Tiger Woods returns to SoCal in search of record-breaking victory at Sherwood
The PGA Tour returns to Southern California this week and all eyes will be on native son Tiger Woods as he chases history.
Due to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zozo Championship has been moved from Japan to Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks for this year only and will be held without fans. The 78-player, no-cut tournament will be televised on Golf Channel from 2-5 p.m. local time Thursday-Sunday.
And while many of the world’s best players will be battling for an $8 million purse and the $1.44 million winner’s check, Woods returns on a mission to defend his Zozo title and to break a tie with Sam Snead for all-time PGA Tour wins by capturing his 83rd victory.
Helping his cause will be the fact that he’s playing on a Jack Nicklaus-designed course where he hosted his World Challenge from 2000-2013, and won five times between 2001 and 2011.
“I am excited to defend my title at the @zozochamp,” Woods tweeted last month after officially committing. “It is disappointing that we will not be able to play in Japan this year, but Sherwood Country Club will be a great backdrop for what I know will be a great championship.”
Known for its rugged terrain, stunning scenery and dramatic elevation changes, Sherwood Country Club is one of the few Nicklaus Signature Designs in SoCal. And the Golden Bear doesn’t hold back in his praise for the canvas he had at his disposal.
"This was one of the more magnificent pieces of land I've had the opportunity on which to design a golf course,” Nicklaus has said. “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."
The field features eight of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings: Jon Rahm (2), Justin Thomas (3), Collin Morikawa (4), Rory McIlroy (5), Xander Schauffele (7), Webb Simpson (8), Tyrrell Hatton (9), and Patrick Reed (10).
Among the SoCal natives in the field are Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Morikawa, Kevin Na, Schauffele, Brendan Steele, Woods and Matthew Wolff.
Mickelson will be riding the momentum of having won his second PGA Tour Champions event in as many tries last week at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic (pictured above), and Jason Kokrak will also be a player to watch after his victory at last week’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, his first career victory in 233 PGA Tour starts.
The No. 1-ranked player in the world, Dustin Johnson, withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to lingering effects from his recent bout with the coronavirus.
FUN FACT: Dustin Johnson holds the course record at Sherwood Country Club. He shot a 61 playing in a group that included his father-in-law Wayne Gretzky, the hockey great who lives in a home on the course.
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