For those of you who have been following host Greg Norman’s Franklin Templeton Shootout over its 25 years, it’s evolved into a nice little tournament to watch. It’s at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, when a little warm sunshine could salve the poor souls shivering in colder climes.
The format has always been pretty much the same: 24 players playing on 12 two-man teams for a tidy enough pile of cash. Each player on the winning team carts home $385,000. And the players tend to be familiar. Norman appears to be very loyal to players who have helped him fill the field over the years and who have done well, sometimes with varying partners. Scott Verplank comes to mind.
But he also does a good job of recruiting new blood each year. He has two new headliners in Billy Horschel, the FedExCup champion, and Ian Poulter, Mr. Ryder Cup. They will team up. Scrappy Patrick Reed teams with Brandt Snedeker and two Texas first-timers, Ryan Palmer and Jimmy Walker hook up. For the second week in a row, Reed got into the tournament as the 1st alternate, this time when Chris Kirk withdrew with a bad wrist.
To the most interesting changes:
- Probably the most interesting is that Fox with Joe Buck and Greg Norman in the booth will debut their ideas about how to broadcast golf tournaments. They have Saturday’s final round with the Golf Channel handling the first two days. They are positioning it as a sort of polished shakedown cruise to prove their sea legs with all the bells and whistles coming out for their U.S. Open coverage in June.
- They lost the greens (Norman said they had disease) on the front side of the regular tournament course (which we don’t see much of anyway) so thankfully they have a 36-hole complex. The front nine will be borrowed from the other course. (Billy Horschel said that he really liked it in the practice round, so it’s apparently just as appropriate.)
- And finally amongst the major changes, the format remains the same, they’re just changing the order. The Scramble will go from its normal last day to the first day. Norman said the reason is that a tuned up leading team all too often makes themselves impossible to catch with the Scramble’s super-low scores. The feeling is that the first day’s settling in process will modulate that a bit and provide more exciting television on Saturday with the teams starting the day closer together. Friday is Alternate Shot and Saturday will close with Best Ball.
Here’s a link to pgatour.com’s more extensive synopsis, “Facts & Figures: Franklin Templeton Shootout.” There’s also a nested link in that post that lists the players.
Here’s a link to pgatour.com’s team list with a synopsis on each one, “Franklin Templeton Shootout teams announced.” I thought it was always the case that Norman picked the partners, but Poulter said in his media session that he contacted Horschel about teaming up (perhaps green-lighted by Norman).
That’s enough reasons to watch for me!