ZOZO Championship Predictions, Odds & Picks

ZOZO Championship 2020

  • Tiger Woods returns to action and defends the title
  • The tournament moves from Japan to California
  • Last prestige event before the Masters in November

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ZOZO Championship Odds

PlayerOdds
Jon Rahm+900
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Xander Schauffele+1100
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Justin Thomas+1200
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Rory McIlroy+1400
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Webb Simpson+1600
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Tyrrell Hatton+1800
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Collin Morikawa+2000
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Patrick Reed+2200
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Hideki Matsuyama+2500
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Patrick Cantlay+2800
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ZOZO Championship Picks and Predictions

Webb Simpson has the tools to land the win at +2000 with bet365.

Ryan Palmer can grab the first-round lead at +6600 with DraftKings Sportsbook.

Take Bubba Watson to better Tiger Woods in their BetMGM match bet at -125.

Picks:

Webb Simpson outright +2000 at bet365

Ryan Palmer to own the first-round lead +6600 at DraftKings Sportsbook

Bubba Watson to beat Tiger Woods in a match-bet -125 at BetMGM

How to Watch the ZOZO Championship

The ZOZO Championship Information
WhatThe ZOZO Championship
WhereSherwood Country Club, California
WhenThursday, October 22 – Sunday, October 25
How to watchThursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 5 pm & 9 pm ET (Golf Channel). All four days on Sky Sports.

ZOZO Championship Profile

Twelve months ago, when this tournament represented the PGA Tour’s first venture into Japan, the big story was the lack of fans on the course for a large part of the week, a consequence of bad weather which threatened their safety.

Tiger Woods admitted:

It was a little different. You make a putt and go to put your hand up and it’s like – Mmm, you really don’t need to put your hand up, there’s no-one clapping.What seemed peculiar then is now, of course, the new norm – how quickly life can change!

It has changed, too, for Woods, whose victory near Tokyo was by a dominant three strokes and the third triumph in just over a year.

In 2020 he started well enough, with a top ten at Torrey Pines, but since then he hasn’t made one top 30 in six attempts, and four times he has ended the week outside the top 50. He won’t fear the new venue, however, because it is Sherwood Country Club in the state of California where he won five World Challenge events.

Jon Rahm is the favorite with the bookies at +900, with Xander Schauffele, a runner-up in last week’s CJ Cup, rated the +1100 second favorite.

The field might be small (78) but it runs deep and for most of the world’s top players this week represents their final run-out prior to making the journey to Augusta National in just three weeks’ time.

Simpson Can Spin a Webb

There’s an excellent place to start when looking for the contenders this week and it’s an easy link with the course designer at Sherwood, Jack Nicklaus.

The great man’s layouts have the habit of demanding strength in three areas of the game: smart driving (he presents wide fairways, but the sensible play will always be to one area of the landing area), precise approach play (his greens permit multiple pin positions to fully test the players throughout the week) and when the ball finds trouble, it will be difficult to save par.

Those design principles have meant that some players thrive on his creations whilst others struggle. Of the eight men to win at Sherwood, all had exceptional records on other Nicklaus designs, but it is one of them in particular which might provide the biggest clue.

Harbour Town was his very first job and three players have won both there and Sherwood, whilst Luke Donald finished in the top three seven times and Zach Johnson was a runner-up there.

Rory McIlroy called Sherwood a “fiddly” test, a description that fits Harbour Town like a glove and Webb Simpson loves it there. He’s also a fine performer on the par-5s, of which there are an unusual five this week, and stellar with his approach play which we’ve already established will be another essential requirement. His form is also excellent, with two wins in 2020 and he’s not finished outside the top 20 in his last five starts.

He’s a very solid each-way selection at +2000 with bet365.

Palmer Set for Quick Start

A glance at when and where 44-year-old Ryan Palmer has made fast starts in the last few years is a little bit eye-opening. A year ago he struck a first-round 67 to lie tied fourth in this event and he was close to that last week as well when his 68 had him tied sixth. Those numbers are merely the introduction, however, because it’s his record on Nicklaus’s designs which really grabs the attention.

This year at Muirfield Village he carded a 67 for tied second, he also opened with a 65 for tied third in the Heritage at Harbour Town where a year earlier his Thursday 66 had him tied second.

In 2018 he logged a 67 at another Nicklaus track, Montreux, for an early share of the fifth a year after he started with a 66 for tied second, the same year his 66 at PGA National grabbed tied fifth.

It’s an intriguing pattern and could land us a huge coup if he can maintain it whilst also just pressing the accelerator a little harder.

His odds for the first round of +6600 with DraftKings Sportsbook are very tempting.

Take Bubba in the Watson-Woods Duel

On the one hand, it seems slightly sacrilegious, not to mention bold, to take on Tiger Woods. He is, after all, possibly the greatest-ever golfer, playing on a course he’s five times finished winner on. But here’s the thing: he hasn’t ended the week in the top 30 in his last six starts and in that period he’s not even been in that position at any stage after the first round.

His Strokes Gained Tee to Green stats have been bad, his stats Around the Green poor, and in Putting they have been terrible.

In contrast, Bubba Watson hinted at the form with two top 20s in the FedExCup Playoffs, added a solid T31st in the US Open, and was tied seventh last week. He, too, is struggling on the greens, but the rest of his game is in fine fettle.

Take Bubba over Tiger/Watson over Woods, at +125 with BetMGM.

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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: matt.cooper@wsn.com