Tournament founder and host Greg Norman announced the 12 pairings for next month’s QBE Shootout on Thursday. They include one notable returning team, and exclude a runner-up in Sunday’s Masters.
Sungjae Im, who tied for second on Sunday, has withdrawn from the PGA Tour event, which is scheduled for Dec. 9-13 at Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. Kevin Na, who also is in the top 50 in the world, replaced Im.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the collection of players heading to Tiburón Golf Club this year,” Norman said in a release. “We have one of the strongest fields in the event’s history and that has led to 12 incredible pairings.
“The competition will be fierce this year, so I’m looking forward to an exciting three days of golf for our global television audience to enjoy.”
The Shootout, which will not have spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, will have 16 of the top 50 players in the world, led by No. 13 Daniel Berger, No. 14 and U.S. Open runner-up Matthew Wolff, No. 19 Tony Finau, and No. 20 Louis Oosthuizen, a first-time participant.
Matthew Wolff, pictured here in the second round of the 2020 Masters, will compete at this year’s QBE Shootout. Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports
With many first-time players, the pairings have a much different makeup.
But a noticeable one doesn’t.
Harris English and Matt Kuchar won in 2013 and 2016, and finished second in 2014 and 2015, will be reunited. Kuchar didn’t play each of the last two years, but will be making his 10th appearance in the Shootout.
Defending champions Kevin Tway and Rory Sabbatini, and Ryan Palmer and Harold Varner III, and Billy Horschel and Brendon Todd, who both tied for third last year, are returning pairings, but the other eight teams have not been matched together before.
Berger will be playing for the fourth time with his fourth different partner: none other than 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup captain and part-time Naples resident Steve Stricker, who has won the Shootout with Sean O’Hair (2017) and Jerry Kelly (2009).
The 21-year-old Wolff, who was paired with Viktor Hovland last year, is with another youngster (although not quite as young): 27-year-old Abraham Ancer. They have the highest combined world ranking of any team in the field.
Norman’s native Australia is represented with one team — Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith. The latter tied with Im as runner-up to Dustin Johnson in the Masters.
After being paired with LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson the past two years, Finau will be playing with long-hitting Cameron Champ, who played with Kevin Kisner last year.
Na tied for third in the 2018 Shootout with Bryson DeChambeau, and will play with O’Hair, who has won with Stricker and with Kenny Perry (2012).
Oosthuizen will play with multiple Masters champion Bubba Watson. Shootout rookies Lanto Griffin and Mackenzie Hughes are paired together, as are Sebastian Munoz (Colombia) and Joaquin Niemann (Chile), who are the first Latin American team in Shootout history.
Seven QBE Shootout participants finished inside the top 25 at last week’s Masters, including Smith, who set a Masters record by becoming the first player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.
The 32nd Shootout features a $3.6 million purse. This is the 20th edition of the event to be played at Tiburón.
Golf Channel will broadcast Friday’s first round competition and the final two rounds will be featured live on both Golf Channel and NBC.
The QBE Shootout will once again have a scramble format during the first round, a modified alternate shot format on Saturday and a final round better ball on Sunday.
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer will continue to be the tournament’s primary charitable beneficiary. Since 1989, the Shootout has raised more than $14 million for charitable causes.
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