Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PGA Tour - ZOZO Championship

PGA Tour - ZOZO Championship



Damien Kayat looks ahead to the ZOZO Championship which is set to take place at Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, California. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The US PGA Tour 2020/2021
ZOZO Championship
Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, California
                                                             22nd-25th October
 
Jason Kokrak was finally able to pair a solid putting performance with his monstrous ball-striking last week, winning a well overdue maiden PGA Tour title. Like the CJ Cup, the ZOZO Championship has had to migrate Stateside to alleviate Covid concerns.  Last year marked the inaugural staging of this event, a co-sanctioned event between the US and Japanese PGA Tour: it was the first PGA Tour event ever staged in Japan. Clearly, the big story this week will centre on a certain Tiger Woods. Can the golfing immortal finally surpass Sam Snead’s 83 titles this week? This was the event that saw him equal that tally last year (though clearly that was a different course). Tiger is however coming off a pretty shocking missed cut at Winged Foot. But there will be few places in the world that Tiger will relish more than Sherwood Country Club (Torrey Pines aside).  

Sherwood Country Club played host to the now defunct Hero World Challenge between 2000 and 2013. Granted, these were limited field events, with as few as 12 players regularly invited.  But Tiger unsurprisingly had five victories in that spell, plus five runner-up finishes. This Jack Nicklaus design is as picturesque as it is unique. It’s set amongst the Santa Monica Mountain range and features 1800 mature oaks. It’s fairly small by modern standards, with bentgrass fairways and greens.  But perhaps its most idiosyncratic quality is the course breakdown. It features five par 5’s and five par 3’s.  It has typically rewarded strong iron-play, with past winners like Jim Furyk and Luke Donald highlighting precision overpower. But the wind is not expected to play much of a role this week and I think that power could come more to the fore. Those five par 5’s are really where this event could be won or lost.  

This is a limited 78-man field that will test every fibre of Tiger’s resolve. Granted, Both Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau will be missing.  But the likes of Rahm, Schauffele and Thomas still make for a stellar line-up. Tyrell Hatton never sat on his laurels following the realisation of his boyhood dream at Wentworth, finishing in the top 5 at a stacked field in Vegas last week. Rory McIlroy once again veered dramatically between the sublime and ridiculous, leaving many to question the possibility of a career Grand Slam in November. The likes of Reed, Morikawa and Wolff make for an extremely formidable field.  Phil Mickelson will also be hoping to convert some of that Champions Tour success into PGA Tour kudos.   

Past Winners 
2019: Tiger Woods (-19) 

Betting Favourites (To Win): 
Xander Schauffele (10/1)
Jon Rahm (10/1)
Justin Thomas (12/1)
Rory McIlroy (12/1)
Tyrell Hatton (20/1)

Value Bets

Harris English- To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2
The move to Sherwood Oaks renders event form and most of course history obsolete. So, its towards current form that I turn. And there aren’t too many who tick the boxes as well as English. He finished in solo 4th at Winged Foot and had yet another top 10 at last week’s CJ Cup. He is solid in all departments and has that one intangible Sherwood quality: strong iron-play. He finished last season 9th on the tour in GIR. Combine that with 18th for SG: Putting, and you have a guy who should be able to get around this golf course well.

Bubba Watson- To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)
Bubba Watson is one of those guys who epitomizes the expression, “Horses for Courses”.  Just look at his form at both Augusta and Riviera. This course, much like Riviera and Augusta, is a shot-shapers paradise.  Watson has course form here that reads 3-9-6-14.  He is also arriving off the back of an impressive performance in Las Vegas. He finished in a tie for 7th despite shooting an opening round 74. I think Bubba represents great value ahead of his beloved Masters in November. 

The Man to Beat

Colin Morikawa - To Win (22/1), To Place (48/10)
A final round 73 really scuppered the chances of Colin Morikawa last week. Morikawa has been delighting the media recently, with stories of being stiffed for autographs as a kid at Sherwood Country Club. How dearly he would love to exact ‘revenge’ on Tiger’s patch. All jokes aside, Sherwood is a course that rewards precision iron-play and shot-shaping.  That’s what has given Tiger the edge for so many years here. Morikawa is perhaps the best shot-shaper on tour at present.  The US PGA Champion looks good value to compete this week in California. Additionally, two of his three titles have come on Nicklaus designs.  

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