Team format to be trialled this week on the PGA Tour

The Zurich Classic takes place in New Orleans

Team format to be trialled this week on the PGA Tour

Ryder Cup stars Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson will renew their partnership in New Orleans. Picture by: Mike Egerton/PA Archive/PA Images

What differs any PGA Tour event from another?

If truth be told, the answer is very little. Week after week, players travel around America and play on pristine courses with little variety. That changes in the coming days.

Thursday afternoon sees the Zurich Classic begin in New Orleans. A fixture on the calendar since 1938, recent winners of the tournament include major winners Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Jason Dufner.

Brian Stuard will defend his title this week, but he will be joined by teammate Chris Stroud. The Zurich Classic has decided to switch from a regular strokeplay event to a team-based competition.

80 two-man teams will compete in the tournament, in a strokeplay competition. The opening and third rounds will be played in a foursome format, meaning players will take alternate shots. In the second and final rounds, the fourball format will be used, with each teams better score on each hole being used.

While the tournament has a novelty value, due to the unusual format, it does have a serious side. The winning team will gain a two-year exemption from the PGA Tour, but no World Ranking points will be at stake.

Some famous faces have joined forces to compete together. Ryder Cup teammates Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson will play with each other in Louisiana. Other teams include Jason Day-Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson-JB Holmes.

Waterford's Seamus Power is the only Irish player in the field. He is playing with New Zealand's Steven Alker. The duo would have played together on the Web.com Tour.

Come Sunday evening, there will be not one, but two players lifting the trophy. It will take some getting used to.