The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks

  • The tournament returns to Japan after playing the 2020 event in California
  • Tiger Woods was triumphant the last time the championship was held in Japan
  • Note that the time zone differences mean that the event is almost 24 hours ahead of the normal PGA Tour schedule


Odds for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP are taken from BetMGM.

Player Odds
Xander Schauffele +600
Collin Morikawa +700
Hideki Matsuyama +1200
Will Zalatoris +1600
Tommy Fleetwood +2200
Joaquin Niemann +2500
Rickie Fowler +2500
Jhonattan Vegas +2800
Erik Van Rooyen +3000
Alex Noren +3300


Collin Morikawa is the outright pick at +700 with Unibet

Keegan Bradley can grab a top 10 at +320 with bet365

Lanto Griffin to beat Garrick Higgo in their match-bet at -125 with DraftKings Sportsbook


We didn’t know it at the time, but the inaugural edition of this PGA TOUR venture to Japan was both prescient and also somewhat melancholy.

In the first instance, the golfers had been welcomed to new shores by exultant fans who flocked the fairways through the early part of the week and cheered their every move

But following a storm on Friday the property was closed to spectators on Saturday and the golf was played in more or less complete silence (although some fans hung around outside the property shouting their approval!).

It seemed very strange that day and yet within nine months it had become all too familiar of course!

In the second instance, that week witnessed a stellar display from Tiger Woods who carded rounds of 64-64-66-67 to share the first-round lead before pulling clear of the field over the final 54 holes.

Two years on it remains his most recent win and, following his traffic accident in April, it may well prove to be his last ever.

To doubt Woods is always foolhardy, of course, and it was therefore wonderful to hear reports last week that his rehabilitation is going well. Perhaps he will prove us wrong again. Let’s hope so.

The host course, Narashino Country Club, is very typical of Japanese courses: it is pure parkland with tight fairways.

Find those fairways and the ball sits up nicely in the Zoysia grass, making approaches shot a delight to hit. But miss the short grass and that Zoysia can be sticky and difficult to safely escape when it is longer.

Morikawa Can Go One Better Than Last Week

We very nearly landed the spoils last week when host club member Collin Morikawa came up one shot short of forcing Rory McIlroy’s hand in THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT.

Morikawa has reported at the start of the week that he was back to top form and fitness, and he duly delivered with the exception of an average second round.

He will have been thrilled by his weekend of 65-62 and he can now take that form into a course that will be right up his street.

In the 2019 tournament hitting greens in regulation proved to be an important factor and Morikawa himself explained why.

You don’t have to hit driver at all,” he said. “It’s really important to hit the fairways. Even though the rough isn’t super long, it’s still penalizing into the small greens.

Tiger Woods backed up those sentiments when saying of the Zoysia grass in the rough: “You can get some serious flyers out of there – monster flyers!”

As mentioned, the flipside is that Zoysia grass is lovely to hit from when on the cut grass: the ball sits up and begs to be hit, handing the further advantage to those who find it.

Morikawa is superb from tee to green and arguably the world’s finest hitter of approach shots so this looks an ideal test.

An intriguing element this week is that the top three in the market all have Japanese links. Xander Schauffele and Morikawa have a family heritage in the country, then obviously Hideki Matsuyama represents the nation.

All three will have plenty of media responsibilities, therefore, but Morikawa will dodge Schauffele’s post-Olympic duties and Matsuyama’s intense pressure.

Take him in the outright at +700 with Unibet.

Bradley Can Land a Top 10

When Keegan Bradley likes a course, it makes sense to take note.

He’s got multiple top 10s at Bay Hill, Firestone, Houston, Kuala Lumpur, Las Colinas, Muirfield Village, Riviera and Torrey Pines.

Earlier this year he contended in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and, although he fell away at the weekend, it was a similar pattern because he had finished third there in 2012.

Two years ago he didn’t quite land a top 10 here at Narashino, but he did finish T13th and he can improve on that this week.

A big factor in his favor is that experts at Firestone performed well here in 2019. In fact, three of the top four had wins there.

Bradley has also triumphed there in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and what the two courses have in common is a strong test from the tee.

Bradley enjoys that. Take him to make the top 10 with bet365 offering +320.

Griffin Can Best Higgo

A nice and simple match-up this week with DraftKings pairing the American Lanto Griffin with the young South African Garrick Higgo.

Griffin is the favorite, but he’s well worth supporting.

Why so?

Well, they’ve played in the same tournament seven times and Griffin leads the head-to-head 5-1 – and the loss was in the first event of that run!

Griffin also has the morale boost of finishing sixth last time out in the Shriners Children’s Open.

And Higgo? The poor fellow has seen his form nosedive from boom-time to bust.

Back in the early summer he landed two European Tour wins and a PGA Tour breakthrough in just five starts.

Since then? 11 starts and not one top 40.

The bleak situation should be overcome in time, but take the opportunity to oppose him this week.

Back Griffin in the match-bet at -125 with DraftKings Sportsbook.


Location Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Cheba, Japan
Time Thursday, October 21 – Sunday, October 24
How to watch Note the time difference: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11.30 pm ET (Golf Channel). And all four days on Sky Sports.

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Matt Cooper

Expert on Golf

Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]