Preview: Tiger Woods at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
October 22, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- October 22, 2019
Tiger Woods' 81 victories on PGA TOUR
With one more win, Tiger Woods will tie Sam Snead for most career PGA TOUR victories at 82. Each time Tiger tees it up, we’ll take a look at his chances for that particular week. Here’s a CHASING 82 preview entering this week’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, the first time we have seen Woods in the 2019-20 season.
There is not really much form to speak of given this is Woods’ first PGA TOUR event since he was eliminated from the FedExCup Playoffs at the BMW Championship in mid-August.
He tied for 37th in Chicago a week after he withdrew from THE NORTHERN TRUST Playoff opener in New Jersey with an oblique strain.
Just days after Woods finished his season, he underwent an arthroscope on his troublesome left knee to clean out some cartilage issues before returning to play MGM Resorts The Challenge Japan Skins on Monday against reigning FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama.
"Unfortunately, I've been down this road with my knee before," Woods said Monday in Japan.
"This is my fifth operation on it. I understand what it takes to come back from it. It's been nice to have movement again and not having it catch and lock up.”
Woods managed to claim five skins in the shootout, second to Day who had eight. His game was rusty, but he did not appear to be in discomfort.
Going further back on his results, Woods made the cut in half of his six starts since his Masters victory last April. He finished T9 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and T21 at the U.S. Open but missed the weekend at The Open Championship before his above-mentioned Playoff run. He finished 42nd in the FedExCup.
This is his last scheduled start before the Hero World Challenge in December. There’s also the potential of being a player-captain for the U.S. at the Presidents Cup a week later in Australia.
This is the first time Japan has hosted a PGA TOUR event, meaning Woods – along with everyone else – is making his tournament debut.
Woods last played on the Japan Tour at the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in 2006 where he lost a playoff against Padraig Harrington having won the event in 2004 and 2005.
He also famously played with David Duval at the 2001 World Cup in Japan where he produced a ridiculous chip in on the final hole to get the United States into a four-team playoff.
Woods had his first look at Accordia Golf Narshino Country Club – which is a par 70 playing at 7,041 yards – earlier this week at the MGM Resorts The Challenge Japan Skins.
Woods was able to secure five skins and $60,000 in the shootout with Rory McIlroy (four skins, $60,000), Jason Day (eight skins, $210,000) and Hideki Matsuyama (one skin, $20,000).
He unofficially hit just five of 13 fairways on the tree lined course and 10 of 18 greens with 26 putts. He makes two birdies on the round but would have finished over par after a couple of loose holes.
Accordia is actually a composite course from the King and Queen Courses on the property and was designed by Kinya Fujita in 1965. Nine holes from the Queen course are to be used as the front nine and nine holes from the King course will be used on the back nine.
Tiger is grouped with Tommy Fleetwood and Satoshi Kodaira for the first two rounds. That threesome will tee off Thursday at 8:40 a.m. local (7:40 p.m. ET Wednesday) and Friday at 9:40 a.m. local (8:40 p.m. ET Thursday).