At the beginning of autumn, the representatives of PGA TOUR and ZOZO Inc. announced that the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will not be played in Japan this year due to logistical problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will instead be played in Sherwood. With its rich history as the venue for the club on the PGA TOUR, it is undoubtedly a worthy replacement and temporary home for the 2020 event, and provides picturesque scenery for a competition among golf superstars.
The elite of athletes includes each of the top 10 players from the FedExCup 2019-20 standings, 54 PGA TOUR winners with a total of 351 titles, and 14 main champions highlighted by the 82-time TOUR winner and ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP defending champion. Tiger Woods.
Committed players from the top 10 of the FedExCup 2019-20 standings:
1. Dustin Johnson
2. Xander Schauffele
2. Justin Thomas
4. Jon Rahm
5. Scottie Scheffler
6. Collin Morikawa
7. Tyrrell Hatton
8. Rory McIlroy
8. Sebastián Muñoz
8. Patrick Reed
Big names involved in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP include Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, 2020 Rookie of the Year, Scottie Scheffler, youngest PGA championship winner Collin Morikawa, rising star Matthew Wolff and 14-time PGA TOUR Winner Adam Scott.
Reigning FedExCup Champion Dustin Johnson is committed to playing alongside world number 2 Jon Rahm, and everyone is making their tournament debut, while two-time FedExCup Champion Rory McIlroy is for the second straight year after finishing third in 2019 will participate in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.
Although 2020 will be Johnson’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP debut, the 23-time PGA TOUR winner is no stranger to the area, closely associated with Sherwood through his famous future father-in-law Wayne Gretzky, who is a resident and a member of the club. The current number 1 in the world will make his fourth professional start next week at Sherwood, where he shot a low of 61 in 2014 and competed three times at the Hero World Challenge venue.
“It is a pleasure to welcome such an elite group of global stars highlighted by our defending champion Tiger Woods for ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD 2020. With such a strong field comprised of a host of the best players in the world, FedExCup champions, PGA TOUR winners and great champions, the event will undoubtedly be an exciting competition for our fans in Japan, the US and around the world offer to tune in from home, ”said Executive Director Travis Steiner.
Just a year has passed since American golf legend Woods Sam Sneads achieved a long-standing record of 82 career victories on the PGA TOUR by taking a three-stroke victory at the first ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan .
In front of major galleries, Woods led the tournament from start to finish to beat Japanese Hideki Matsuyama, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Sungjae Im of Korea shared third place in the tournament, heralding Japan’s first official PGA TOUR event.
Sherwood is a Jack Nicklaus Signature designed golf course and hosted the Woods Hero World Challenge from 2000 to 2013. Woods set an excellent record there, winning his own event five times (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2011) and finishing runner-up on five other occasions, raising expectations that the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD would produce a record could. break 83rd PGA TOUR title for Woods.
“I am very happy to defend my title at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. It’s disappointing that we can’t play in Japan this year, but Sherwood Country Club will be a great setting for what I think is a great championship, ”said Woods.
Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama, who finished second at Woods last October at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, will also lead the $ 8 million showpiece. A five-time winner, Matsuyama is the most successful Japanese golfer on the PGA TOUR. During the 2019-20 PGA TOUR season, he qualified for his seventh consecutive appearance in the TOUR Championship and finished 15th in the final FedExCup standings with five top 10 finishes in one season.
Fans can look forward to the list continuing with more notable engagements, each of which add significant value to the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD, including Rickie Fowler, Tommy Fleetwood, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, and Jordan Spieth.
“I got to play Sherwood a couple of times when Tigers Event was there,” said Fowler. “Sherwood is the perfect example of how you put the ball in play and play your game from there [Tiger] was one of the best iron players over time. So get the ball into play and score from there. It suits him well, but hopefully we can beat the defending champions next week. ”
Collin Morikawa from the University of California-Berkeley and Matthew Wolff from Agoura Hills, each making their debut at ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, add a bit of local flair. Sherwood Country Club is just seven miles from Westlake High School, where 21-year-old Wolff attended, and even closer to Westlake Golf Course, where he honed his craft and perfected a unique swing as a young player.
As a (usually) Japanese event, the field is rounded off by eight Japanese golfers prepared for the competition in Sherwood. All eyes will be on the freshly minted pro Takumi Kanaya, who wants to mimic the success of Hideki Matsuyama on the PGA TOUR.
22-year-old Kanaya, # 1 in the world amateur golf rankings and 2020 McCormack Medal winner, turned pro last week and will be among the eight Japanese golfers next week.
In addition to Matsuyama and Kanaya, other Japanese players who were accepted into the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP via the Japan Golf Tour are the two-time Japan Golf Tour No. 1 Shugo Imahira, Rikuya Hoshino, Mikumu Horikawa, Naoki Sekito and Ryo Ishikawa, a 17-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour and a former PGA TOUR regular. Satoshi Kodaira, the last Japanese player to take his first win at RBC Heritage 2018 on the PGA TOUR, will also compete as a sponsor exception.
Between Tiger Woods on the hunt for 83, an abundance of international representatives and two handfuls of the best players in the world, ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD 2020 will definitely make history.
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD will air on the US Golf Channel from October 22-25 at 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. In Japan, fans can watch the live broadcast on GOLFTV with PGA TOUR, NHK BS1 and Golf Network as well as a two-hour highlight show from October 23 to October 26, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. JST (broadcast times can be extended) until 7:54 p.m. on BS Asahi. Fans can also access GOLFTV with PGA TOUR coverage from October 23-26 from 1:45 am to 9:00 am JST. You can find the current broadcast schedule on the official tournament website.
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