The PGA Tour moves from Las Vegas to Japan for the third annual ZOZO Championship at Narashino Country Club.
The ZOZO has only had two editions, but both resulted in high-profile winners, with Tiger Woods taking the inaugural 2019 title at Narashino Country Club, and reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay winning last year’s edition at Sherwood Country Club in California.
Neither Woods nor Cantlay are making the trip across the Pacific this week, but there are plenty of other draws in the country that hosted golf at The Olympics just two months ago.
Headlining will be Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, and native son Hideki Matsuyama.
As we do each week, here’s a rundown of facts and figures to get you prepped for the 2021 ZOZO Championship.
Name: ZOZO Championship
Dates: Oct. 21-24, 2021
Tour Debut: 2019-20 Season
Where: Chiba, Japan
Course: Narashino CC
Distance: Par 70, 7041 yards
Format: 78 players, 72 holes, no cut
Winning Share: $1,791,000
FedExCup/OWGR Points: 500/50
2020 Champion: Patrick Cantlay
How to Follow the ZOZO Championship
TELEVISION: Wed-Thu: 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (GOLF Channel); Fri-Sat: 11:30 p.m.-2:45 a.m. (GOLF Channel)
History: ZOZO Championship
The two-year old ZOZO Championship may lack a deep history but its two champions include the game’s most iconic star in Tiger Woods, and the reigning FedExCup winner in Patrick Cantlay.
The ZOZO Championship was initially inserted into the PGA Tour’s wrap-around portion of its 2019-20 schedule. It essentially filled the void of the former CIMB Classic as one of three stops on the Asian Swing.
Making its debut at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, the event was moved to California for one year during the height of the COVID scare. It makes its return to its Japanese home in 2021.
In addition to the inaugural ZOZO Championship, Narashino Country Club has hosted several notable golf tournaments over the course of its history, most notably the 1972 Japan Airlines Open with Gary Player taking home the prize. Other notable golfers victorious at Narashino include Graham Marsh, Seve Ballesteros, and most recently Woods.
2020: Patrick Cantlay (-23)
2019: Tiger Woods (-19)
72: 261 – Tiger Woods (2019)
18: 61 – Richy Werenski (2020, Rd 2)
3 – Tiger Woods (2019)
Vault: 2020 Champion
Just two weeks after a stunning Sunday collapse in a Vegas-hosted event where he had finished either first or second in the three previous editions, UCLA product Patrick Cantlay was able to put that failure behind him to win the ZOZO Championship @ Sherwood, for his third career victory, and first in his native California.
The then 28-year-old former amateur phenom chased down two of the Tour’s best players: world No. 2 Jon Rahm and world No. 3 Justin Thomas in the process, shooting a Sunday 7-under 65 to clip Rahm and Thomas by a single stroke.
In just its second year of existence, the ZOZO Championship already needed a replacement venue, as the COVID-19 pandemic prevented a return to Japan, the intended event location, where Tiger Woods won his record-tying 82 career victory just one season ago.
At Sherwood Country, not far from Los Angeles, Cantlay began the final day in fourth place, three back of 13-time Tour winner Thomas. He showed amazingly little scar tissue for what happened at the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open by exploding out of the gate with four birdies over his first six holes.
Final Top 10 Leaders
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Patrick Cantlay -23 (-7)
2. Justin Thomas -22 (-3)
2. Jon Rahm -22 (-4)
4. Russell Henley -19 (-6)
4. Cameron Smith -19 (-5)
4. Bubba Watson -19 (-4)
4. Ryan Palmer -19 (-3
8. Corey Conners -18 (-6)
8. Joel Dahmen -18 (-5)
8. Cameron Champ -18 (-5)
ZOZO Championship Field
Due to the ongoing travel restrictions and protocols in place related to COVID, the field in Japan is relatively weak, with only Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama ranked inside the top-20.
That’s a big drop off in talent from last year’s edition when 25 of the world’s top-30 ranked players, including eight of the top-10 players, teed it up at Sherwood Country Club in California.
Other marquee names include Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Will Zalatoris and Rickie Fowler.
Field: Top-5 Betting Favorites
1. Xander Schauffele (6-1)
2. Collin Morikawa (7-1)
3. Hideki Matsuyama (14-1)
4. Will Zalatoris (18-1)
5. Joaquin Niemann (25-1)
5. Rickie Fowler (25-1)
5. Tommy Fleetwood (25-1)
Field: Rank and Odds
ZOZO Championship | Narashino CC | Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, Japan | Oct. 21-24, 2021
Field: Tee Times, Pairings
Published upon release…