The PGA Tour returns to Asia for the first time since late 2019 as the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP returns to Japan after the 2020 version was played in California, given the travel restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus. Tournament play begins Thursday, October 21st, and ends on Sunday, October 24th. The event is a co-sanctioned tournament by the Japan Golf Tour and the PGA. It’s time to take a look at the playing field for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP so you can get against the PGA Tour odds.
PGA Tour Betting – ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Preview
Much like the CJ Cup, this is another no-cut event with a 78-player field. The field consists of the top 60 available players on the PGA Tour, and this season will have 13 players from the Japan Golf Tour Organization.
The event winner receives 500 FedEx Cup points and $1.791 million of a $9.95 million purse. Patrick Cantlay is the 2020 defending champion, and that inaugural winner in 2019 was Tiger Woods.
The TOUR will allow 5,000 fans through the gates each day of the event.
The event returns to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The par-70, 7,041-yard track hosted the first ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in 2019.
Narashino Country Club opened in 1965 and, like many courses in Japan, features two greens on every hole. The course has hosted numerous notable golf tournaments in the past and has had players like Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros win events on the track.
The course is set up for low scores, with Woods winning the event in 2019 at -19. Just over half the field finished the inaugural tournament under par.
The official makeup of the small field includes 60 PGA Tour players, eight special exemptions, seven JGTO players, and three from the 2021 Bridgestone Open. Collin Morikawa is the top-ranked player teeing it up this week.
Other notable players from the PGA Tour include Xander Schauffele, Paul Casey, and Tommy Fleetwood. Japan’s very own and Master’s champion Hideki Matsuyama is in the field. Matsuyama was runner-up at this tournament in 2019.
Rickie Fowler is making his debut amongst the Japanese fans, and last season’s Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris received a sponsor exemption to be in the field. Fowler participated in last season’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP held in California.
Who’re The Favorites?
Sitting atop the betting board are two Ryder Cup participants and two of the top players in the World in Morikawa and Schauffele, both at +600. Schauffele finished T10 here two years ago while Morikawa cashed in on T22. Morikawa is coming to Japan off a solo second finish last week in the CJ Cup, firing a 10-under in Sunday’s final round.
After those two, Matsuyama can be had at +1400, and Zalatoris, making his first career start in Japan, is at +1800. Matsuyama will clearly be the fan favorite and is an excellent player to take as the winner after a second-place finish on this course in 2019.
Rounding out the favorites are Fleetwood (+2500), Joaquin Niemann (+2800), Fowler (+3000), and Si Woo Kim, Alex Noren, Maverick McNealy, and Keegan Bradley at +3500.