QBE Shootout Preview
THE wheelbarrows are at the ready as the PGA Tour season comes to the end of an extraordinary year with a number of tournaments during which nobody really cares who wins. It starts with Greg Norman’s QBE Shootout, which features 12 pairings, at Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the collection of players heading to Tiburón Golf Club this year,” Norman said. “We have one of the strongest fields in the event’s history and that has led to 12 incredible pairings. The competition will be fierce this year, so I’m looking forward to an exciting three days of golf for our global television audience to enjoy.”
The Shootout, which will not have spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, will feature 16 of the top 50 players in the world, led by Daniel Berger, U.S. Open runner-up Matthew Wolff, Tony Finau, and Louis Oosthuizen, a first-time participant.
With many first-time players, the pairings have a different makeup this year.
However, Harris English and Matt Kuchar, who won in 2013 and 2016, and finished second in 2014 and 2015, will be reunited. Kuchar didn’t play each of the last two years, but will be making his 10th appearance this year although he has had a very disappointing 2020.
Defending champions Kevin Tway and Rory Sabbatini, and Ryan Palmer and Harold Varner III, and Billy Horschel and Brendon Todd, who both tied for third last year, are returning pairings, but the other eight teams have not been matched together before.
(Louis Oosthuizen - Making His Debut)
Berger will be playing for the fourth time with his fourth different partner - 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, who won the Shootout with Sean O’Hair (2017) and Jerry Kelly (2009). And they are likely to be a difficult team to beat - Stricker may well be in his 50s now but he remains a formidable competitor.
The 21-year-old Wolff, who was paired with Viktor Hovland last year, is with 27-year-old Abraham Ancer. They have the highest combined world ranking of any team in the field and will start as favourites.
Australia will be represented by Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith. Smith tied with Sungjae Im as runner-up to Dustin Johnson in The Masters. Im, who tied for second at The Masters and plays almost every week, has withdrawn and will be replaced by Kevin Na.
After being paired with LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson the past two years, Finau will be playing with long-hitting Cameron Champ, who played with Kevin Kisner last year. Na tied for third in the 2018 Shootout with Bryson DeChambeau, and will play with O’Hair, who has won with Stricker and with Kenny Perry (2012).
Oosthuizen will play with Bubba Watson. Lanto Griffin and Mackenzie Hughes are paired together, as are Sebastian Munoz and Joaquin Niemann, who are the first Latin American team in Shootout history.
Seven QBE Shootout participants finished inside the top 25 at The Masters, including Smith, who set a record by becoming the first player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.
The 32nd Shootout features a $3.6m purse. Nice work if you can get it.
The event will once again have a scramble format during the first round, a modified alternate shot format on Saturday and a final round betterball format on Sunday.
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer will continue to be the tournament’s primary charitable beneficiary. Since 1989, the Shootout has raised more than $14m for charitable causes.
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