The ZOZ Championship was moved from Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, to Sherwood Country Club in Lake Sherwood, California, because of COVID-19 concerns. “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,” Tiger Woods said in a release.
Various travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic forced tournament organisers to move the event to Sherwood Country Club, where Woods hosted the Hero World Challenge for 13 years and won his own tournament five times.
Woods has some history at Sherwood, which hosted his Hero World Challenge from 2000 to 2013. Woods won the event five times before it moved to Isleworth and later Albany, where it currently is played. Woods' victory last fall at Zozo marked his 82nd on the PGA Tour, tying him with Sam Snead for the Tour record.
Woods has played just eight Tour events since, with two top-10s and most recently at missed cut at the U.S. Open last week at Winged Foot. On Tuesday, Woods teamed with Justin Thomas to win the Payne's Valley Cup, a one-day match against Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose to help celebrate the opening of Woods' first public golf course design in the U.S.After missing the cut at last week's US Open, Woods revealed he intended to be back at Sherwood to defend his title, and he has now made it official.
Tiger ready to defend his title
"I am excited to defend my title at the ZOZO Championship," he said in a statement. "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."
ZOZO Inc president and chief executive officer, Kotaro Sawada, added: "We are delighted that our defending champion, Tiger Woods, has committed to play in the ZOZO Championship @ Sherwood. "His memorable victory at the inaugural tournament in Japan last year was truly historic.
While we hope to see Tiger play in Japan again next year, we look forward to him headlining another amazing field at Sherwood, and to see him continue playing brilliantly and rewriting golf history. "We believe our tournament can continue to inspire sports fans and viewers as they follow the action closely through the broadcasts in Japan, the United States and all over the world."
Woods won the inaugural staging of the event in Japan last year, his three-shot victory hauling him level with Sam Snead on 82 PGA Tour titles, but he will be defending at a more familiar venue this season. The ZOZA Championship, a 78-player tournament starts on October 22 and takes place a week after The CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek, an event which has moved to Las Vegas from its traditional venue in South Korea.