The First Look: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD
October 18, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods earns 82nd victory at ZOZO
Seventy-eight players will take on Sherwood Country Club in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD. The tournament is making a one-year move to the U.S. due to logistical issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP became the first PGA TOUR event held in Japan.
Tiger Woods won his record-tying 82nd PGA TOUR title at last year’s ZOZO and will be back to defend against a field full of TOUR stars who are scheduled to compete, including FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson.
FIELD NOTES: Woods is teeing it up for the first time since missing the cut at the U.S. Open. He won his Hero World Challenge five times at Sherwood… Hideki Matsuyama leads a robust contingent of golfers from Japan, many of whom are having excellent seasons on the Japan Tour. Matsuyama finished runner-up at the ZOZO a year ago… Sponsor exemptions include past FedExCup champions Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth along with Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, and Satoshi Kodaira… Other notables that round out the field (from the top 60 available on the prior season’s FedExCup standings) include past FedExCup winners Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy… Young Southern California sensations Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff, who played junior golf against each other, are making their ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP debuts. Wolff went to high school just seven miles from the course.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Sherwood Country Club, par 72, 7,006 yards (par and yardage subject to change). Sherwood, a Jack Nicklaus design, was the venue for Woods’ Hero World Challenge from 2000-2013. It has also hosted the Shark Shootout (a team event hosted by Greg Norman) for a decade starting in 1989 and hosted the PGA TOUR Champions’ PowerShares QQQ Championship. Nicklaus completed Sherwood in the late 1980’s and then returned in 2016 to help with agronomic improvements. Built on a river valley with high surrounding hills, the course is a golfing oasis.
STORYLINES: Woods is searching for his record-breaking 83rd TOUR victory and he’ll do it at a place he’s comfortable… Johnson, the reigning FedExCup champion, has the course record at Sherwood, a 61. Wayne Gretzky, his soon-to-be father-in-law, is a member of the club and resident… In the TOUR’s history, five Japanese players have won 11 times – led by Matsuyama with five… Takumi Kanaya will play his first PGA TOUR event as a professional. The winner of the Mark H. McCormack medal as the year’s top-ranked amateur turned pro a few weeks ago. He made the cut in the 2019 Masters after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur.
72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Tiger Woods (2019)
18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Keegan Bradley (Second round, 2019), Rory McIlroy (third round, 2019)
LAST TIME: Woods tied Sam Snead’s record for most PGA TOUR victories with 82 after topping the field at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, the first TOUR event held in Japan. It was Woods’ first start of the 2019-20 season, and his first since he had knee surgery that August. Woods bogeyed his first three holes on Thursday but birdied nine of his next 15 to shoot 64 and share the first-round lead with Gary Woodland. Play was called Sunday evening due to darkness, which resulted in Woods having to complete seven holes Monday morning. He topped Japan’s own Hideki Matsuyama by three shots. The country’s favorite son birdied three of his final eight holes to put the pressure on Woods but ended runner-up to history. McIlroy and Sungjae Im finished T3, six shots back, while 18-hole co-leader Woodland finished fifth.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Sunday, 12:45 p.m.-8 p.m. ET (Featured Groups)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 3 p.m.–8 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).