By News Team
20th October 2020
Although the 2020 running of the Zozo Championship has a new home, unlike last week’s venue Shadow Creek, Sherwood Country Club is well known to golf fans.
The course in California hosted Tiger Woods’ event, the Hero World Challenge, from 2000-2013 and many of the players in the field this week have course experience at the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.
Tiger back to defend
As is the norm, when Woods is in the field he’s the headline act and there are reasons to perhaps be more optimistic about his chances here than anywhere else so far this season. Firstly, he’s the defending champion, and given the 15-time major champion has a knack of winning the same event over and over, this will be one he’d love to defend.
Secondly, his record at Sherwood is quite frankly ridiculous. In the 13 years Woods’ event was played at the course, he won five times and finished runner-up on four occasions, so it’s clearly a course he absolutely loves.
Augusta next month is clearly what Tiger is readying himself for, but what better way to tune up for his defence there than by winning this title for a second consecutive year? Woods is 30/1 for victory.
In-form Watson fancied
Xander Schauffele will have his backers again this week after another impressive showing at the CJ Cup. However, the 26-year-old is developing a habit of not getting it over the line and given he’s just 11/1 here, that’s a big enough negative to pass him up. Instead, it’s BUBBA WATSON who looks the one to be with at 33/1.
Perhaps surprisingly it’s over two years since the 41-year-old tasted victory and things haven’t quite gone to plan since, with just five top-10s. A major cause of that has been the putter, which has continually held the American back when the rest of his game has been much more like its old-self. Last week was a prime example. Bubba led the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green, but was ranked 51st for putting, and despite such putting woes still ended up in a tie for seventh.
Watson hit over 66% of greens at the U.S. Open and then at the CJ Cup he was even better, hitting 75%, so it’s clear the game from tee to green is firing on all cylinders and it’s just a stone-cold putter that is really denying him the chance to contend. It did show signs of warming up in the final round, though, and he did gain shots on the field on the greens on Sunday, so if Watson can continue that improvement then he’ll really fancy his chances this week.
That’s because Sherwood is a course he has some fond memories of, having finished in a tie for third the last time he played there. It’s a course that should suit Bubba given it’s relatively short by modern-day standards at just over 7,000 yards, while for someone who feasts on par-fives, the thought of five per round must be music to the ears of the big-hitting American.