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Tiger announces return to Japan after more than a decade

Tiger announces return to Japan after more than a decade

Tiger Woods has made an announcement regarding his schedule towards the end of 2019

 

Fresh off his first major victory in more than a decade, Tiger Woods has announced his intention to return to Japan for the first time since 2006. The reigning Masters champion announced on Wednesday that he’ll compete in the inaugural Zozo Championship at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, in Tokyo from October 24-27, 2019.

“I’m excited to play in the inaugural ZOZO Championship in October, and return to Japan, one of my favorite countries,” Woods said. “It’s going to be a fun fall.”

Related: Tiger Woods schedule

Woods’ last appearance in Japan came when he lost a play-off to Padraig Harrington at the Dunlop Phoenix. Woods had won the event the previous two years. He also famously chipped in for eagle on 18 at the 2001 World Cup of Golf in Japan to force a play-off. The American team of Woods and David Duval would eventually lose in extra holes to Ernie Els and Retief Goosen of South Africa.

Outside of Japan, Woods’ last Asian Tour visit came back in 2012 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. Woods finished that event tied for 4th, three strokes behind winner Nick Watney.

Related: What’s in Tiger’s bag in 2019?

The 43-year-old Woods won his 15th major title earlier this month, earning his fifth career green jacket at Augusta National and snapping a 10+ year major championship drought. It was also his second PGA TOUR win in his last seven starts.

Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, has also informed ESPN that in addition to the Zozo Championship, Woods may also participate in an exhibition during his Japanese trip. Tiger, of course, played an exhibition match against Phil Mickelson during Thanksgiving weekend last year, it’s assumed that he’ll arrange something similar this year, as well.

“We haven’t put together what the field will look like,” Steinberg told ESPN. “How big would the field be? What type of format would they play? The exact date? We’d like to do it around the first-ever PGA Tour event in Japan.”

Related: Is Tiger the greatest of all time?

No matter your thoughts on the man, or his recent comeback, there’s no doubt that his resurgence is bound to give the PGA TOUR a boost heading into its first official tournament in Japan.

Outside of his commitment for the Zozo Championship, Woods has not committed to any other upcoming PGA Tour events, including next week’s Wells Fargo Championship or the following week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. Woods currently ranks 15th in FedExCup standings and sixth in official world golf rankings.

As mentioned above, he has yet to commit himself for the PGA Championship from Bethpage State Park Course in Farmingdale, New York in mid-May. Defending champion Brooks Koepka is the odds-on favourite to take home the $11 million championship prize, but should Woods play in the event it’s expected that betting odds will change.

Las Vegas has him pegged at 17-2 odds currently, World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is ranked at 19-2. But, suffice it to say, with so much star power on display at Bethphage betters would be smart to hold their bets until the week of the event.

Related: Can Tiger catch Jack?

Still, the 14-1 odds that Woods overcame at the Masters are likely a thing of the past. No odds maker will be overlooking and underselling Woods moving forward. A William Hill gambler earned the largest winnings in the bookmaker’s golf betting history with a $1.19 million return on an $85,000 bet.

In any event, Tiger’s Asian return is sure to help the PGA Tour with its three tournament swing that includes stops in South Korea and China, as well as Japan. The PGA Tour has 11 official events scheduled for the beginning of the 2019-20 season, though Woods has not played any fall events since the PGA TOUR instituted its wrap-around scheduling in 2013-14. The Zozo Championship will have a $9.75 million purse, with a field of 78 players and no 36-hole cut.

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