The inaugural ZOZO Championship begins this Thursday (local time) at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan. The event marks the PGA Tour’s first visit to Japan, as the country will look to flex its golfing muscle ahead of hosting the 2020 Olympics. The course is notable for being on the shorter side at only 7,000 yards, owing in large part to its five par-3s. Fairways are generally narrow and tree-lined, so accuracy is a necessity to keep scores lows. The event is also the last event before next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions takes place in Shanghai, the first World Golf Championships event of the season.
The ZOZO Championship utilizes a smaller field consisting of the top-60 available PGA Tour players from the previous season's FedEx Cup standings, the top 7 players in the current Japan Golf Tour money list through the Bridgestone Open, the top 3 players in the Bridgestone Open, and 8 sponsor exemptions. As such, a strong field of golfers will be teeing off in Japan this week, with Tiger Woods’ 2019-2020 PGA Tour debut stealing a lot of headlines. 2019 FedEx Cup winner Rory McIlroy is also expected to tee off for the first time on the PGA Tour this season. Other contenders include Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. PGA Tour rookie Viktor Hovland will tee off on a sponsor’s exemption as he chases his first win. Local hopes will reside with veteran and 5-time PGA Tour winner Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa, along with several Japan Tour professionals.
The only television coverage of the event is through the Golf Channel. Coverage begins on Wednesday night on the East Coast, with coverage running from 11pm-3am ET on Wednesday and Thursday, and 10:30pm-2:30am ET, ending on Sunday morning. There will be no radio coverage or streaming coverage from PGA Tour Live.