Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele headline Zozo Championship as PGA Tour returns to Japan | Golf News


Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama all feature at Narashino Country Club – watch throughout the week live on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 20/10/21 9:43am

Collin Morikawa (right) and Xander Schauffele (left) headline the Zozo Championship

Collin Morikawa (right) and Xander Schauffele (left) headline the Zozo Championship

Olympic champion Xander Schauffele has set his sights on more success in Japan as he looks to grab a “special” victory on the PGA Tour at the Zozo Championship.

The world No 5, whose grandparents live in Japan, is returning to the country for the first time since claiming a one-shot victory and winning gold for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics in August.

Schauffele featured in Team USA’s record-breaking Ryder Cup success at Whistling Straits last month but is without an official PGA Tour title since the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, with the American aiming to end a busy 2021 strongly at Narashino Country Club.

Schauffele claimed a one-shot win over Rory Sabbatini at the Tokyo Olympics

Schauffele claimed a one-shot win over Rory Sabbatini at the Tokyo Olympics

“It’s been a quick turnaround, a lot of international travel to finish up our regular season on the PGA Tour,” Schauffele said. “The Ryder Cup was shortly after East Lake, so I had a little bit of downtime, but didn’t give myself too much time off quite yet. I wanted to play well last week and this week.

“I’m very excited. I was bummed to not come to Japan last year for the Zozo so I was happy to make my return for the Olympics. Then of course winning the gold medal was really special for my family and myself. Returning to Japan has been really cool.

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“I’ve been looking forward to this tournament for quite some time. Winning here would be really cool. It would be really special to win twice in Japan, especially since I don’t live here. I think it would be a huge honour for my family if I was able to do that and I’m going to do my best this week.”

The tournament was moved to California in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions but is back at its original venue this year, with the $9.95million event also featuring Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa.

Morikawa can move to world No 2 this week

Morikawa can move to world No 2 this week

“These are some of the best fans,” Morikawa said about the Japanese support. “Obviously I was here earlier for the Olympics and we didn’t have anyone, and it just felt dull. Even though it was the Olympics, and we knew what we were playing for, it has a different feeling when you have fans.

“I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep. They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.

“Sometimes it’s not the best in our head, but it’s enjoyable because they really understand the game, they appreciate us coming over and we appreciate them. They bring so much energy.”

Watch the Zozo Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 5am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.





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