Tour veterans and major winners Goosen, Wier and Leonard also commit
NEW ORLEANS — Defending champion Jason Dufner and 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Keegan Bradley will face off at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
Dufner claimed his first PGA Tour victory at the Zurich Classic last year when he defeated Ernie Els in a sudden-death playoff with a birdie-4 on the second hole. He got married the following weekend, and three weeks later, he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship, moving him from No. 12 to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings.
Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship after a three-hole playoff with Dufner. That year, Bradley became the first rookie to win two tournaments, including a major, since 2004 and was named the 2011 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. His best finishes of the 2013 season so far are T4 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and T4 at The Honda Classic.
"Our field is shaping up nicely as we get commitments from players like Jason and Keegan, who have established themselves as world class players, as both were US Ryder Cup team members and are 18th and 14th respectively in the Official World Golf Rankings. We also have a number of seasoned Tour veterans with major championships on their resume," Worthy said. "We are poised to have another strong lineup, as we did last year," he added.
Joining Dufner and Bradley in committing to this year’s Zurich Classic are TOUR veterans Retief Goosen, Mike Weir and Justin Leonard. Among them, they have posted four major wins, with Goosen winning U.S. Opens in 2001 and 2004, Weir winning the Masters in 2003, and Leonard winning the British Open in 1997.
Goosen’s first U.S. Open win in 2001 made him the eighth player in the past 50 years to make the U.S. Open his first TOUR title. He defeated Mark Brooks after an 18-hole Monday playoff. His second U.S. Open win in 2004 came after finishing two strokes ahead of Phil Mickelson. He had two top-10 finishes in 2012—both national championships at the U.S. Open and RBC Canadian Open.
Weir’s win at the Masters in 2003 made him the first Canadian male to ever win a professional major championship and the first left-handed golfer to win a major since Bob Charles won the British Open in 1963. After just the fourth bogey-free final-round in Masters history, Weir defeated Len Mattiace in a playoff with a bogey on the first extra hole. In 2009, Weir received the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor.
Leonard won the 1997 British Open when he was 25 years old and became the youngest British Open champion since Seve Ballesteros won in 1979 at 22. He almost won the same major title a second time in 1999, with Paul Lawrie defeating Leonard and Jean Van de Velde in a three-way playoff. Leonard had two top-10 finishes in 2012 at the Reno-Tahoe Open and the Farmers Insurance Open.
About Fore!Kids Foundation:
Since 1958, the Fore!Kids Foundation has raised money to fund children's service organizations through golf events like the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Golf Ball Gala, an AJGA event, a kids' summer junior tour, and several charitable golf tournaments. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, Fore!Kids has helped to raise more than $23 million to date for children’s charities in metro New Orleans and Baton Rouge. More information at www.zurichgolfclassic.com .
About the Zurich Classic of New Orleans:
Televised in more than 116 countries, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans generates a significant economic impact on the city of New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana. Independent research has shown that the tournament generates spending of more than $30 million within the local economy and garners $17 million in positive national and international media exposure for both the city and state throughout the year beyond the four days of competition.
Purse for 2013 totals $6.6 million. The winner’s share is $1,188,000.
Single-day grounds tickets are only $25 each and weekly passes are $75, available by calling the Tournament Office at (504) 342-3000 or online at www.zurichgolfclassic.com .