Last year was the first edition of the ZOZO Championship. The inaugural edition of the tournament featured as the middle leg of the Asia Swing on the PGA Tour. The event is the first to be sanctioned by the PGA Tour in Japan, in a deal that will last until at least 2025.
The ZOZO Championship replaced the CIMB Classic on the Tour schedule and is co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour.
The tournament was scheduled to be played at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan but as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s tournament was relocated to the Sherwood Country Club in California.
The event will feature an elite 78 man field comprising of the following;
- Top 60 available PGA Tour players from the previous season’s FedEx Cup standings
- Top 7 players in the current season Japan Golf Tour money list through the Bridgestone Open
- Top 3 players in the Bridgestone Open
- 8 sponsor exemptions
Sherwood Country Club is set in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, a few miles to the southwest of the city of Thousand Oaks. The Sherwood property extends to almost 2,000 acres and is a private, members-only country club.
Part of the property includes Lake Sherwood which is the oldest artificial lake in California. Originally called Potrero Lake, it was created in 1904 when the Alturas Dam was built. Its name was changed to Lake Sherwood when the surrounding areas were used in the 1923 Robin Hood movie and became known as “Sherwood Forest” and “Maid Marian Park”.
The Jack Nicklaus designed golf course forms part of the overall Sherwood property. The course opened for play in October 1989 and is framed with majestic views of the Santa Monica Mountains.
“This was one of the more magnificent pieces of land I’ve had the opportunity on which to design a golf course. It is rare to see a piece of property that is so private, with so much natural beauty. There isn’t another golf course in the world that has a more beautiful tree complex than Sherwood.”Jack Nicklaus
Notable members of the club have included Sean Connery, Kenny G, Mel Gibson, Caitlyn Jenner, Wayne Gretzky, Kevin James, Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci, Tom Selleck, Jane Seymour, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone and Justin Timberlake.
Sherwood Country Club was the host course for multiple off-season events. It hosted the Shark Shootout, a team-play event hosted by Greg Norman, from the event’s inception in 1989 to 1999. It then hosted the World Challenge, a PGA Tour recognized golf tournament hosted by Tiger Woods from 2000 to 2013.
Sherwood was also the site of the Showdown at Sherwood, the first ever prime-time live golf match, which was played between Tiger Woods and David Duval in 1999.
In 2016, Sherwood became the host of the Champions Tour event, the Invesco QQQ Championship (formerly the PowerShares QQQ Championship). Former winners include;
- 2019 Colin Montgomerie -14 (202)
- 2018 Scott Parel -11 (205)
- 2017 Bernhard Langer -11 (205)
- 2016 Tom Pernice Jr. -13 (203)
Sherwood Country Club has fantastic elevation changes and huge stately trees, all set amongst beautiful scenery. The course has a strong variety of holes and is unusual in that it has five Par 3’s and five Par 5’s. It is a typical Jack Nicklaus design, fair off the tee with shot values increasing as you get closer to the green.
There are plenty hazards located in landing areas in the form of ponds, streams, ravines and bunkering which serve to influence decision making off the tee. The more wayward the shot, the more penal the result. One of the key components for success this week is for players to put themselves into position from the tee. Finding the right portion of the tricky contoured greens with approach shots will be crucial for scoring.
Sherwood Country Club strikes the balance of being challenging while rewarding good shots
Jack Nicklaus has remarked that the 446 yard Par 4 18th at Sherwood is the best finishing hole he has ever designed. A blind tee shot over a hill is required played to a fairway that slopes left to right. The approach shot to the green is framed by a waterfall and bunker on the left, a rock wall and water to the front and a pot bunker on the right. The multi-level green is tricky on a hole that par is more than acceptable.
Like last week’s CJ Cup there is no cut, so the mindset is simplified again to perform over 72 holes requiring a fast start
ZOZO Championship Betting Tips
Harris English 33/1 (E/W) – like last week, the tournament relocation from Japan to Sherwood Country Club renders the Event Form and course history analysis pointless. A solo 4th in the US Open at Winged Foot and a solo 10th in last week’s CJ Cup are enough to put the Georgia native 3rd in this week’s Current Form table. No one outstanding feature to his game, he is solid in all departments underlined by his Top 10 placement in this week’s Stats Analysis (based on last season’s statistics). Finished last season 18th for SG:Putting and 9th for both GIR and Scoring Average. Recent form demands attention and looks as consistently strong as anyone in this week’s field. Will be arriving to Sherwood in confident mood and doesn’t need a whole lot extra to go right to drive on from recent results.
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Note regarding next week’s Bermuda Championship
There will be no preview and analysis for next week’s Bermuda Championship. However, if it is the case that after this year, the tournament maintains its newly elevated status as a PGA Tour full-field event with full FedEx Cup points, then PGAgolfbets will include it in its mainstream weekly previews.
However, the Current Form & Stats Analysis tables for next week’s Bermuda Championship will be available via Twitter. Please note that the tables will not be available on the website and will only be available via Twitter