ZOZO Championship to Go Ahead in Japan
The 2021 ZOZO Championship is confirmed to go ahead at Chiba’s Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club from October 21-24 after fears it could be moved for the second year running because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2019, the ZOZO Championship was launched as Japan’s first official PGA Tour event. The event was launched to great fanfare with Tiger Woods thrilling huge crowds. Woods secured a three-shot victory over Hideki Matsuyama en route to tying the record of 82 Tour victories held by Sam Snead.
The 2020 event was played at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, after being relocated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Patrick Cantlay secured a one-shot win over Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas for the first of four victories during a breakout 2020-21 PGA Tour season in which he won the FedEx Cup.
“After moving the ZOZO Championship to the US last year, we are excited to return to Japan this October. This decision is timely as it coincides perfectly with the game’s continued growth and increased participation in Japan following Hideki Matsuyama’s historic triumph at the Masters Tournament in April,” said Ty Votaw, PGA Tour Executive Vice President, International.
“We sincerely thank ZOZO for its terrific partnership with the PGA Tour and for its strong commitment and dedication to stage the event again in Japan. The Tour would also like to acknowledge the Japanese Government for its guidance in enabling the ZOZO Championship to be held in Japan,” added Votaw.
Tournament officials will continue to work closely with the Japanese Government to come up with a health, safety and prevention plan which will allow golfers to travel into Japan and compete in the championship. All aspects of the tournament, including a decision on whether spectators will be allowed on-site, will be made in due course following close consultation with the Japanese Government, local prefectural and city governments.
“We are honored to announce that we will be welcoming the PGA Tour stars back to Japan and we are confident our tournament will showcase world-class golf once again. We would like to express our gratitude to Chiba Prefecture, Inzai City, and all other related parties for their co-operation,” said ZOZO Inc President/CEO, Kotaro Sawada.
“We believe that our mission is to deliver excitement and hope to the athletes and fans by providing safe and secure tournament management so that they can truly enjoy themselves. As the title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s ZOZO Championship, we will continue to spread the power of the sport of golf, which is loved beyond generations, genders and nationalities, as well as working towards realising our corporate philosophy: ‘Inspire the world. Deliver joy every day,” added Sawada.
This year’s ZOZO Championship, which will offer a US$9.95 million purse, will be comprised of 78 players including the leading players from the 2020-2021 FedEx Cup, players designated by the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), the top finishers of the Bridgestone Open and sponsor exemptions.
The tournament will be broadcast to 216 countries and regions around the world. In Japan, TV Asahi will broadcast the event live on their terrestrial, BS and CS channels throughout the four-day tournament, while GOLFTV powered by PGA Tour will provide coverage on its digital platform. As in previous years, part of the tournament’s proceeds will be donated to charitable causes.
As a full FedEx Cup tournament, the winner of the ZOZO Championship will earn 500 FedEx Cup points and will be fully exempt through the PGA Tour’s 2023-24 Season. The event will be co-sanctioned once again with the JGTO.