Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Matthew Wolff and Gary Woodland are among the top stars set to join defending champion and 15-time Major winner, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm at next week's Zozo Championship at Sherwood.
Sherwood is a Jack Nicklaus Signature designed golf course and was the venue for Woods' tournament, the Hero World Challenge, from 2000-2013. Woods has a terrific record there, where he won his own event five times (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2011) and finished runner-up on five other occasions, thus raising anticipation that the Zozo Championships could produce a record-breaking 83rd PGA TOUR title for Woods.
"I am excited to defend my title at the Zozo Championship. It is disappointing that we will not be able to play in Japan this year, but Sherwood Country Club will be a great backdrop for what I know will be a great championship," Woods said in a statement.
Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama, who finished runner-up to Woods when the tournament was played at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan last October, will also headline the USD 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 successive Tour Championship appearance and finished number 15 in the final standings in a season that featured five top-10 finishes.
The field is set as 78 players who will descend upon Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California.
Earlier this fall, the PGA Tour and Zozo Inc. officials announced the Zozo Championship would not be played in Japan this year due to logistical issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and will instead be played at Sherwood. With the club's rich history as a host venue on the PGA Tour, it is undoubtedly a worthy substitute and temporary home for the 2020 event, boasting a picturesque landscape for competition among golf's superstars.
The elite group of athletes includes each of the top-10 players from the 2019-20 standings, 54 PGA Tour winners with a combined total of 351 titles, and 14 major champions highlighted by 82-time Tour winner and Zozo Championship defending champion, Tiger Woods.
Among the big names committed to the Zozo Championship include Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, 2020 Rookie of the Year Scottie Scheffler, recent PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, rising star Matthew Wolff and 14-time PGA Tour winner Adam Scott.
Reigning FedEx Cup Champion Dustin Johnson pulled out as he is recovering from Covid, but the world number two Jon Rahm, making his tournament debut and two-time FedExCup champion McIlroy have confirmed for the Zozo Championship for a second consecutive year after finishing T3 in 2019.
"It is a pleasure to welcome such an elite group of global stars highlighted by our defending champion Tiger Woods for the 2020 Zozo Championship. With such a strong field comprised of a variety of the top-ranked players in the world, FedExCup Champions, PGA Tour winners and major champions, the event will undoubtedly deliver an exciting competition for our fans in Japan, the United States and all around the world tuning in from home," said Executive Director Travis Steiner.
Just one year has passed since American golf legend Woods equaled Sam Snead's long-standing record of 82 career wins on the PGA Tour by securing a three-stroke victory at the inaugural Zozo Championship played at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan.
In front of large galleries, Woods led the tournament from start to finish to beat Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, while Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Sungjae Im of Korea shared third place in the tournament, which heralded Japan's first official PGA Tour Event.
Fans can rejoice as the list continues with more notable commitments each adding significant value to the Zozo Championship including Rickie Fowler, Tommy Fleetwood, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth.
"I've been able to play Sherwood a few times when Tiger's event was there. Sherwood's perfect example of get the ball in play and go play your game from there, and [Tiger] has been one of the best iron players over time. So get the ball in play and then go score from there. It's a great fit for him, but hopefully we're able to take down the defending champ next week," Fowler said.
Adding a bit of local flare are University of California-Berkeley alum Collin Morikawa and Agoura Hills native Matthew Wolff, each making their Zozo Championship debut. Sherwood Country Club is just seven miles from Westlake High School where 21-year-old Wolff attended and is even closer to Westlake Golf Course where he honed his craft and perfected a unique swing as a young player.
As a (normally) Japan-based event, the field is rounded out by eight Japanese golfers primed for competition at Sherwood. All eyes will be on newly minted professional Takumi Kanaya as he seeks to emulate the success of Hideki Matsuyama on the PGA Tour.
The 22-year-old Kanaya, ranked number one on the World Amateur Golf Ranking and winner of the 2020 McCormack Medal, turned professional last week and will be amongst the eight Japanese golfers next week.
Between Tiger Woods chasing 83, an abundance of international representation and two fistfuls of the top-ranked players in the world, the event is sure to make history.
( With inputs from ANI )
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