QBE Shootout: Steve Stricker, Lexi Thompson return, so do three-time champions Harris English, Matt Kuchar

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Steve Stricker will get an early look at Tiburón Golf Club before defending the Chubb Classic. But Lexi Thompson will already have had one.

Stricker, the victorious 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, will be focused on a team again, this time with whomever he’s paired with in the QBE Shootout, the unofficial PGA Tour event founded and hosted by Greg Norman, from Dec. 8-12.

And after a one-year hiatus, LPGA star Lexi Thompson returns. She couldn’t play last year due to the Shootout conflicting with the U.S. Women’s Open. Thompson had played the previous four years. She was paired with Sean O’Hair, who is in the field this year, in 2019. Thompson has qualified for the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburón from Nov. 15-21.

Norman announced the Shootout field Tuesday for the 21st edition in Naples, Florida, and 33rd overall. Tickets already are on sale.

“We are so excited to have the fans,” Norman said in a release. “The collection of players assembled to compete is very strong and includes rising stars, major champions and PGA Tour winners who will deliver an exciting three days of team competition for our global television audience and a first-class hospitality experience for our pro-am partners. More importantly, we will continue to raise charitable funds and awareness for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and other worthy causes.”

Stricker, who sold his home in Naples earlier this year, won’t get to play the Black Course, the site of February’s PGA Tour Champions Chubb Classic that he won in April. The Shootout, as well as the upcoming CME Group Tour Championship, are both on the club’s Gold Course.

Stricker will be joined by one of his players, Harris English, who also won the Shootout last year with Matt Kuchar. European Ryder Cup players Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are also in the field.

The field will feature 13 of the top-50 ranked players in the world including No. 15 English, No. 19 Sam Burns, No. 20, Billy Horschel, No. 28 Kevin Na, No. 29 Jason Kokrak, No. 33 Max Homa, No. 35 Corey Conners, No. 36 Marc Leishman, No. 37 Westwood, No. 40 Kevin Kisner, No. 41 Ryan Palmer, No. 49 Brian Harman, and No. 50 Poulter.

English and Kuchar were dominant last year, winning by nine strokes. The duo also won in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and finished second in 2015.

Ten players competing for the Shootout’s $3.6 million purse combined for fourteen (14) victories during the 2020-21 season and the recent start of the 2021-22 season. English won twice during that stretch, as did Burns, Kokrak and Homa. Hudson Swafford, Na, Horschel, K.H. Lee, Leishman and Kisner were all individual winners.

Collectively, the 24 players have accumulated 109 career PGA Tour victories and 11 LPGA titles.

Some familiar faces also are back, including two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (fifth consecutive appearance and seventh overall), former major champion Graeme McDowell (ninth appearance), former major champion and world No. 1 Jason Day (third appearance), Palmer and Harold Varner III (fourth for each).

Westwood is making his first appearance since 2013.

Brandt Snedeker, O’Hair, English, Kuchar, Day, Poulter, and Harman are all former Shootout champions in the field.

Four players — Burns, Homa, Lee and Swafford — will be competing in the Shootout for the first time.

Golf Channel will broadcast Friday’s first-round competition live from noon to 4 p.m. Over the weekend, the final two rounds will feature live coverage on both Golf Channel and NBC. Saturday’s coverage will begin from 1 to 3 p.m. on Golf Channel then switching to NBC from 3 to 5 p.m. The final round will air on Golf Channel from noon to 2 p.m., and on NBC from 2 to 4 p.m.

The QBE Shootout will once again feature 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 $15 million for charitable causes.

“We are proud to support the QBE Shootout and I’m thrilled about this year’s player field,” said Todd Jones, CEO of QBE North America. “Once again, this world-class event will offer three days of exciting, competitive golf, while contributing to charities that make important contributions to the community.”

For more information, go to www.qbeshootout.com.