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SPORTS

Woods back at familiar Country Club with eyes on PGA Tour wins record

GOLF By Reuters | October 22nd 2020
In this Oct. 28, 2019, file photo, Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the Zozo Championship golf tournament at the Accordia Golf Narashino country club in Inzai, east of Tokyo, Japan. [AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File]

Defending champion Tiger Woods will be on a familiar stomping ground when he seeks a record-setting 83rd PGA Tour victory this week at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, for the relocated Zozo Championship.

The tournament, moved this year to the United States from Japan due to logistical issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, features a loaded 78-man field with no cut and will be the last event for many ahead of the Nov. 12-15 Masters.

Sherwood was the site of the Woods-hosted World Challenge from 2000-2013, a limited-field event that the former world number one captured five times.

"The shape of the golf course hasn't changed, but the greens have changed since the last time I've played. They're a little bit flatter, a little bit bigger," Woods said on Tuesday after playing the back nine on the par-72 layout.

"Some of the contours are gone and so it's -- it was a bit different. It's on the softer side, and I think that some of the redesign that they've done here and the redo has made this golf course certainly more member-friendly and I think that the scores will be awfully low this week."

Golf - Masters - Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, Georgia, U.S. - April 14, 2019 - Patrick Reed places the green jacket on Tiger Woods of the U.S. after Woods won the 2019 Masters. [REUTERS/Brian Snyder]

For Woods, who equalled Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour wins mark at the inaugural Zozo Championship, this will mark his first start since missing the cut at last month's U.S. Open where he struggled mightily off the tee.

Woods will play the opening two rounds at Sherwood alongside world number seven Xander Schauffele and world number 12 Matthew Wolff, who has finished runner-up in two of his three PGA Tour starts this season.

Despite world number one Dustin Johnson sidelined after a positive COVID-19 test and U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau taking time off to focus on increasing swing speed ahead of the Masters, the Zozo Championship will still have a strong field.

World number two Jon Rahm headlines a field that boasts 25 of the top 30 golfers in the rankings, including the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and reigning PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa. 

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