There are two reasons to pay attention to this week’s QBE Shootout down in Naples, Fl.
First, Tony Finau and Lexi Thompson proved last year that a man-woman team can compete.
Second, there’s a new face in this year’s 12-team field and he’s starting to prove that he could be the “next big thing” on the PGA Tour. With Kevin Chappell recovering from back surgery, Kevin Kisner has a darn good substitute and that is Cameron Champ, who’s already proven that he’s more than just a power player.
Other than those teams, it’s pretty pedestrian at Tiburon.
Last year the ho-hum team of Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker went 26-under par and won a not-so-bad $410,000 each. They proved a fairly unheralded regular tour player could win with an over-50 partner.
This is a 54-hole event — a Friday, Saturday, Sunday deal with three different formats. First round is a scramble, second round is modified alternate shot where both players hit their drives, select the best one then play alternate shot the rest of the hole. Final round is best-ball (four-ball).
Which brings us back to the man-woman pairing. Both Finau and Thompson are in good form coming in. Finau’s had a great year and Thompson finally got her act together, albeit late. She ended up winning the season-finale on the LPGA Tour after a really rocky year.
Add it all up and there are some reasons to check this out. It’s also the last event on the calendar, next time we see PGA Tour players in earnest will be at the Tournament of Champions in January.