Tiger Woods. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Tiger Woods. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Toronto — Defending champion Tiger Woods will be on a familiar stamping ground when he seeks a record-setting 83rd PGA Tour victory this week at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, for the relocated Zozo Championship.

The tournament, which was moved in 2020 to the US from Japan due to logistical issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, features a loaded 78-man field with no cut and will be the last event for many ahead of the November 12-15 Masters.

Sherwood was the site of the Woods-hosted World Challenge from 2000 to 2013, a limited-field event that the former world No 1 captured five times.

“The shape of the golf course hasn’t changed, but the greens have changed since the last time I’ve played. They’re a little bit flatter, a little bit bigger,” Woods said after playing the back nine on the par-72 layout.

“Some of the contours are gone and so it’s — it was a bit different. It’s on the softer side, and I think some of the redesign they’ve done here and the redo has made this golf course certainly more member-friendly and I think the scores will be awfully low this week.”

For Woods, who equalled Sam Snead’s PGA Tour wins mark at the inaugural Zozo Championship, this will mark his first start since missing the cut at September’s US Open where he struggled mightily off the tee.

Woods will play the opening two rounds at Sherwood alongside world No 7 Xander Schauffele and world No 12 Matthew Wolff, who has finished runner-up in two of his three PGA Tour starts this season.

Despite world No 1 Dustin Johnson being sidelined after a positive Covid-19 test and US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau taking time off to focus on increasing swing speed ahead of the Masters, the Zozo Championship will still have a strong field.

World No 2 Jon Rahm headlines a field that boasts 25 of the top 30 golfers in the rankings, including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and reigning PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa.

Reuters

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