Zozo Championship 2019 live blog: Tiger Woods makes PGA Tour history, tying Sam Snead with win No. 82 in Japan
Tiger Woods' pursuit of history has been golf's most dominant storyline across the past two-plus decades. Sure, his chase of Jack Nicklaus and his 18 majors is most notable, but one of golf's most important records—the most PGA Tour victories of all time—has never been closer to Tiger's grasp, as he closes in on Win No. 82 on Monday morning at Japan's Narashino Country Club.
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It was 8,422 days ago when Tiger earned his first tour win at the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational, and Tiger's many accomplishments already reside in golf's history books. He now has a chance to tie Sam Snead's mark of 82 PGA Tour victories, as he owns a three-shot lead with seven holes to go as play resumes in the final round of the Zozo Championship on Monday morning in Japan (Sunday evening in the United States).
Hideki Matsuyama, playing in his home country in Japan's first-ever official PGA Tour event, birdied the 11th and 12th holes, to trim Tiger's lead to three shots before play was suspended after a marathon Saturday. Record-setting rainfall on Friday canceled play, forcing this Monday finish. Read below for minute-by-minute updates as Tiger resumes his final round, looking for that 82nd win.
Live updates, all times eastern:
8:34 p.m.: Would you expect anything different? Tiger Woods raises his putter and walks in his closing birdie at the 72nd hole to secure PGA Tour win No. 82 at the Zozo Championship, a three-shot win over Hideki Matsuyama.
An unbelievable 2019 has gotten even sweeter for Tiger Woods, who just shared a nice moment with playing partner Gary Woodland and a hug from caddie Joe LaCava.
What a week! There were so many remarkable aspects of this victory at the Zozo, the least of which was the fact Tiger started his week with three straight bogeys. But he would go on to shoot 64-64-66-67 to earn his second victory of 2019.
Tiger to Golf Channel's Tom Lewis on tying Sam Snead's record: "It's just crazy. It's a lot. I've been able to be consistent most of my career. Put myself up there with a chance to win on a number of occasions. Today was one of the days when I was able to pull it out. Five days at the top of the board was a lot of time. It was definitely stressful."
What's next for Tiger? He's not in the field for this week's WGC-HSBC Champions. We'll likely next see him at the Hero World Challenge, which is the week before the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Will Tiger play in the Prez Cup as a playing captain? Todd Lewis also asked Tiger that, and Tiger had a great retort: “I think the player definitely got the captain’s attention.”
You'd think if Tiger is still feeling healthy, there's a good chance we'll see Tiger play in Australia. Tiger also moves to sixth in the world rankings (up from 10th). Isn't it amazing, not so long ago, Tiger admitted he wasn't sure if he'd ever play golf again. Fast forward after the back fusion surgery, and now Tiger ties Snead as the winningest player in PGA Tour history.
8:29 p.m.: Tiger draws a good lie in that front greenside bunker, needing to just secure a bogey to lock in PGA Tour win No. 82, tying Sam Snead's record. And sure enough, Tiger hits a great shot to about 9 feet. That would be for birdie, and he doesn't even need that.
Tiger Woods has officially tied Sam Snead for the most PGA Tour victories of all time, earning his 82nd PGA Tour win in the first-ever tour-sanctioned event in Japan. And fittingly, he edged out Japan's Hideki Matsuyama to do so.
The 43-year-old has now earned the Masters and win No. 82 in the same year. All those people writing off his career? They should probably wait to see what this legend has in store next.
8:25 p.m.: Tiger Woods' 5-wood from 260 yards at the 72nd hole finds the front greenside bunker. That should be no big deal for Tiger, with Matsuyama only making a par at 18. Tiger will be playing his third shot from that bunker, needing to just secure a bogey at worst to avoid a playoff and more extra golf here in Japan.
It is pretty surreal, in the same year where Tiger Woods earned major victory No. 15 at the Masters earlier this year, that Tiger will tie Sam Snead's record for the most PGA Tour wins of all time (82). 2019 will be yet another memorable year in one of the best careers of all time.
8:22 p.m.: Hideki, needing to do something special from the left greenside bunker at 18, skulls his bunker shot way over the pin to the back of the green. That all but wraps this up for Tiger. Hideki two-putts from there, giving Matsuyama a par.
Now, even with a bogey, Tiger will win the Zozo Championship for Win No. 82.
8:17 p.m.: Tiger's fairway wood at the 562-yard par-5 finishing hole finds the fairway. We had a mini twirl of the club as the ball is in the middle of the fairway.
That's a big-time shot with this two-shot lead over Matsuyama, and Matsuyama in the greenside bunker up ahead playing his third shot.
That means PGA Tour win No. 82, in which Tiger would tie Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour record, is even closer to a reality now.
How about this stat: Tiger would go to 44 of 46 when he owned a 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event. That means over 95 percent of the time, he has converted on the win. Just one more incredible stat in a historic career of the 15-time major champion.
8:14 p.m.: Hideki rips his fairway wood out of the right fairway bunker at the 18th hole from 267 yards, but he tugs it to the left. He'll have a difficult bunker shot upcoming at this 562-yard finishing hole. An up-and-down might be doable from there, but he'd need a bogey from Tiger ... not likely at this 562-yard par 5.
Tiger will pull fairway wood with Hideki not finding the green in two.
8:10 p.m.: Tiger received a nice ovation from the Japanese crowd as he walks to the 72nd tee. He'll have a bit of a wait as Hideki Matsuyama, looking to win this first PGA Tour event in his home country, will take a fairway wood from the fairway bunker up ahead and try to get to this green in two.
Tiger birdied this par-5 18th hole in the first and second rounds earlier this week and parred it in his third round. Hideki has also birdied the home hole twice, doing so in Rounds 1 and 3.
8:04 p.m.: Needing an eagle at the par-5 18th hole, Hideki Matsuyama finds the fairway bunker up the right-hand side at the home hole. That will likely be a layup for the hometown favorite.
Back at 17, Tiger lags it expertly up near the hole, cozying the birdie putt into tap-in range. That ensures Tiger will maintain his two-shot advantage heading into the 72nd hole, with a great chance at closing out Win No. 82.
7:58 p.m.: Hideki Matsuyama misses his birdie putt at the 17th hole, which would have trimmed Tiger's lead to one stroke. Now there's a little more breathing room as Tiger plays from the fairway at 17, ahead of the par-5 closing hole.
Tiger finds the green with his approach from 174 yards with a 7-iron at 17. It was a knockdown shot into the center of the green, hoping to set up a stress-free two putt. He would love to take a two-shot lead into the final hole, forcing Hideki to eagle the par 5 most likely.
7:52 p.m.: With driver on the 491-yard par-4 17th hole, we have a piped drive down the left-hand side of the fairway with an early recoil and tee pick-up.
Up ahead, Matsuyama hit his approach at 17 to about 15 feet, so he'll have a chance to trim Tiger's lead to one before Tiger plays to this 17th green.
For those Tiger fans who think this might be a sign of things to come, here's some more evidence:
7:44 p.m.: Tiger's speed was great on the birdie look at 16, but he appeared to pull his birdie bid, as it was two feet left of the hole the entire way.
Still, a two-hole cushion with two holes to play in pursuit of PGA Tour win No. 82.
Hideki Matsuyama does a bit of a Tiger Woods-esque recoil after a towering drive at the 17th hole. He also gave a huge fist pump as he walked in his birdie at the 16th hole, clearly showing some emotion as he pursues this victory in the first-ever official PGA Tour event in his home country.
7:40 p.m.: Oh my, right as Tiger Woods (-18) walked up to the 16th tee, Hideki Matsuyama rolls in a birdie putt to press the issue. That trims the lead back to two shots as Tiger Woods plays the difficult, 181-yard par-3 16th hole.
Just as he's done all week, Tiger plays a great iron shot, this a 7-iron, to the middle of the green. That's inside of where Matsuyama was in the group ahead of him, so he'll have another look for birdie.
7:37 p.m.: Tiger settles for a par at the 15th, missing another birdie putt inside 10 feet (after missing one at 13, too) to keep his lead at three shots. But that's a three-shot lead with three holes to play; a nice position to be in.
7:31 p.m.: From 102 yards, Tiger throws a dart at the 15th hole—he'll have about 10 feet to card another birdie, looking to extend his lead to four shots.
Tiger has played the final four holes at Narashino bogey free all week. He'll hope that trend continues en route to this potentially historic victory.
7:25 p.m.: Tiger pipes his driver on the 15th hole—it ends up in the first cut of rough but it's not a bad lie. Perhaps most importantly, that was a more aggressive cut at the ball, and there was no real discomfort from Tiger with his back there, like we saw as he walked to the 14th green.
Hideki up ahead had his approach spin way back to about 40 feet, and his birdie putt comes up short, so he will settle for par.
The lead is what it was when we started this resumption of play: Three shots over Hideki.
7:20 p.m.: And Tiger rolls in the birdie at the par-5 14th hole to extend his lead back to three shots. That is a crucial make -- he got a nice teach from Keegan Bradley on a similar line to his, and he takes advantage. It's only the second birdie at the par-5 14th hole all week for Tiger.
We might look back at the 14th hole as being crucial to Tiger solidifying this win. Hideki's short miss from about 4 feet, and Tiger's make from about 15 feet, is a big two-shot difference at a crucial time.
7:15 p.m.: Tiger's ball sat down in the right-hand rough at the par-5 14th hole, but his third shot was nicely played to about 15 feet above the hole. Tiger will have a chance for a birdie to extend his lead back to three shots.
Hideki, after the short miss at 14, has found the fairway at 15.
7:11 p.m.: Tiger's second shot was a fairway wood from about 321 yards, and he finds the right-hand rough. More importantly, it looks like the 15-time major champion was grimacing a little bit after that swing. It's a little chilly on Monday morning in Japan for this restart, and after that marathon day on Sunday, perhaps Tiger is feeling a little tight.
Thankfully for Tiger, the lead isn't as tight as it could be with Hideki missing that short birdie putt. That would've really put the pressure on Tiger...
7:09 p.m.: Oh my ... Hideki, from no more than 4 feet, misses the birdie putt. That's an incredibly fortunate break for Tiger here ... that birdie from Hideki would have trimmed Tiger's lead to one shot.
7:05 p.m.: Hideki (-15) sticks his third shot at the par-5 14th hole tight—that should be a tap-in birdie to bring Tiger's lead to just one shot. In the group behind, about a minute after Hideki's approach, Tiger pipes his driver into the middle of the fairway. That might not be quite far enough to reach the par 5 in two, but Tiger needs to find a way to birdie this hole to match Hideki.
7:01 p.m.: Tiger squanders the opportunity for the bounceback and misses the birdie look from just about 10 feet. Tiger has looked so good on the greens all week at Narashino—that's a surprising miss. He taps in for an easy par, heading to the par-5 14th hole now, where Hideki has hit a good layup ahead of him. The deficit is still two shots.
6:56 p.m.: Now playing the par-3 13th hole, Tiger Woods (-17) flights down a little 9-iron from about 160 yards and stick it about 9 feet below the hole. That would be a heckuva bounceback after the opening bogey for the 15-time major champion. That's a big-time shot from one of the greatest of all-time.
We'll be providing shot-by-shot updates of Hideki Matsuyama (-15), too, who is now just two shots back of Tiger, pursuing his first win since 2017. Hideki sprayed his tee shot wayward at the par-5 14th hole ahead of Tiger. So Hideki will have to lay up.
Some great perspective from our Daniel Rapaport, who's on the grounds at the Zozo and has watched the action all week:
6:50 p.m.: It's a dropped shot to start Tiger's Monday in pursuit of his 82nd PGA Tour title, as Tiger two-putts for bogey at the 12th hole.
The poor approach shot was the culprit, compounded by a below average bunker shot. The lead is now two over Hideki Matsuyama, who parred the par-3 13th hole.
Game on. The emotions and nerves just amped up even more. It doesn't appear as if Tiger will coast to this win at the Zozo Championship.
6:46 p.m.: Tiger's bunker shot misses the ridge where the back pin is on. It rolls another 10 feet or so back down the hill. Tiger will have outside of 30 feet to save par here to kick off this Monday restart.
6:42 p.m.: Tiger Woods will have a difficult test to start his morning on the 12th hole. Following the lucky kick off the tee, Tiger hits his approach from 211 yards pretty fat and way short of the green. It looks like it's in one of the difficult bunker complexes underneath this hole.
This could be trouble here with Hideki Matsuyama playing the par-3 13th hole, currently three back.
6:36 p.m.: Tiger's first tee shot in the Monday restart, a driver off the 12th hole, takes an opportune kick out of the rough and back into the fairway. That's huge for Tiger (-18), as he kicks off this cool morning on the 490-yard par 4.
Here's a look at the scoreboard as play gets underway:
Tiger Woods: 18-under (through 11) Hideki Matsuyama: 15-under (through 12) Rory McIlroy: 12-under (through 17) Sungjae Im: 12-under (through 14) Gary Woodland: 12-under (through 11)
6:25 p.m. (eastern): It was a long Sunday of golf for Tiger Woods (and the entire field), but the 15-time major champion is looking somewhat fresh as he warms up before resuming on the 12th hole on Monday morning. Tiger played 29 holes before shutting it down ahead of this Monday restart, so you might expect the 43-year-old to be somewhat tight. But it looks like that surgery he had to end the year has been working wonders, as Tiger looks as fresh as he did earlier in the week.
Tiger has talked about how tough the tee shot at is at the par-4 12th hole, and that will be a crucial shot to this potential record setting victory.
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