QBE Shootout: Steve Stricker withdraws, Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris replaces him

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  • Steve Stricker
    Steve Stricker
    American professional golfer
  • Will Zalatoris
    Will Zalatoris
    American professional golfer

Former QBE Shootout champion Steve Stricker has withdrawn from next week’s event due to a lingering, non-COVID-related virus.

PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris has replaced Stricker in the 24-player field, and will team with Stricker’s scheduled partner, Sean O’Hair.

Stricker had withdrawn from the PGA Tour Champions Charles Schwab Championship earlier in November. He is the defending champion of the Chubb Classic, Naples’ Champions event that will be played Feb. 14-20.

Stricker is a former part-time Naples resident. He sold his residence in Quail West earlier this year. He was the captain of the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team back in September.

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Stricker won the Shootout in 2017 with O’Hair, and in 2009 with Jerry Kelly. He has played in the Shootout 12 times.

Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker tees off on the seventh hole during the final round of the Regions Tradition Champions Tour golf tournament Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (Photo by Butch Dill/Associated Press)

This will be Zalatoris’ first appearance in the QBE Shootout. He is one of five players in the field for the first time.

Zalatoris finished runner-up in his debut start at the Masters Tournament this spring and was tied for sixth at the 2020 U.S. Open. The former Wake Forest star began this season with no status on Tour, but had eight top-10 finishes and was named Rookie of the Year. He is currently 32nd in the world rankings.

Will Zalatoris hits his tee shot on the first hole during round two of the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort and Spa on September 17, 2021 in Napa, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

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.

Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at ghardwig@naplesnews.com. Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/