PGA Tour’s Japan event moving to suburban L.A.

Golf

The Zozo Championship is moving from Japan to California this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the anchor of a West Coast swing in the fall portion of the PGA Tour schedule that is certain to attract strong fields.

The $8 million tournament will be played Oct. 22-25 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Tiger Woods is the defending champion on a course where he has won five times.

The tour and Zozo Inc. announced the decision Monday night.

It will be called the Zozo Championship at Sherwood, with a title similar to that of the South Korean event moving to Las Vegas the week before. That one will be called the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. Both tournaments will return to Asia next fall.

The temporary rearrangement was a big coup for the tour, especially given that Zozo and CJ Group primarily do business in Japan and South Korea, respectively. Along with concerns about the coronavirus, players were reluctant to go to Asia this fall with the Masters being Nov. 12-15.

The three-tournament swing will start with the Shriners Hospital for Children Open at the TPC Summerlin on Oct. 8-11 in Las Vegas, followed by the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek and the Zozo Championship at Sherwood. The last two have limited fields and no cut.

Top players who have not previously played in Asia, such as Jon Rahm, have indicated that they will be at the tournaments in Las Vegas or southern California to play ahead of the Masters.

Woods won his holiday exhibition, the World Challenge, five times at Sherwood. The Jack Nicklaus design first came to notoriety as home of the Shark Shootout run by Greg Norman. It also hosted a PGA Tour Champions event.

The Zozo Championship last year marked the first time that the PGA Tour staged an official event in Japan. Woods won by 3 shots over Hideki Matsuyama for his 82nd career PGA Tour victory, tying Sam Snead for the record.

Although it is moving to America, the Zozo Championship will operate as if it’s in Japan. The 78-man field will feature the top 60 players available from this year’s final FedEx Cup standings, 10 players from the Japan Golf Tour and eight exemptions: four from the PGA Tour, three from Japan and one unrestricted.

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