AVONDALE, La. — William McGirt and Robert Garrigus each have a PGA Tour title to their credit.
They can help each other claim a second victory this week in Louisiana.
For the first time in 36 years, an official PGA Tour event will be a team competition, with McGirt and Garrigus set to team up against 79 other two-man teams at the Zurich Classic.
“I think the new format will be fun,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “RG and I have been friends since I got my (PGA Tour) card and we have played very well when we have been paired together.
“He asked me about it in Vegas last year and I said, ‘Heck yeah.’ It should be a lot of fun.”
In the first team event on the Tour since the 1981 Walt Disney World Team Championship, players will compete in an alternate-shot format on Thursday and Saturday and play best ball on Friday and Sunday.
McGirt and Garrigus will tee it up at TPC Louisiana with Vaughn Taylor and Andres Gonzales on Thursday at 1:41 p.m. Eastern time.
As the alternate-shot format steals the spotlight for two rounds, team chemistry will be put to the test in determining who remains atop the leaderboard heading into Sunday’s final round.
“There is a bit of strategy involved in the alternate-shot format,” McGirt said. “RG wants to tee off on the odd holes so that he hits tee shots on three of the par 3s. He wants me to putt as much as possible.”
McGirt also noted that Garrigus, whose average driving distance sits at 297.9 yards, can give the team more eagle opportunities on the par 5s. Garrigus ranks inside the top five for approach shots exceeding 265 yards.
The weather in the Bayou will also play a factor, as strong wind gusts are expected to whip across TPC Louisiana throughout the weekend.
Garrigus enters the tournament having missed the cut in his past two events, but he’s had success at the Zurich Classic in the past, earning a tie for fifth in 2014.
McGirt has missed the weekend in three of his four appearances in the event, finishing tied for 30th in 2012, but likes his chances as he teams up with his buddy in the Big Easy.
“I think we both feel like we are a great team with a very good chance to win,” he said. “We just need to make some putts early to get some good mojo going and I think we can be there on Sunday with a chance to win.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.