Stars fall on the Zurich Classic — World No. 1 Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley, Camilo Villegas & Rickie Fowler all commit
Field now includes defending PGA champion, two of the top five players in the world and 25 PGA TOUR winners over the past two years
NEW ORLEANS, LA (March 19, 2012)—A constellation of stars fell on the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, as four more marquee names on the PGA TOUR committed to play this year, led by Luke Donald, who regained his spot at the top of the world golf rankings over the weekend, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
Joining Donald in the 2012 Zurich Classic field are defending PGA champion Keegan Bradley and fan favorites Rickie Fowler and Camilo Villegas. They will challenge defending champion Bubba Watson and Steve Stricker, the top American in the world golf rankings, for the top prize in the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans April 23-29.
“These are some of the marquee players we have been waiting to commit,” said Worthy. “With 25 PGA TOUR winners over the past two years, including two of the top five in the world and defending PGA champion Keegan Bradley playing here, this year’s field is already the strongest in anyone’s memory,” he said.
“And we still have some big names who have verbally agreed but not yet formally committed,” Worthy added.
Donald regained his rank as the world’s top golfer with a playoff victory in the Transitions Championship last weekend. He led the PGA TOUR in 2011 with 14 top-10 finishes, including a T8 finish at the Zurich Classic in his first appearance there. He and Tiger Woods are the only two players to hold the No. 1 position in both the FedEx Cup standings and the Official World Golf Ranking at the same time. His win last weekend moves him up to 12th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Donald studied art theory and practice at Northwestern University and is an avid painter. One of his paintings was auctioned by PGATOUR.com for a winning bid of $1,640, which was donated to charity.
Bradley won the PGA Championship last year and is one of three players to win their first start in a major championship. In 2011, he became the first rookie to win two tournaments, including a major, since 2004 and was named the 2011 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. He is ranked 11th in the FedEx Cup standings.
He is the nephew of LPGA great and World Golf Hall of Fame member Pat Bradley. He was an all-state ski racer in his home state of Vermont.
Fowler, the 2010 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, has become a crowd favorite known for his colorful wardrobe on the course. He ended 2011 ranked 32nd in the Official World Golf Rankings. He had four top-10 finishes in 2011, the year he also won his first tournament as a professional—the Kolon Korea Open on the OneAsia Tour.
He is a member of the Golf Boys group, which includes fellow PGA golfers Bubba Watson, Ben Crane and Hunter Mahan.
Villegas is another crowd favorite who has three PGA TOUR victories under his belt. In 2011, he turned in his 10th top-10 finish in the PGA TOUR playoffs, tying him with Steve Stricker for the most on the TOUR.
He is known for his “Spider-man pose,” in which he crouches low to the ground to get a better read on putts. As part of his charitable efforts, he took part in “Caddy for a Cure” at the 2009 Deutsche Bank Championship and the 2010 Verizon Heritage.
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 $20 million to date for children’s charities in metro New Orleans and Baton Rouge. More information at www.forekidsfoundation.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 2012 totals $6.4 million. The winner’s share is $1,152,000.
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.
For more information, contact:
Thomas Long Corporate Communications