(Photo credit score: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
Several notable names made the journey overseas for the PGA Tour’s one-week Asian swing because the Zozo Championship tees off Thursday in Chiba, Japan.
This yr, the match serves because the fourth of seven occasions of the brand new FedEx Cup Fall collection, through which gamers outdoors the highest 50 of the FedEx Cup playoffs are preventing to retain their tour playing cards.
But stars like Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Keegan Bradley have additionally traveled to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club to play for prize cash, world rating factors and to understand the change of surroundings.
“I love playing in Japan, and winning a tournament for me outside the United States is a big deal,” Bradley mentioned. “So I’m very happy to be back and excited to get back out there.”
Bradley broke out of a four-year winless stoop when he captured final yr’s Zozo title, beating Fowler and Andrew Putnam by a single stroke.
He went on to win once more in the course of the summer time on the Travelers Championship and rose to No. 16 within the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I’m very proud of the year that I had,” Bradley mentioned. “Before the Zozo last year I had made some significant changes in my diet and a certain way I was going about playing golf in my career. It was a risk that I took and it paid off. This tournament coming back here brings back a lot of great memories.”
The home-crowd favourite might be Hideki Matsuyama, who received the 2021 Zozo Championship six months after turning into the primary Japanese man to win a serious on the Masters.
Matsuyama had a pedestrian 2022-23 season by his requirements and can depend on some dwelling cooking at his first match in two months.
“Compared to two years ago, the rough is a lot longer and deeper this year,” Matsuyama mentioned of the course. “In order to play well and to score well here, you’re going to have to keep the tee shots on the fairway.”
South Koreans Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim are within the area two weeks after successful a workforce gold medal on the Asian Games, which helped them bypass obligatory navy service for his or her nation.
The area additionally consists of lots of Japan’s high golfers who don’t usually play on the PGA Tour. Takumi Kanaya and Keita Nakajima, ranked Nos. 125 and 126 within the OWGR, are each former No. 1 amateurs on the planet who’ve a mixed 9 skilled victories worldwide.
Fowler, Schauffele and Morikawa are competing for the primary time since popping out on the dropping finish of the Ryder Cup in Rome.
“It was unfortunate we had — myself and a couple other guys that weren’t feeling very well, so I’m happy to be in a healthy spot and excited to play some better golf than I did in Rome,” Fowler mentioned. “They’re always really fun weeks, special weeks to be a part of. They just happen to be a lot more fun when you’re on the winning side.”
Players who end the FedEx Cup Fall at Nos. 51-60 in factors will qualify for 2 signature occasions this winter, the ATT Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational. Beau Hossler and Ben Griffin, at the moment Nos. 51 and 52, are within the area in Japan.
–Field Level Media