Table of Contents

    By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast

    Picking Teams: The Future of Professional Golf?

    In a world where baseball games have been miraculously shortened to give us all some time back, and realignments across every major sport are all the rage, it does make you wonder what the speed of change will be in the world of golf, right? As much as you and I love to watch the world’s best battle it out weekly on the world’s greatest courses, what can’t be ignored is the staleness of the 72-hole stroke play format. The PGA Tour and many of the world’s tours have kept to the same formatted competition for decades, and the current landscape is dictating (thankfully) that a shakeup finally takes place.

    This week’s two-man team format at the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic is hopefully the leader of a new wave of alternate formats taking the golf world by storm because it’s certainly needed and welcomed by many fans of the game – old and new. Here’s where team competition stands across professional golf at the moment, and some off-the-wall ideas that could become a reality for events sooner than you think.

    Big Easy Trendsetting

    What a genius move by the Zurich Classic to switch formats to a two-player team competition in 2016. At the time of the switch, the event was admittedly on the verge of relocation or death altogether, and the format change was the respirator that the tournament (and the PGA Tour) desperately needed. In recent years Zurich has gone from being an afterthought for most of the top players to a really fun place where they get to team up with their favorite buddy on tour and go low in New Orleans.

    If this event’s success is any indicator, imagine how well a team competition would be received for a designated event like the Waste Management Phoenix Open, or the Travelers Championship – both events with fun spectator atmospheres that would welcome the team energy. It might seem far-fetched but it’s not as far away as you think from being a reality. There’s even a wrinkle I would add in that would be an ode to a previously extinct tournament that Tiger used to love.

    AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

    Return of the World Cup?

    Not talking soccer here – still golf. The veteran golf fans out there will vividly remember a young Tiger Woods winning back-to-back WGC-World Cups with his playing partners, Mark O’ Meara and David Duval in 1999 and 2000. The world cup event previously rotated from country to country, and featured two-man teams from each nation teeing it up in various team formats similar to the Zurich Classic. Not only does it bring in the causal fan appeal of watching team competition, the Ryder Cup and Olympics vibes of “national pride” would resonate through the event. In 2023 there’s absolutely a market and thirst for this event to be brought back, and the powers that be would be fools to not re-introduce the concept. Bring back La Coupe Du Monde!

    Ladies First

    When you talk about team competition and innovation in golf, you’d be remiss if you didn’t mention the LPGA Tour. The women’s game has tinkered around with several team competition events, but the one that is returning in 2023 and could be a litmus test for future men’s team events is the International Crown. This event format is unique as it brings in teams of FOUR women from countries around the world. The LPGA quickly saw the rise of women’s golf in Asian nations and the idea was born in 2014. It gives off mini-Solheim Cup vibes, and the number of four players per team…where have I seen that before?

    LIV Golf’s Pressure

    The elephant in the room as the team play becomes all the rage in professional golf. Love them, hate them, or be indifferent to them, but respect that the introduction of LIV Golf is massive for those who want to see team golf shine. I think we’re all on the same page that the team names and logos may need some redesign, but the inherent strategy behind having player-owned teams is a fascinating addition to golf. These players are not only teammates in battle, but they’re part of an organization run and operated by the players themselves. If nothing else, the lightbulb should go off at PGA Tour headquarters that a separate team series away from the individual competition is an idea worth investigating. 

    Alex’s Off-the-Wall Team Formats

    The Relay Race event – We always wonder if a golfer had “the drives of Rory and the putter of Jordan” how good they would be? Well, let’s put that to the test and answer the question. Picture a jacked-up version of an alternate shot where Rory could play every team’s shot outside of 100 yards, and Jordan Spieth did everything inside of 100? It would be fascinating to see how teams would form and who would do best.

    The Ace Race – I love watching videos of pros hitting 500 balls at a par 3 to make an ace. Let’s turn into an event where teams of four get swings at a hole, and the first team to make an ace moves on. Throw them in a bracket and let’s get weird.

    Pitch and Putt – This one is a no-brainer – two-person teams on a world-class pitch and putt course, maybe even at Augusta. There would be so many aces and it would do wonders for the pace of play!

    There are some free thoughts for the future of team golf…the rest will have to cost you.

    Golf FAQs

    How do PGA Golf Majors Pools work?

    In PGA Golf Majors Pools, member select six golfers to compete on a roster over the course of an event. The member with the best combined score from the six golfers wins.

    Can you include all four majors into one pool?

    Yes, but your commissioner can also customize these setting with RunYourPool. Pools can include up to all four majors, repicking golfers each time or adding bonus points for finishing positions

    How do I assemble a roster?

    Golfers are broken up in to six tiers, as members select one golfer per tier to be on their Major roster.

    What happens to golfers who miss the cut?

    Any PGA Player who does not make the cut will be given the highest score of Round 3 and Round 4, respectively.

    What are the four golf majors?

    The Masters is the first major of the season, in April. The PGA Championship and the U.S. Open follow, with the British Open ending as the final major.

    How do PGA One and Dones work?

    Members in a pool select one golfer to win a tournament, but can't pick that golfer again for the rest of the season. The member with the best score at the end of the season wins.

    What is a PGA One and Done pool?

    A PGA One-and-Done Pool is a contest similar to Survivor Pools, in which members can only select a golfer one time per season for events.

    Which tournaments are played for PGA One and Dones?

    Pool commissioners can set up the season for as many or as few tournaments as desired. Go crazy and do all of them! Or dial it back for the major events. As commissioner of a RunYourPool contest, you decide which events to play in!

    How to run a weekly golf pool?

    In order to run a golf pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like One and Done or Pick-X Pools. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.

    How do golf Pick-X Pools work?

    Members select a certain number of golfers per tournament, set by the pool commissioner. The member earns the total winnings that their selected golfer won for the tournament. Whichever member earns the most winnings over the duration of the season wins.

    What is a golf Pick-X Pool?

    A Pick-X Golf Pool calculates tournament winnings rather than strokes gained when deciding a winner. This amplifies the big name events that feature a higher prize purse.

    How to run a golf pool?

    How you decide to run a golf pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.

    What is a prop bet?

    Prop bets are any sort of pick or wager on a game that has nothing to do with the score or the final score outcome. Props can range from game types, to team types and even player types - such as who will score the game's first and last touchdowns? Other props, such as novelty or exotic, feature bets on things such as the coin flip or the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

    How do Masters Prop Bets Pools work?

    Pool members simply fill out a wide range of prop questions, each question worth a different value. Commissioners decide on the point value for each question, along with the amount of questions. Whichever member earns the most points based on corret answers wins the pool.

    When is the Masters?

    The Masters is typically in April and the first major of the golf season. The 2023 Masters is set for Thursday, April 6 and will run until Sunday, April 9.

    Where is the Masters played?

    The Masters is annually held at the Augusta National Golf Club located in Augusta, Georgia, USA.

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    What's on Tap: The Zurich Classic

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    2023 FIFA World Cup Pools & Information

    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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