Tournament officials announced today that Japan native and 2021 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP winner Hideki Matsuyama has committed to defend his title at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, October 13-16, 2022. Joining Matsuyama are Presidents Cup U.S. Team star Cameron Young, Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Satoshi Kodaira.
Matsuyama will also contend against nine of his Presidents Cup International teammates, including South Korea’s Sungjae Im and rising star Tom Kim, as he looks to become the first player to successfully defend his title at Japan’s lone PGA TOUR event.
This latest wave of big names to sign up for the US$11 million showpiece includes the full list of top 60 automatic PGA TOUR qualifiers and ensures another week of world-class golf as Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Xander Schauffele, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, five-time TOUR winner Rickie Fowler, three-time TOUR winner Cameron Champ and European Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood were previously announced.
Schauffele and Morikawa also featured in the recent Presidents Cup alongside Young for the victorious U.S. Team which defeated the International Team 17.5 – 12.5 at Quail Hollow Club.
“It’s always very special when Hideki Matsuyama returns home to compete in front of Japanese fans. As our defending champion, he will undoubtedly draw a lot of attention and support from the home crowd which will be amazing for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP,” said Travis Steiner, Executive Director of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.
“We are also delighted that Cameron Young, Viktor Hovland, and Satoshi Kodaira will compete in our tournament alongside many of the International Team members who played in the Presidents Cup.”
Matsuyama, 30, captured his seventh career PGA TOUR title by five strokes at the 2021 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Narashino when the event triumphantly returned to its intended host country of Japan after being played in the U.S. in 2020 due to COVID-19. Just three months later, Matsuyama carried the momentum into his second win of the season, and eighth career TOUR title, at the Sony Open in Hawaii, equalling the record for most wins by an Asian golfer.
The batch of victories came on the heels of his historic 2021 Masters title where he became the first Japanese golfer to win at Augusta National. The current World No. 18 finished runner-up to Woods at the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in 2019 and T28 at Sherwood Country Club in 2020. He also made his fifth consecutive appearance in the Presidents Cup last week.
“I am pleased to announce I will be participating in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP again this year and am very happy to be able to compete as the defending champion in the only PGA TOUR tournament held in Japan,” said Matsuyama.
“I will do my best to play well for all the golf fans who have always supported me, and I hope to see my fans at the golf course.”
Young, 25, has emerged as one of the most exciting young talents on the PGA TOUR following five runner-up finishes in the 2021-22 season, including at the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
The 2021 Korn Ferry Tour graduate also finished third at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills and 19th at the TOUR Championship. The World No. 17th will be making his ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP debut.
“The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP is one of those tournaments the guys speak very highly about and I’m looking forward to seeing the legendary Japanese crowds in person and experiencing the culture over there,” said Young, who earned 1.5 points in his Presidents Cup debut.
“It’ll be my first time visiting Japan and I have heard nothing by good things about the country and how the fans embrace the game of golf over there. I’m also coming off a fantastic rookie year and would love nothing more than to come away with my first PGA TOUR win at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP to kick off the new season.”
Hovland, the World No. 11, finished 15th in the 2021-22 FedExCup final standings after securing a career third PGA TOUR victory at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba and four other top-10s, including a T4 at the Open Championship for his career first top-10 in a major.
The 25-year-old was also victorious in the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour earlier in the year and was a member of the European Ryder Cup team in 2021. This will be his third appearance in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.
Alongside Matsuyama, fellow countryman and PGA TOUR winner Satoshi Kodaira will also join the field. “I’m very grateful to receive an exemption into the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP and would like to thank all those who are involved in making this tournament possible.” Kodaira said.
“I invite the Japanese fans to come out and experience the amazing play of the PGA TOUR professionals in-person. Thank you to all the have supported me as well, I’ll do my best to prepare for the tournament and would love nothing more than to have a chance to win at the end of the week.”
Additional International Team Presidents Cup members who will head to Japan to compete for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP title include Si Woo Kim (South Korea), K.H. Lee (South Korea), Mito Pereira (Chile), Sebastián Muñoz (Colombia), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (South Africa), Corey Conners (Canada) and Cam Davis (Australia).
Tom Kim emerged as one of the stars for the Internationals after delivering two points in his debut while Si Woo Kim was the top points earner with three points, including a Singles victory over Justin Thomas.
The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will showcase a 78-man field which will compete over four rounds with no cut. As Japan’s only official PGA TOUR tournament, the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP was successfully launched at Narashino in 2019 when Tiger Woods claimed the inaugural title with a three-shot victory over Hideki Matsuyama en route to equalling Sam Snead’s record 82 PGA TOUR victories.
The 2022 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will include the leading players from the 2021-2022 FedExCup Playoffs Points List, players designated by the Japan Golf Tour Organization, the winner of the 2022 BMW Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup on the Japan Golf Tour and sponsor exemptions. As in previous years, part of the tournament’s proceeds will be donated to charitable causes.
As a full FedExCup event, the winner of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will earn 500 FedExCup points. The event will be co-sanctioned once again with the Japan Golf Tour Organization.
For more information on the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, please visit zozochampionship.com/en/