Just one tweet set abuzz what will be a ‘fun’ Fall season when the PGA TOUR’s juggernaut swings back to Asia for its annual odyssey. And, there is a promise of raising the decibels and extending the game’s rising popularity in the Far East.
By Chuah Choo Chiang
In 27 words, Tiger Woods informed his 6.5 million Twitter followers that he will play in the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan, which is one of three lucrative PGA TOUR tournaments in Asia in October.
The Asian swing, which offers nearly US$30 million in combined prize money, also features THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China, delivering a true celebration of golf at the highest level in the region.
This will be the first Tiger sighting at a PGA TOUR tournament since his appearance at the now-concluded CIMB Classic in Malaysia in 2012 and the first time in 13 years that he will be in Japan following the 2006 Dunlop Phoenix. Woods also played in the World Cup of Golf in Japan in 2001. In golf, they say timing is everything and organisers of Japan’s first official PGA TOUR tournament couldn’t be more pleased with Woods’ early commitment being made 11 days after he produced a Masters Tournament victory for the ages.
With Woods committed to the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, the PGA TOUR’s newest showpiece in Asia in what is the world’s second largest golf market will undoubtedly complement an already all-star line-up of mega events featuring the established WGC-HSBC Champions, the region’s lone World Golf Championships tournament, and THE CJ CUP, which has celebrated two successful editions by heralding great champions in Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka. Unlike previously, the new generation of PGA TOUR stars have embraced the TOUR’s vision of going global as they have made a beeline to Asia that even without the omnipresence of Woods in recent times, tournaments here have thrived due to the strength in depth available on the PGA TOUR reservoir of talent which membership now includes 46 of the world’s top-50 golfers.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson has become a regular visitor to China after winning his first WGC-HSBC Champions in 2013. Past champions of the prestigious event include Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter and Hideki Matsuyama, indication of the calibre of the stars that it regularly attracts.
With the number of Korean golfers competing on the PGA TOUR growing with each passing season, THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES is also beginning to create a legacy of its own despite its infancy. The tournament’s hospitality is first-class, the Korean culture is intriguing and Jeju Island provides a stunning backdrop which the stars of the game enjoy. The Korean tournament has also built itself a nice reputation of crowning champions who are the reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year. Thomas won the inaugural CJ CUP just weeks after concluding a stunning 2017 season which saw him become the FedExCup champion. Last October, Koepka enjoyed a magnificent victory in front of massive Korean crowds after arriving as Player of the Year following a 2018 campaign which yielded two major victories.
With the Asian swing events counting towards the 2019-20 PGA TOUR Season, accumulating early FedExCup points during the Fall schedule is a key motivation as well. The well-travelled Adam Scott expects to see more top guns like Woods to head full speed to the Far East this year.
That said, October can’t come soon enough. Enjoy!
The article "Asian swing events" was originally published on https://vietnamgolfmagazine.net/en/asian-swing-events/