Mon, 06 Dec 2021

Golf Glance: PGA Tour returns to Japan; Champions begin playoffs

Field Level Media
21 Oct 2021, 04:56 GMT+10

Field Level Media's Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.

PGA TOUR

LAST TOURNAMENT: The CJ Cup @ Summit (Rory McIlroy)

THIS WEEK: Zozo Championship, Chiba Perfecture, Japan, Oct. 21-24

Course: Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club (Par 70, 7,041 yards)

Purse: $9.95M (Winner: $1.791M)

Defending Champion: Patrick Cantlay

FedEx Cup Leader: Sam Burns

HOW TO WATCH

TV: Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. ET; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 p.m.-2:45 a.m. (Golf Channel)

NOTES: This is the first event to be contested in Asia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. ... Tiger Woods won the inaugural event at Narashino in 2019 before the event moved to Los Angeles last year due to the pandemic. Woods is not in the field this week as he continues to recover from serious leg injuries suffered in a February car accident. ... Hideki Matsuyama will play in front of fans in his home country for the first time since winning the Masters, with 5,000 fans per day being allowed at the event. Fans were not allowed at the Tokyo Olympics in August. ... The event is co-sanction by the Japan Golf Tour Organization and 13 members of the JGTO are in the field. ... Sponsors exemptions include Tommy Fleetwood, Wesley Bryan and Will Zalatoris. ... Narashino is a 36-hole facility that opened in 1965. ... Keita Nakajima, 21, is the top-ranked amateur in the world.

BEST BETS: Xander Schauffele (550) won gold at the Tokyo Olympics and is coming off a T18 at the CJ Cup as he seeks his first win on tour in a stroke play event since 2019. ... Collin Morikawa (700) is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 3. After going 3-0-1 at the Ryder Cup, Morikawa finished solo second last week. ... Matsuyama (1200) tied for fourth in the Olympics in his home country. He already has three "fall swing" events under his belt, including at T6 at the Fortinet Championship. ... Zalatoris (1600) is still seeking his first win on tour and is one of only six top-50 players in the field. ... Tommy Fleetwood (2200) doesn't have a top-5 since the WGC-Match Play in March but has shown better form of late, including three consecutive top-12 results on the European Tour. ... C.T. Pan (4500) finished third at the Olympics and tends to fare well on shorter courses such as Narashino.

NEXT WEEK: Butterfield Bermuda Championship, Southampton, Bermuda, Oct. 28-31

LPGA Tour

LAST TOURNAMENT: Cognizant Founders Cup (Jin Young Ko)

THIS WEEK: BMW Ladies Championship, Busan, Republic of Korea, Oct. 21-24

Course: LPGA International Busan (Par 72, 6,726 yards)

Purse: $2M (Winner: $300,000)

Defending Champion: Ha Na Jang (2019)

Race to the CME Globe leader: Nelly Korda

HOW TO WATCH

TV: Thursday, 2-6 p.m. ET; Friday-Saturday, 6:30-10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 5:30-9:30 p.m. (Golf Channel, tape delayed)

Streaming: Wednesday-Saturday: 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. ET (NBC Sports app or golfchannel.com)

NOTES: The 72-hole, no-cut event features an 84-player field. It returns after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ... Jang defeated Danielle Kang on the third playoff hole to win the inaugural event. Kang, whose father was born in Busan, set the 18-hole scoring record with a 64 in the final round to force the playoff. ... Two events remain before the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship for the top 60 players in the standings. ... The average age of winners on tour this year is 25.35. ... Ko will attempt to become the first player to win four events this year as Korda is not in the field. She also has 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s, tied for the most all time with Annika Sorenstam (2005) and So Yeon Ryu (2015-17). ... Originally called the Asiad Country Club, the LPGA International Busan was built for the 2002 Asian Games before undergoing a complete renovation by Rees Jones.

NEXT TOURNAMENT: Pelican Women's Championship, Belleair, Fla., Nov. 11-14

Champions Tour

LAST TOURNAMENT: SAS Championship (Lee Janzen)

THIS WEEK: Dominion Energy Charity Classic, Richmond, Va., Oct. 22-24

Course: The Country Club of Virginia (Par 72, 7,025 yards)

Purse: $2M (Winner: $305,000)

Defending Champion: Phil Mickelson

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Bernhard Langer

TV: Friday, 2-5 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 2:30-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

NOTES: This is the first event of the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs, with the top 72 players in the standings qualifying. The top 54 after this week will qualify for the second leg and 36 for the Cup Championship at Phoenix Country Club. ... Money is converted to points for the playoffs, with each of the three events worth double points. ... Langer is a two-time winner at The Country Club of Virginia and is seeking his sixth Schwab Cup title. ... Mickelson enters the playoffs in the 24th spot. He is a longshot to win the title but has won three of his first four Champions starts.

NEXT WEEK: TimberTech Championship, Boca Raton, Fla., Nov. 5-7

--Field Level Media

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