The PGA Tour takes its show on the road this week… way, way on the road.
The Tour jets more than 5,500 miles from Las Vegas to Chiba, Japan, for the 2023 ZOZO Championship.
The tournament will feature a limited field of just 78 players teeing it up on the Narashino Country Club.
The eligible players include the top 60 PGA Tour players in the world rankings (only 18 of those players made the trip so there will be plenty of others outside the top 60 who will be in the field) along with the top eight players from the Japan Tour money list, nine special exemptions, and the winner of the Japan Tour’s Mori Building Cup.
It’s proven to be a great tournament for players to pocket the top prize of $1.53 million as well as 500 FedEx Cup points that could still make a big difference as we get closer to the end of this season.
Add in the fact that all of the normal perks go along with the win — the big one being a two-year exemption to keep your Tour card — and just about every player jumps at the chance to tee it up here if they get that phone call.
While players like Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, and a lot of other big names won’t be making the trip, that will open the door for a plethora of other players to get back in the winner’s circle… or get there for the first time.
Don’t believe us? Well, look no further than last year’s winner: Keegan Bradley.
Bradley hadn’t won since the BMW Championship in 2018 before winning here last year. And he rode that momentum to a second victory as he also won the Travelers Championship this past June.
If you’re in the field — with this no-cut format and a reduced number of players — it’s an ideal event for players to make their mark.
Just a quick reminder to bettors: The tournament starts late Wednesday night US time, so don’t get shut out from the betting window.
Check out our Zozo Championship field, odds, and picks. Learn more about our online sportsbook promotions, including BetMGM offering up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets if your first wager loses with BetMGM bonus code TODAY.
ZOZO Championship Field: Top Favorites & Best Odds Available
- Xander Schauffele –
- Collin Morikawa –
- Sungjae Im –
- Rickie Fowler –
- Min Woo Lee –
- Hideki Matsuyama –
- Sahith Theegala –
- Keegan Bradley –
- Cam Davis –
- Adam Scott –
Can Keegan Bradley Go Back-To-Back?
If you’re an avid reader of this space, you know we love to check out the defending champ’s chances to repeat as our first option.
Well, this week we’re going to pass on Keegan Bradley even though he is at an appealing +2000 (Best Live Odds: ).
While he’s one of the favorites, he’s coming off a long, long layoff.
In fact, he hasn’t teed it up since the Tour Championship in late August.
Add in the fact that he’ still got to be stinging a little from not being picked as a Ryder Cup captain’s pick.
On the other hand, we could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time (see last week’s choice of not picking Brooks Koepka to defend in the LIV Tour tournament).
Bradley may be fired up to show Zach Johnson made a mistake in not picking him and go out and have another great week.
But we’re betting against it.
Take a Look at Collin Morikawa This Week
It’s a semi-home game for Collin Morikawa as he is of Japanese and Chinese descent.
Morikawa, who is +1000 (Best Live Odds: ) this week, has played in all the previous ZOZO events with a best finish of seventh in 2021.
Last year, he slipped to T-45 as he started off his 2022-23 season at this event.
He went on to keep improving every time out over his next seven events, highlighted by a string of three tournaments where he went sixth, second, and third.
For the year, he is 20th in the world rankings and is sixth in the FedEx Cup rankings, meaning he is eligible for every tournament next season — big or small.
It’s going to be his first tournament since the stinging Ryder Cup loss and playing here lets him back on the course in an event he loves and there would be no better way to finish the week than hoisting that trophy.
He’s right behind Xander Schauffele at +750 (Best Live Odds: ) when it comes to favorites, but we’re thinking it’s time for him to get back into the winner’s circle.
Will the Real Rickie Fowler Please Stand Up?
We’ve been on the Rickie Fowler bandwagon a few times this year — including his playoff win at the Rocket Mortgage event in early July — and we’re driving that bandwagon this week.
Fowler, at +1600 (Best Live Odds: ) this week, was a couple of bad swings or missed cuts from going into golf oblivion until, apparently, something clicked in his game.
Now he’s back and contending early and often.
Since that Rocket Mortgage victory, he picked up three top-25 finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs including a sixth at the Tour Championship.
Like Morikawa, this is his first action since the Ryder Cup.
Unlike Morikawa, he comes into this event off a T-2 here last year.
He wasn’t in top form when he made the trek to Japan last year, and he still wound up almost winning.
This year, he’s in great form and confident. That’s a winning combination in our book.
Zozo Championship Props
We’re going to look at DraftKings for this week’s props action.
First, we’re going with a bet we’ve never made before: There will be a wire-to-wire winner at +800.
With a couple of superstars at the top of the odds board (Schauffele, Morikawa, Fowler, and Matsuyama to name a couple), it could happen if someone jumps out to an early lead and keeps the pedal down.
We’re going to also bet the winner will par the 72nd hole at +130. If someone’s got a lead, par is going to be good enough to cash that winning check.