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Zurich classic from New Orleans 2024: power rankings, defending champions, prize money and important details

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is the PGA Tour’s only official team event and is back for its seventh consecutive edition. This time the field is led by seven of the top 20 players in the official World Golf Ranking in the TPC Louisiana field. The highest ranked is world number two Rory McIlroy, who is playing for the fourth week in a row.

The event starts on April 25, with four-ball (best shot) play on Thursday and Saturday. While foursomes (alternate shots) are played on Friday and Sunday. A team of two will win the cup in Avondale and here are the top five who might be closer to that cup than anyone else!

Top 5 teams at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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1. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry: The two decided to work together during a “drunk lunch” and needless to say, the Northern Irishman and the pro from Ireland will be one of the fan favorites at TPC Louisiana as both have plenty of Ryder Cup experience. Although Rory McIlroy will make his debut and team up with Shane Lowry following their Ryder Cup loss in 2021.

Nevertheless, the world number 2 is trying to get better at his game, and participating in the Zurich Classic was another way to strengthen that process. Both Lowry and McIlroy have ten top-25 finishes so far in the 2024 season. As former partners, the Zurich Classic might suit them better.

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2. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele: The world number 4 and number 8 have already won the Zurich Classic in 2022. That year, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay shot 29-under 259 to be declared the winners. The duo was also not far away from a victory in 2023. Last year they were fourth in the rankings and were just four strokes away from successfully defending their title.

In 2024, Schauffele is playing much better than most players on the PGA Tour. He has played nine events and has been in the top 10 in seven. On the other hand, Cantlay is no less. The 32-year-old has three top-15s under his belt and has slowly picked up his pace. When the two meet again, it will certainly be difficult to stop them from winning.

3. Collin Morikawa and Kurt Kitayama: At last week’s Masters, Collin Morikawa was three and seven strokes away from his first Masters victory. Additionally, Morikawa had three top-15 performances before the 88th Masters. Now add in his playing partner, Kurt Kitayama.

The Japanese pro is consistently looking to finish at the top of the leaderboard, having achieved four top 25s so far. Last year, Morikawa missed the cut playing with Max Homa and Kitayama reached T19 with Taylor Montgomery. Maybe this year the two Asians will do the unexpected and win the Zurich Classic for the first time.

4. Matt Fitzpatrick and Alex Fitzpatrick: The Fitzpatrick siblings are one of three other siblings (Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard and Pierceson and Parker Coody) at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. While Fitzpatrick is active on the PGA Tour and qualified due to his several victories.

Alex Fitzpatrick does not yet have a PGA Tour membership and will participate on a sponsor exemption. Unlike his younger brother, the two-time PGA Tour winner has played well, finishing in the top 15 four times. In 2023, the brothers made their debut at the Zurich Classic and finished T19. This year, with better form, the two could make a leap to be crowned winners.

5. Will Zalatoris and Sahith Theegala: Will Zalatoris will play the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after missing it for a year due to injury. On the other hand, Sahith Theegala will be making his third straight appearance at TPC Louisiana. Both have been performing better lately.

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Together they have nine top-15 finishes and both have finished second at least once so far in the 2024 season. Theegala at the Sentry and Zalatoris at the Genesis Invitational. At Avonlade, the two might just change the trajectory and win it all.

Defending champions and prize money of the Zurich Classic

The 2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans champions David Riley and Nick Hardy are back on track to defend their titles. Last year they held off Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor by two strokes to win the event. And this year, as the format follows, the highest-ranked player of the two on the OWGR, Hardy (174th), once again chose Riley (239th) to team with him.

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Last year, the two each won $1,242,700 ($2,485,400 for a team) and 400 FedExCup points. However, in the 2024 season, the prize money has been increased, rising from $8.6 million last year to $8.9 million now. The winner will therefore also receive a larger share of the purse, namely $1.602 million per person, which amounts to $3,204,000 for a team.

Which of the 80 teams will come out on top and take home the Zurich Classic or New Orleans title? Share your predictions in the comments.