Tiger Woods' Commitment Props Up New PGA Tour Event In Japan
Tiger Woods will be "playing in Japan this fall at the PGA Tour's first official event in the country" after announcing his intention to compete in the ZOZO Championship, according to Bob Harig of ESPN.com. The tourney will be held Oct. 24-27 outside Tokyo. Woods also is expected to "play an exhibition match in Asia as part of a content agreement he signed last year" with Discovery's GolfTV. Woods has "not played any fall events" as part of the Tour's "wrap-around schedule that began" in '13-14. Woods' agent Mark Steinberg during the Masters said that a "likely destination for exhibition matches as part of the GolfTV deal was Japan, where Woods would possibly take on another player or invite a series of players for a one-day competition, format to be determined" (ESPN.com, 4/24). The ZOZO Championship is "part of a three-tournament Asia swing in the fall" that also features the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China. The events "all boast larger-than-normal Tour purses" (GOLFWEEK.com, 4/24).
DISCOVERY PLACE: Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner said the Golf TV deal is "what’s really driving" Woods' commitment to the ZOZO Championship, as Discovery wants to “grow the game in other parts of the world.” However, there are some benefits to it, as it allows Woods to play before the President’s Cup this December in Australia. It also lets him "pick off an event" early in the PGA Tour season and perhaps allow him to "push back his start in 2020.” Golf Channel’s Paige MacKenzie said, “Let’s be real. This isn’t part of a normal scheduling -- highlighting the great players of Japan -- and he wants to go over. No, there’s got to be a payday that’s involved in this” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 4/25).