Tiger Woods has historically sat on the sidelines during the golf's fall season. That won't be the case in 2019.
On Wednesday, Woods—who usually waits the week prior before committing to an event—announced his participation in the PGA Tour's new venture in Japan. The tournament, named the ZOZO Championship, is set for Oct. 24-27, and will be part of the tour's Asian Swing through South Korea and China. The Zozo will replace the CIMB Classic. The move coincides with golf's participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, hoping to raise the sport's profile in the lead-up to the Summer Games. The tour signed a six-year deal with the event, which will boast a $9.75 million purse and a field of 78, along with 10 players from the Japanese Tour and eight special exemptions. The ZOZO will take place at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba prefecture, just outside Tokyo.
“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.”
The move coincides with a recent development that Woods and GolfTV are launching a series of head-to-head matches, to be distributed on GolfTV's OTT platforms. According to Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav, the first match is set for Tokyo.
Woods' last appearance in Japan came in 2006 at the Dunlop Phoenix, where he lost to Padraig Harrington in a playoff. Woods had won the tournament the previous two years. Tiger's last official tour outing in Asia came at the 2012 CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
As of Thursday morning, Woods had not announced his first post-Masters appearance, although it's expected the 15-time major winner will compete at the Wells Fargo Championship next week. The PGA Championship begins on May 16.