Steve Stricker gets an early look at Tiburón Golf Club before defending the Chubb Classic. But Lexi Thompson must have had one already.
Stricker, the victorious captain of the 2021 US Ryder Cup, will once again focus on a team, this time with whom he is also linked in the QBE Shootout, the unofficial PGA Tour event founded and hosted by Greg Norman, from 8-12 December.
And after a one-year hiatus, LPGA star Lexi Thompson is returning. She was unable to play last year because the Shootout conflicted with the US Women’s Open. Thompson had played for the past four years. She was paired up with Sean O’Hair, who will be in the field this year, in 2019. Thompson has qualified for the CME Group Tour Championship in Tiburón November 15-21.
Norman announced the Shootout field on Tuesday for the 21st edition in Naples, Florida, and 33rd overall. Tickets are already on sale.
“We are so excited to have the fans,” Norman said in a release. “The pool of players gathered to compete is very strong and includes rising stars, major champions and PGA Tour winners who will deliver an exciting three days of team competition for our global television audience and a premium hospitality experience for our pro-am partners. More importantly, we will continue to raise charitable funds and awareness for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and other charities.”
Stricker, who sold his Naples home earlier this year, will not be able to play at the Black Course, the site of the PGA Tour Champions Chubb Classic in February which he won in April. The Shootout and the upcoming CME Group Tour Championship are both on the club’s Gold Course.
Stricker will be joined by one of his players, Harris English, who also won the Shootout last year with Matt Kuchar. European Ryder Cup players Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are also on the field.
On the field are 13 of the top 50 players in the world, including No. 15 English, No. 19 Sam Burns, No. 20, Billy Horschel, No. 28 Kevin Na, No. 29 Jason Kokrak, No. 33 Max Homa, No. 35 Corey Conners, No. 36 Marc Leishman, No. 37 Westwood, No. 40 Kevin Kisner, No. 41 Ryan Palmer, No. 49 Brian Harman, and No. 50 Poulter.
Engels and Kuchar were dominant last year, winning by nine strokes. The duo also won in 2013, 2014 and 2016, finishing second in 2015.
Ten players will compete for the Shootout’s $3.6 million purse, combined for fourteen (14) wins during the 2020-21 season and the recent start of the 2021-22 season. Engels won twice during that stretch, as did Burns, Kokrak and Homa. Hudson Swafford, Na, Horschel, KH Lee, Leishman and Kisner were all individual winners.
Collectively, the 24 players have racked up 109 PGA Tour wins and 11 LPGA titles.
Some familiar faces are also back, including two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson (fifth consecutive appearance and seventh overall), former Grand Champion Graeme McDowell (ninth appearance), former Grand Champion and World Champion Jason Day (third appearance), Palmer and Harold Varner III (fourth for each).
Westwood makes his first appearance since 2013.
Brandt Snedeker, O’Hair, English, Kuchar, Day, Poulter and Harman are all former Shootout champions in the field.
Four players – Burns, Homa, Lee and Swafford – will participate in the Shootout for the first time.
Golf Channel will broadcast the first round competition live on Friday from noon to 4pm. Over the weekend, the final two rounds will be broadcast live on both the Golf Channel and NBC. The Saturday broadcast starts from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Golf Channel, then switches to NBC from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The final round will be broadcast on Golf Channel from 12pm to 2pm and on NBC from 2pm to 4pm
The QBE Shootout will again have a scramble format in the first round, a modified alternate shot format on Saturday and a better ball in the final round on Sunday.
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer remains the main beneficiary of the tournament. Since 1989, the Shootout has raised more than $15 million for charitable causes.
“We are proud to support the QBE Shootout and I am excited about this year’s field of play,” said Todd Jones, CEO of QBE North America. “Once again, this world-class event offers three days of exciting, competitive golf, while contributing to charities that make significant contributions to the community.”
For more information, visit www.qbeshootout.com.