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Tiger Woods to make final pre-Masters start

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour this week as defending champion at the Zozo Championship, which has relocated from Japan to Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where Woods has enjoyed plenty of success over the years.

As defending champion, Woods will headline an all-star event that includes 9 of the world’s top 10 at one of his favorite playgrounds

Tiger Woods returns to his native Southern California this week for what will be his only competitive start between last month’s U.S. Open and next month’s Masters.

Woods will be the defending champion at the Zozo Championship, which was moved from Japan to Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., because of travel restrictions associated with the global coronavirus pandemic. Woods won last year’s inaugural Zozo title for his 82nd career victory on the PGA Tour, tying Sam Snead for the all-time mark.

Though the setting has changed, it won’t be unfamiliar territory for Woods. A native of Cypress in suburban Los Angeles, Woods hosted the unofficial World Challenge at Sherwood in 2000-13, winning the event five times.  

“I am excited to defend my title at the Zozo Championship,” Woods said in a statement for PGATour.com. “It is disappointing that we will not be able to play in Japan this year, but Sherwood Country Club will be a great backdrop for what I know will be a great championship.”

The 78-man, no-cut event will feature an $8 million purse, with $1.44 million to the winner.

Among the top players listed in the field, nine of the world’s top 10 players were committed. No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. 2 Jon Rahm, No. 3 Justin Thomas, No. 4 Rory McIlroy, No. 6 Collin Morikawa, No. 7 Webb Simpson, No. 8 Xander Schauffele, No. 9 Patrick Reed and No. 10 Tyrrell Hatton were entered.

Woods, 44, has slipped to No. 26 in the Official World Golf Ranking since his last start, a missed cut in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. In five appearances since the season restart in June, Woods has finished no better than T-37. He also will be the defending champion at the Masters, which was pushed to Nov. 12-15 because of the pandemic.

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