Preview: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD

Sher

THE ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD

Sherwood Country Club

Thousand Oaks, California

Yards (per official scorecard):7,071
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:Bentgrass, around 7,200 square feet.
Stimpmeter:12.5′.
Rough:Ryegrass at almost four inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards51/4
Architects:Jack Nicklaus  (1989/2016).
Purse:$8 million; $1.440 plus 500 FedExCup points to the winner.
Defending Champion (Event):Tiger Woods
Defending Champion (Course):Inaugural event.
Fact of the Week:Third consecutive event on Bentgrass greens.
Fact of the Week II:Last four winners  on TOUR 33 or older.
  

Notes:

  • Asian Swing adjusted for calendar 2020.
  • 78 players.
  • No cut event.

2020-2021  Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week, including past Hero World Challenge winners and recent winners from PGA TOUR Champions.

Event Winners:

YearPlayerNotes
2019Tiger WoodsPlayed in Japan.
   
   

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record:Inaugural TOUR event.
Course Record:61; Dustin Johnson
Lowest Rounds – Last YearN/A.
Recent Defending Champion(s) Event:N/A.
Multiple Winners (event or course):5; Tiger Woods (Hero Challenge 2000-2013).  
Oldest  Winner:N/A.
Youngest Winner:N/A.
First Time – TOUR:N/A.
First Time – EventN/A.
Odd Fact:Last four events here are PGATOUR Champions events (2016-2019).
Odd Fact II:Second week in a row on a course completed in 1989.

Quick Thoughts

Third week running on Bentgrass greens.

For the second time in three weeks Bentgrass greens averaging over 7,000 square feet.

Last four winners 33+.

Last four winners 80-1 or worse.

Five Par-5 holes.

Tiger Woods said the track is soft, the greens have been removed of slope and the scores should be low this week. “Member friendly” was his discription.

Woods mentioned the routing was the same but that’s about it. He’s right as the entire track switched from Bermuda to Bent and Rye.

Some guys hate Bermuda and it’s off the menu this week.

Cut through the canyons northwest of Los Angeles, Sherwood Country Club doesn’t even stretch 7, 100 yards so everyone should have a look this week. As we saw last week, you can’t win it in the first 36 holes but you can lose it (Wolff) if you’re stuck in neutral to start the week.

With cooler temperatures and breeze expected, I’m not sure it’s going to get run over but single digits aren’t going to be in the scoring forecast.

Find players who can navigate it tee-to-green, play precise irons and can roll it on bent grass.

Oh, and the ones who devour Par-5 holes.

Back in action this week:

Tony Finau

Phil Mickelson

Patrick Reed

Webb Simpson

Tiger Woods

In the field this week : Top 25 from CJ CUP at Shadow Creek

01 Jason Kokrak

02 Xander Schauffele

03 Tyrrell Hatton

03 Russell Henley

05 Talor Gooch

06 Joaquin Niemann

07 Lanto Griffin

07 Bubba Watson

09 Sebastian Munoz

10 Harris English

11 Cameron Smith

12 Matthew Fitzpatrick

12 Viktor Hovland

12 Collin Morikawa

17 Mark Hubbard

17 Jon Rahm

17 Ryan Palmer

21 Harry Higgs

21 Danny Lee

21 Hideki Matsuyama

21 Kevin Streelman

21 Rory McIlroy

Chalk – Betting Favorites (Bet365.com) under 30-1

Jon Rahm (+1000):Knocked the rust off with T17 last week, his first event after the US Open. Destroyed the field at Jack’s Memorial earlier in the field.  Second last week in SG: Off the Tee.

Xander Schauffele (+1100): Did everything but win last week. Led after 36 holes by three and lost by two. Second in birdies with 24. Three rounds of 66-64-66 but 74 on Saturday killed him. Led the TOUR in Par-5 scoring last year. Full speed ahead.

Rory McIlroy (+1200): Led the field SG: Off the Tee but struggled into the greens. That should be fixed this week but he still found 23 birdies at Shadow Creek as he converted over half of his chances on GIR. Naysayers will point out he opened and closed with rounds over par, rightfully so.

Justin Thomas (+1200): Usually his time of year, JT didn’t have his best stuff last week and still grinds out T12. Nearly won at Memorial (Workday) earlier this year but Collin Morikawa knocked him out in a playoff. Led the TOUR in SG: TTG last year.

Webb Simpson (+1600): One of the few with a few rounds under the belt. Each of his three rounds were better each visit in the early 2010s as he progressed from T13 to T7 to fifth. If scoring is premium, he led the TOUR in that category last season and makes birdies for fun. Yep.

Collin Morikawa (+1800): West Coast. Bent. Comfortable. This is a recording. If the greens have mellowed, as Tiger suggests, he’s more of a factor this week, just like he won at Memorial (Workday).

Tyrrell Hatton (+2000): Jet lag didn’t faze him. Winning the week before didn’t faze him. I’d prefer him on a tighter set-up like Wentworth but his heat levels are off the charts. Needs to be included just about everywhere. Respect the HEAT.

Patrick Reed (+2200): Ground it out to T13 at Winged Foot after leading after 36 holes. Jumped across the pond for T3 at Wentworth to prove he’s not messing around. Big greens will help his game and his putter will enjoy having more chances. T10 at Memorial.

Patrick Cantlay (+3000): LA kid, got it. Closed with 67 last week for those not paying attention. Closed 73 the week before after playing in the final group. Going too many directions at the moment.

Hideki Matsuyama (+3000): Will the ZOZO event inspire him? It should as he finished second to Woods last year but he doesn’t have the advantage of being in the Far East. Two keys this week will be hitting it close and not finishing in the bottom third in putting. Last week he was 70th in proximity and 56th SG:P. He won’t be 70th this week. Nibbles for sure.

Viktor Hovland (+3000): Similar to Matsuyama as he just throws darts and goes how the putter goes. I feel he gets overlooked in deep fields but he keeps grinding out results. His podium at Workday catches my eye as does a top 15 at Winged Foot and Shadow Creek. Putting will be easier this week.

Select Next Tier (33-1 and up)

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3300): Should be a popular outsider this week, especially after Jason Kokrak broke his maiden last week. Let’s be honest: There is no dominant WINNING player currently and the short course should open the door for the Englishman. I’m on board after T12 last week and T7 at Wentworth.

Matthew Wolff (+3300): According to Cameron Morfit’s story about Sherwood, he’s played it a billion times growing up. This is a big deal because he’s one of the few to play it frequently after the 2016 renovation and grass switch. He also shit his pants last week in Vegas and will not let that happen in his “home” game.

Tiger Woods (+3300): Nobody knows the routing better, five wins, five seconds. He’s only seeing it for the first time since the renovation Tuesday and Wednesday. Chopping it around Winged Foot didn’t inspire but it’s a new day and the Dodgers won Tuesday night. I’m saving him for Augusta, if at all.

Bubba Watson (+3300): Better value here for me as Watson is T18 or better in three of his last four with T31 at Winged Foot the outlier. Tree-lined tracks to frame his shots will keep his attention and his last three trips here we’re all top 10. Invest.

Harris English (+3500): Of his last 13 events, 11 have cashed in the top 25 including 10th last week. The only time I was on him he MC on big bentgrass greens at TPC Summerlin. You can. I’m not.

Joaquin Niemann (+4000): Sizzling again in the fall just like he did last year as he picked up his first win at the now defunct Greenbrier. Last four on bentgrass are all T23 or better with a pair of top 10s, including solo sixth last week. Heat plays.

Jason Kokrak/Russell Henley (+5000): Of the two, I’m going with the one who hasn’t reached the mountain top in the last few days. Kokrak led the field in putting on a course he’d played more than many others. I’ll let him enjoy the career-making weekend. Henley just keeps ringing the bell with five straight T27 or better with three straight top 10s. Three shot lead going into Sunday last week is plenty of motivation as well. Only made five bogeys last week as well.

Jason Day (+5500): Beware the injured golfer. We’ve seen this movie before.

Longer Shots – Top 20 or Each Way Tickets

Cameron Smith (+7000): Trending in the right direction so definitely take a look. He’ll appreciate the big targets off the tee and into the greens. Best finish last week of 2020 so let’s ride.

Sebastian Munoz (+8000): He was on this list last week and finished solo ninth, his third top 10 in his last six. Only made four bogeys and a double last week. Defends in two weeks at the Houston event (new course).

Kevin Kisner (+10000): If this was Bermuda, I would have put him house on it. He’s cashed big checks on Bent as well and he’ll be dialed in knowing it’s not 7,500 yards this week.

Talor Gooch (+12500): Led the field in bogey avoidance (3 bogeys, 1 double) last week for solo fifth.

Adam Hadwin (+15000): Closing in on it (54-T34-T28).

Harry Higgs (+16000): Opened the season 2nd at Safeway, MC at Shriners on 6-under and cashed T21 last week.

Danny Lee (+17500): Closed with 66 last week.

Mark Hubbard (+25000): T17 last week; West coast player.

Takumi Kanaya (+275000): Made his professional debut last week with a top 10 in Japan. T3 at Australian Open last winter should have caught your eye. Nibbles.

Richy Werenski (+35000): Closed with three straight in the red at Shadow Creek for T28.

I’ll have others at Covers.com

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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