Anyone wondering whether players in the inaugural World Champions Cup would get berths on the team strictly on name recognition has gotten the answer.
The lineup was finished on Tuesday, and 16 of the 18 players — six each on Team International, Team Europe and Team USA — are ranked in the top 30 of the final Charles Schwab Cup standings for 2023. The PGA Tour Champions event is being held Dec. 7, 8 and 10 at the Concession Golf Club in the Lakewood Ranch area.
Furthermore, the World Champions Cup will feature 10 of the top 11 finishers in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. The only no-show is Padraig Harrington, who finished No. 4 in the Schwab Cup standings and would have played for Team Europe.
But most of the top players on the Champions Tour said yes, including No. 1 Steve Stricker, No. 2 Steven Alker, No. 3 Els, and No. 5 Bernhard Langer.
"This is a strong, competitive field," said Jason Langwell, the executive vice president of Intersport, which owns and will promote the World Champions Cup.
Langwell, who serves as executive director of the World Champions Cup, said the team captains — Jim Furyk, Team USA; Ernie Els, Team International; and Darren Clarke, Team Europe — are light-hearted when talking about the event.
But then he hears them say with passion, "I want to win."
Name draws such as Fred Couples, John Daly, Rocco Mediate and Stewart Cink were passed over. But those popular players all finished far down the Schwab Cup standings.
"This is a mix of legends and hot players, like Brett Quigley," Langwell said. "It's an incredible mix. And look at our captains, they can play."
While the captains do have to concentrate on their playing roles, Langwell said they all have plenty of experience with team competitions, such as the Ryder Cup. He said that important for all those behind-the-decisions that need to be made, such as uniform selection, or being mindful of what all the players are doing on the Wednesday night before the competition."
The three teams will battle over three days and 24 matches (eight per day) to determine a winner. The matches will be both in team and individual formats. There will be no close-out of a match and three points will be available for each hole.
For example, if one player or team wins a hole, two points would be awarded. The other two players or teams would then be trying to land the other point available by finishing second on the hope. The points are split between teams that tie.
Since if is the first Champions Tour event of its kind, some of the fine details continue to be worked out. For example, the final day features heads two heads-up nine-hole matches in the morning and afternoon. It is being decided whether team captains will change their lineups for the afternoon matches.
All the matches will be played on The Concession's back nine.
Langwell said the event has landed the perfect venue in The Concession.
“The first time I saw The Concession was during the (2021 World Golf Championship),” he said. “It is a classic, incredible golf course. It is fan-friendly with a beautiful clubhouse. If you are a fan on the back nine, there are places where you can just turn your head and see action on three different holes.
“Could we create an incredible experience here? Yes.”
Tickets for the event start at $46 and can be purchased at WorldChampionsCup.com. Parking at Premier Sports Campus with shuttle service to the event costs $21.