
  • Lakewood Country Club, New Orleans - 1963-1988
  • English Turn Golf & Country Club, New Orleans - 1989-2004, 2006
  • TPC Louisiana, Avondale - 2005, 2007-present

PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans Trivia and Notes:

  • "Lighthorse" Harry Cooper won the first playing of this tournament, in 1938 when it was named the Greater New Orleans Open Invitational.
  • What is now the Zurich Classic of New Orleans has had many different names over its long history. In chronological order, this event has been known as the Greater New Orleans Open Invitational, First NBC New Orleans Open, Greater New Orleans Open, USF&G New Orleans Open, USF&G Classic, Freeport McMoran Classic, Freeport-McDermott Classic, Compaq Classic of New Orleans, HP Classic of New Orleans, and Zurich Classic of New Olreans. Whew!
  • Billy Casper won the New Orleans tournament twice, the first time in 1958 (when be beat Ken Venturi in a playoff) and the second time in 1975 - a 17-year gap between victories. That 1975 win was the last of Casper's 51 PGA Tour victories.
  • Jack Nicklaus had three runner-up finishes in New Orleans (1964, 1967, 1972) before getting his only win here in 1973, when he defeated Miller Barber in a playoff.
  • Lee Trevino won the 1974 event with a score of 21-under 267 that included zero bogeys. It is the most-recent time any player has played a 72-hole tournament on the PGA Tour without making a bogey.
  • There are four back-to-back winners in tournament history: Byron Nelson, 1945-46; Bo Wininger, 1962-63; Tom Watson, 1980-81; Carlos Franco, 1999-2000. The tournament had two different names for Watson's wins. It was the Greater New Orleans Open in 1980, then the USF&G New Orleans Open in 1981.
  • The last time a player made the cut on the number and went on to win a PGA Tour event was the 2006 Zurich Classic, where Chris Couch did it.
  • K.J. Choi's win in 2002 was his first career victory on the PGA Tour.
  • From 2002 through 2007, five of the six tournament winners earned their first victories on the PGA Tour (K.J. Choi, 2002; Steve Flesch, 2003; Tim Petrovic, 2005; Chris Couch, 2006; Nick Watney, 2007).
  • At the 2013 tournament, 14-year-old Chinese amateur Tianlang Guan made the cut. He was the second-youngest golfer ever to make a PGA Tour cut - trailing only himself, two weeks earlier at the 2013 Masters.

PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans Winners:

(p-playoff; w-weather shortened; the tournament has a team format since 2017, individual stroke play prior to that)

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
2018 - Billy Horschel/Scott Piercy, 266
2017 - Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith, 261
2016 - Brian Stuard-p-w, 201
2015 - Justin Rose, 266
2014 - Seung-Yul Noh, 269
2013 - Billy Horschel 268
2012 - Jason Dufner-p, 269
2011 - Bubba Watson-p, 273
2010 - Jason Bohn, 270
2009 - Jerry Kelly, 274
2008 - Andres Romero, 275
2007 - Nick Watney, 273
2006 - Chris Couch, 269
2005 - Tim Petrovic-p, 275

HP Classic of New Orleans
2004 - Vijay Singh, 266
2003 - Steve Flesch-p, 267

Compaq Classic of New Orleans
2002 - K.J. Choi, 271
2001 - David Toms, 266
2000 - Carlos Franco-p, 270
1999 - Carlos Franco, 269

Freeport-McDermott Classic
1998 - Lee Westwood, 273
1997 - Brad Faxon, 272
1996 - Scott McCarron, 275

Freeport McMoRan Classic
1995 - Davis Love III-p, 274
1994 - Ben Crenshaw, 273
1993 - Mike Standly, 281
1992 - Chip Beck, 276

USF&G Classic
1991 - Ian Woosnam-p, 275
1990 - David Frost, 276
1989 - Tim Simpson, 274
1988 - Chip Beck, 262
1987 - Ben Crenshaw, 268
1986 - Calvin Peete, 269
1985 - Seve Ballesteros-w, 205
1984 - Bob Eastwood, 272
1983 - Bill Rogers, 274
1982 - Scott Hoch-w, 206

USF&G New Orleans Open
1981 - Tom Watson, 270

Greater New Orleans Open
1980 - Tom Watson, 273

First NBC New Orleans Open
1979 - Hubert Green, 273
1978 - Lon Hinkle, 271
1977 - Jim Simons, 273
1976 - Larry Ziegler, 274
1975 - Billy Casper, 271

Greater New Orleans Open Invitational
1974 - Lee Trevino, 267
1973 - Jack Nicklaus-p, 280
1972 - Gary Player, 279
1971 - Frank Beard, 276
1970 - Miller Barber-p, 278
1969 - Larry Hinson-p, 275
1968 - George Archer, 271
1967 - George Knudson, 277
1966 - Frank Beard, 276
1965 - Dick Mayer, 273
1964 - Mason Rudolph, 283
1963 - Bo Wininger, 279
1962 - Bo Wininger, 281
1961 - Doug Sanders, 272
1960 - Dow Finsterwald, 270
1959 - Bill Collins, 280
1958 - Billy Casper-p, 278
1957 - Not played
1956 - Not played
1955 - Not played
1954 - Not played
1953 - Not played
1952 - Not played
1951 - Not played
1950 - Not played
1949 - Not played
1948 - Bob Hamilton, 280
1947 - Not played
1946 - Byron Nelson, 277
1945 - Byron Nelson-p, 284
1944 - Sammy Byrd, 285
1943 - Not played
1942 - Lloyd Mangrum, 281
1941 - Henry Picard, 276
1940 - Jimmy Demaret, 286
1939 - Henry Picard, 284
1938 - Harry Cooper, 285