Tiger Woods’ winning highlights from ZOZO Championship
Tiger Woods recorded his 82nd PGA TOUR victory at the 2019 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP — tying Sam Snead’s record for most wins in TOUR history — and he did so with the set makeup he maintained for most of that year, which also included a win at Augusta National. His setup from his successful 2019 shares the same DNA with his gear past and present.
Save for prototype versions of the TaylorMade MG2 TW Grind wedges, Woods’ setup was the same as for his spellbinding Masters triumph. Since signing with TaylorMade in 2017, Woods has largely transitioned into the current model of the company’s driver at release. He did so with the M5, outfitting it with the Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White shaft — a profile he continues to favor.
Interestingly, the TaylorMade M3 5-wood has remained a stalwart in his bag despite being a couple of generations old. This is likely due to it flying a particular number and more recent fairway woods flying too far, thus creating too large a yardage gap between his longer clubs.
With this week’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP returning to the site of Woods’ historic win, let’s look back at the clubs he used to win two years ago in Japan.
Tiger Woods 2019 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP winning WITB:
Driver: TaylorMade M5 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 60 TX
3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 TX
5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 80 TX
Irons: TaylorMade P7TW (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: TaylorMade MG 2 “Tiger MT Grind” (56-12, 60-10 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS
Grip: Ping PP58 Blackout
Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
Reliving Tiger Woods’ record-tying victory at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
After Tiger Woods’ opening shot of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, no one could have guessed a performance for the ages was soon to be unleashed.
Woods had not played since limping out of the FedExCup Playoffs months earlier, undergoing another knee surgery shortly after. The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP was his first start since, and he started it with three consecutive bogeys.
But from that point on, Woods produced a ball-striking display reminiscent of his prime.
Over five days – thanks to a mega storm that canceled Friday’s play – we witnessed history as Woods outlasted a challenge from local hero Hideki Matsuyama to win by three shots and take his place alongside Sam Snead atop the PGA TOUR’s all-time wins list. The two legends are tied with 82 wins apiece.
We do not know what the future holds as Woods recovers from his February car accident, but we can take a trip down memory lane with some of those who were closest to the action in Japan two years ago. This week’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP marks a return to the site of Woods’ historic victory after the COVID-19 pandemic forced last year’s event to be held in California.
Here are the accounts of those players who had the best seats in the house as Woods won No. 82.
‘HOW ABOUT THAT, HUH?’
After his opening three bogeys, Woods rebounded with four birdies to close his first nine holes. Then he took things up a notch with five more in his last seven holes for a 6-under 64. Nine birdies were his most in a round since 2013 and he had three more birdies than any other player. He birdied four of the five par-3s and sat tied for the lead with Gary Woodland.
Playing partner Tommy Fleetwood: “It was a cool atmosphere. I loved being there. … His start, … it was interesting. You never know what a round of golf is going to unfold and he hit it in the water off the first, hooked a tee shot off the next, and then he bogeyed the next and he was 3 over.
“But from that point on… it probably is the best round of golf I’ve ever watched. Like just the way he conducted it. The way he played, the control he had of his golf ball. I shook his hand and I was like, ‘Tiger that was really good today’. And he just looks at me and he went, ‘How about that, huh?’ with that big grin of his. And at that point I was like, man, even he knows it was so good. So yeah, it was very, very impressive.”
Playing partner Satoshi Kodaira: “He’s my idol so it was quite nerve-wracking playing with him, but I definitely learned a lot by just being around him. … While it’s hard for me to say it was a great couple days with the way I played, it was a huge opportunity for me to spend some meaningful time around him.
“To me there’s nobody bigger or better than him, so to play with him was just so exciting. But also at the same time, realizing that he’s also watching me play as well made me extremely nervous.”
- Extended Highlights
Tiger Woods’ Round 1 highlights from ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
After Friday’s play was called off due to a large storm, players returned for the second round on Saturday to play without spectators. After encountering huge galleries in the first round, players now faced near-silence, except for the fact some fans tried climbing trees and looking through fence gaps. Woods produced another 64, this time by producing five birdies on his back nine. At the end of the round, he led by two over Woodland.
FLEETWOOD: “We went from 20 deep to playing a round of golf with no people. Look at the contrast. I played golf with Tiger Woods on the return to Japan, and that special atmosphere, and then at the same time, the next round, I play golf with Tiger Woods where there’s nobody around. And both are equally as cool because it’s just so amazing. There were still guys like lining up on the roads at any sort of opportunity that they had to find a gap and they were all out there cheering for Tiger Woods.”
KODAIRA: “I talked with him a bit. I told him, ‘I’m a big fan,’ and he said, ‘Thank you.’ I think the happiest moment for me was when he called me by my own name. Simply put, it was amazing. … His rhythm stayed consistent the entire time. From the start of the week right down to when he was in contention to win, his rhythm never faltered. It was truly amazing to watch.
“I learned so much from that experience. Since then, I’ve tried to be more conscious of playing with a consistent rhythm. I don’t get panicked or upset now. I’ve taught myself to play my rounds with better rhythm, and that’s all thanks to being able to play with him.”
RACE TO THE FINISH
With time to make up, the decision was made to play in threesomes for the final two rounds without a re-pairing. Sunday would see a round and a half played for the final group of Woods, Woodland and Keegan Bradley before they returned Monday to finish the final seven holes. Matsuyama, Corey Conners and Daniel Berger were the group ahead.
Woods shot a 66 in the third round to be three clear of Matsuyama when they turned around and headed back out for the start of the final round.
BRADLEY: “It was amazing. I was so excited to play with Tiger in those last two rounds, because we knew they weren’t going to re-pair, so I was going to get to play with him both rounds, and we got to the first tee and they were about 10 deep on each side of the fairway. So it was pretty fun.
“After the third round, before we restarted for the final round, he went in and changed his shirt to the red Sunday red, which was so cool.”
WOODLAND: “He was playing beautiful. It was a ball-striking clinic. He just kept the golf ball in play, hit middle of the greens, two-putting with ease, just kind of worked his way around. It really was a clinic. And when he’s not on he still hits it to 25 feet instead of 10 feet. And it’s always pin high and that’s what’s so impressive. That’s what we’re all striving to do.”
- Round Recaps
Tiger Woods maintains lead into Round 4 at ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
‘I COULD FEEL HIM WATCHING’
Woods had three birdies and a bogey in the 11 holes of the final round that were played Sunday. He slept that night three shots ahead of Matsuyama. But he made a bogey when resuming the next morning and soon after stood in the 14th fairway as Matsuyama had a 5-foot birdie putt to move within a shot. The local star missed the putt and Woods would birdie the hole, setting up his 82nd triumph.
CONNERS: “I remember vividly finishing Monday morning. He was in the group behind me. There was a limited number of fans because of the rain, but on the 13th hole, a par-3, it was along the property line and there were all these fully-grown adults trying to climb the fence, or peek through the matting. I don’t know if they were trying to cut little holes in it so they could see through.
“The next hole was a par-5 and there was a backup on the tee, and I was kind of nervous hitting the tee shot because Tiger was on the tee. Who knows if he was watching me, but I haven’t played with him, and I was a huge Tiger fan growing up, so it was cool.”
MATSUYAMA: “Playing in front of him Sunday and Monday, there was a lot of pressure. I certainly felt that. When I was putting on 14 and Tiger was waiting back in the fairway to hit his second shot just standing there, … I could feel him watching. I could feel that pressure. It was a big learning experience.”
WOODLAND: “You could tell he’d not been in contention for a little while, … I guess since Augusta earlier that year. He hit one bad shot on 12 and Hideki was making a run. But from then on you can tell he kind of flipped a switch. He was kind of just on cruise control. From his bogey, it was vintage Tiger.
“At that point I was out of contention and he was trying to close. It obviously meant a lot to him to get to 82. You could tell that. I was trying to stay out of his way, but he talked the whole time on the back nine. I don’t know if that’s completely normal for him, but it was impressive.
“Not many guys get you to watch while you’re competing but he’s one of them. You want to beat him, but when the time was over, when I could tell I wasn’t going to win, I was rooting for him. When he’s on, his distance control is better than anybody I’ve ever seen and that was evident that week. It was as good as I’ve seen ball-striking-wise, and then he hit the shots coming down the stretch that he had to do. That’s pretty special.”
BRADLEY: “I was out of it so I wanted to watch him and sort of pick up on stuff that he was doing. I noticed a few things that I keep with me. … Him winning tournaments, it’s so natural, so, so smooth.
“I just noticed that his gait, his pace was very much the same for all 36 holes, but mostly just how comfortable he looked and just how sort of at ease he was in the moment, which was what I expected, but it was pretty cool to see up close.”
‘I KNOW DEEP DOWN HE WANTS 83’
While Woods’ future remains unknown, to a man each interviewed player believed he can make it back to the TOUR if that was what he wanted to do.
BRADLEY: “Playing 82 PGA TOUR events is pretty good, let alone winning them. But he’s one of the greatest athletes, one of the greatest at his job of anybody in any profession. What he’s done in golf is remarkable. You can never write off someone like that.”
FLEETWOOD: “I played with him when he won at East Lake. I played with him at ZOZO when he won. Clearly, I’ve been good to him in the latter part of his career. So if he wants to hire me when he makes his return, I’ll play with him full-time. We can negotiate and talk about it.”
MATSUYAMA: “He’s been doing special things his entire career and I think we will see him do so again.”
WOODLAND: “If it is the last (win), it’s sad. You hope he finds a way to come back and if anybody can, it’s him. He deserves it. The way he’s been out here and the way he’s carried his career and his game has inspired all of us. Obviously it was cool for him to get to 82, but I know deep down he wants 83.”
Tiger Woods’ winning highlights from ZOZO Championship
Players on Tiger Woods’ 82nd win at 2019 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
Tiger Woods takes the solo lead at ZOZO
- Extended Highlights
Hideki Matsuyama emulates Tiger Woods with Masters and ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP victory double
Japan’s golfing hero recovered from a front nine final round stumble to complete victory at the Narashino Country Club.
Even in victory, Hideki Matsuyama was tough on himself.
Ahead of this week’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Narashino Country Club he had marked his form as a rather miserable one out of ten.
So, did he re-assess his judgment in the aftermath of his five shot victory?
“I would rate my performance as two or three,” he said. “From the results perspective, it went about to eight, but I think it’s because all the energy that I was getting from the fans and I was very surprised how much energy I was feeding off of them.
“Yes, that’s how I honestly felt. My confidence was around one or two, but thanks to all the Japanese crowd out there, I was able to feed off of their energy and play well.”
It was an entertainingly downbeat post-triumph chat from the 29-year-old who had seen his pre-final round one shot lead over Cameron Tringale turned into a one shot deficit after ten holes on Sunday afternoon.
His response was strong, ticking three birdies in the next five holes to decisively retake the lead.
Tringale could only answer with pars and when he pushed on the final two holes he made a pair of bogeys; Matsuyama, in contrast, thrashed a brilliant approach to the par-5 18th hole that he very nearly slam-dunked into the hole before draining the eagle putt to confirm the victory.
He then admitted that he’d had a double target this week.
“It was one of my biggest goals to win in front of the Japanese fans and I’m very happy to have accomplished that,” he said.
“Also, in 2019 Tiger Woods won the Masters and went on to win the ZOZO Championship, so I’m glad that I have been able to emulate that as well.”
Feeding off the fans in Japan.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 24, 2021
He then returned to his favourite theme of the week: how his poor golf had been saved by the fans.
“You guys may have had a chance to see me on the driving range,” he said. “My balls were all over the place and not consistent, but once at the golf course, I was able to feed off of the energy of the crowd and was able to play well.
“A factor that was going for me was the fans rooting for me and they were behind me, so I’m glad that I was able to convert the energy from the crowd.
“I was the only Japanese player contending on the leaderboard. To be honest, there were some pressures to deal with, but I’m glad I was able to convert that to positives.”
Home sweet home. 🇯🇵 🏆 pic.twitter.com/V6cVDYa4oU
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 24, 2021
It’s been a curious year for the Sendai-based player, one in which he has struggled for consistency and yet also enjoyed huge highs.
A man who was once something of a top 10 machine has actually landed just five of them in 26 starts in 2021.
But the first was his maiden Major Championship victory at the Masters in April, the second saw him just miss out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, he added second in the SGC St Jude Invitational, and now glory on home soil.
He revealed after the win that he had his eye on the future.
“I don’t have any schedule set for the upcoming weeks,” he said, “but hopefully I can keep the momentum going for the rest of the year.
“The most PGA TOUR wins by Asian players is K.J. Choi’s eight wins and Shigeki Maruyama has told me to go on and beat that record, so I’m glad I’m getting close to it.”
Tiger Woods hasn’t played a competitive round in 2021 but still should earn the largest share of the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program money, according to publicly available data and what we know about how the Tour will dole out its $40 million PIP fund.
That’s according to my estimates based on the data, what the PGA Tour has said about the program and what has been reported by other golf outlets.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, here’s the background on the PGA Tour’s PIP money. It is a $40-million counterpunch to the Premier Golf League, which reportedly was dangling large amounts of money to lure away PGA Tour stars. The PIP will distribute an eight-figure prize pool to the 10 players on the Tour with the top “Impact Score,” including $8 million to the top player.
The program was not publicly known until Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch revealed its existence back in April. According to his reporting, the “Impact Score” is based largely on a player’s digital footprint, including search volume, Nielsen Brand ratings, Q rating and overall social media and digital impact. Here’s the complete list, as far as we know:
Here’s how I estimated who leads this season (you can see the raw data on a spreadsheet here).
I compared every top-50 golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings — plus Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler, since they would’ve been among the top 10 finishers in Impact Score in 2019 — head to head to Bryson DeChambeau on Google Trends to measure the relative search interest since the start of the season.
I chose DeChambeau as the relative litmus test, given the media coverage he drives. He also doesn’t drive so much coverage that he would dwarf any other player in a head-to-head comparison (e.g. Woods’ search interest is roughly five times that of DeChambeau this season, so comparing every player to Tiger does not make as much practical sense).
I also measured each player’s Twitter and Instagram following, as well as the number of Google News search results for each player, as a proxy for measuring the media coverage that a player drives, since some of the measures used in the Player Impact Program are not publicly available. I gave each player a ranking based on their Google Trends interest, Twitter and Instagram following, and Google News results, then created an aggregate ranking that weighed each category equally.
Tiger, of course, is recovering from injuries sustained during an automobile accident. But Woods is still eligible for the Player Impact Program, as are all current regular PGA Tour members who have played in at least five co-sponsored or approved Tour events in at least one of the previous five seasons. Also eligible are current PGA Tour Champions players who have played in at least 10 combined PGA Tour or Champions events in at least one of the previous five seasons.
Given that only one of the factors – the Nielsen Brand Exposure rating – is even tangentially tied to playing in tournaments, since that rating results from exposure a player generates on broadcasts, high-profile players who aren’t necessarily in contention on the Tour on a weekly basis could still earn a top Impact Score.
While player rankings from the FedExCup Points list aren’t part of a player’s Impact Score, a PGA Tour spokesperson wrote in an email, “although, one could argue that if a player is at the top of the FedExCup points list, then he’s playing well, will be in more media articles, more social chatter, etc.,” so there’s still an indirect tie to on-course performance in the program.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said at the Tour Championship that the program is based on the calendar year and the league has no plans to publicize who wins.
2021 PGA Tour Player Impact Program: Predicted Finish
Here are the players we project to finish in the top 10 of the PGA Tour Player Impact Program for 2021:
1. Tiger Woods
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sport
It should be no surprise that no one on the PGA Tour drives more Google search interest or media coverage, and no one eclipses his 6.5 million Twitter followers and 2.7 million Instagram followers.
A PGA Tour spokesperson confirmed that Woods is still eligible for the Player Impact Program.
2. Rory McIlroy
McIroy is second only to Tiger in Twitter and Instagram following, and he’s third in Google News results, so the four-time major winner and two-time leading PGA Tour money-winner will likely bring home a significant chunk of change from the debut season of the Player Impact Program.
3. Jordan Spieth
Spieth excels across social media with two million Twitter followers and 1.6 million Instagram followers, both of which rank fourth among the players examined.
4. Phil Mickelson
The reigning PGA Championship winner and six-time major champ has shown that it’s not only millennials who have a good handle on social media. His 1.2 million Instagram followers rank fifth among the players examined and his roughly 782,000 Twitter followers were 11th.
Only five players have more Google News results, as Lefty continues to drive media coverage.
5. Dustin Johnson
The No. 2 player in the world has a combined Instagram and Twitter following of more than two million and he ranks second in media coverage, based on Google News results.
6. Bryson DeChambeau
DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion, has stayed in the top 10 of the OWGR for roughly a year, with only one week ranked outside of the top 10 at No. 11, and right now he’s part of the conversation — however you want to define that, in terms of social, digital and related media interest — as much as almost any player on the PGA Tour.
7. Rickie Fowler
As of early October, Fowler is ranked No. 125 in the OWGR, with his best finish in the 2020-21 season being a T8 at the PGA Championship. He missed the cut in four of his last nine tournaments and he finished in the top 30 just twice.
But Fowler is still one of golf’s biggest stars — with stars being defined by the metrics that go into his Impact Score.
8. Justin Thomas
Golfweek reported that “it’s believed the formula used to calculate Impact Scores will distinguish between positive and negative coverage a player generates.” When Morning Read analyzed the search interest in PGA Tour players using Google Trends, which measures search interest online, search interest in Thomas spiked in January, when he was caught on a hot mic saying a homophobic slur. Thomas and Fowler had the same average score in our analysis, so we gave Fowler the edge, given that not all of Thomas’ publicity was good publicity.
In an email to Morning Read, a PGA Tour spokesperson said, “The Commissioner has discretion to modify a player’s impact score due to negative coverage if needed,” when asked, in general, about potential negative impacts of negative media coverage.
9. Brooks Koepka
Koepka was the world’s No. 1 player this time last year and he has since dropped as far as 13th in the OWGR, but he climbed back into the top 10 with three consecutive top-six finishes at the U.S. Open, Travelers Championship and Open Championship. Among the players examined, Koepka ranks between eighth and 12th in Twitter following, Instagram following and Google News results.
10. Jon Rahm
The world’s No. 1 player and the reigning U.S. Open winner is still a relative newcomer to the PGA Tour, having turned pro in 2016, but he drives more media coverage than anyone not named Tiger, DJ or Rory, according to Google News results, and he’s the fifth-most searched player on Google this season, based on Google Trends.
Players just outside the top 10 (and Jim Herman)
Here are the players who just missed the cut: Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed.
It’s also worth highlighting Jim Herman, the world’s No. 162 player, who has become something of a sarcastic heel to the Player Impact Program and its $40-million prize pool. After DeChambeau and Koepka’s 12-hole competition in Las Vegas during Thanksgiving week was announced in early October, Herman quote tweeted Golf Digest, writing, “The best way to show you’re not falling for this #thirstTrap is by liking and retweeting me. #PiP #40,000,000.”
|Full name||Eldrick Tont Woods|
|Born||December 30, 1975
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|Sporting nationality||United States|
|Residence||Jupiter Island, Florida|
(m. 2004; div. 2010)
|Current tour(s)||PGA Tour (joined 1996)|
|Highest ranking||1 (June 15, 1997)
|Number of wins by tour|
|PGA Tour||82 (Tied 1st all time)|
|European Tour||41 (3rd all time)[notes 1]|
|Japan Golf Tour||3|
|PGA Tour of Australasia||3|
|Best results in major championships
|Masters Tournament||Won: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019|
|PGA Championship||Won: 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007|
|U.S. Open||Won: 2000, 2002, 2008|
|The Open Championship||Won: 2000, 2005, 2006|
|Achievements and awards|
|(For a full list of awards, see here)|
Eldrick Tont Woods (born December 30, 1975), professionally known as Tiger Woods, is an American professional golfer. He is tied for first in PGA Tour wins, ranks second in men’s major championships, and holds numerous golf records. Woods is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time and one of the most famous athletes in history. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur golf career, Woods turned professional in 1996 at the age of 20. By the end of April 1997, he won three PGA Tour events in addition to his first major, the 1997 Masters, which he won by 12 strokes in a record-breaking performance. He reached number one in the world rankings for the first time in June 1997, less than a year after turning pro. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, Woods was the dominant force in golf. He was the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 consecutive weeks) and again from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 consecutive weeks). During this time, he won 13 of golf’s major championships.
The next decade of Woods’ career was marked by comebacks from personal problems and injuries. On his return to regular competition, Woods made steady progress to the top of the game, winning his first tournament in five years at the Tour Championship in September 2018 and his first major in 11 years at the 2019 Masters.
Woods has held numerous golf records. He has been the number one player in the world for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any golfer in history. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record 11 times and has won the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times. Woods has the record of leading the money list in ten different seasons. He has won 15 professional major golf championships (trailing only Jack Nicklaus, who leads with 18) and 82 PGA Tour events (tied for first all time with Sam Snead). Woods leads all active golfers in career major wins and career PGA Tour wins. Woods is the fifth (after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus) player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest to do so. He is also the second golfer (after Nicklaus) to achieve a career Grand Slam three times.
Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships. He was also part of the American winning team for the 1999 Ryder Cup. In May 2019, Woods was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump, the fourth golfer to receive the honor.
|Born||25 February 1992
Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||90 kg (200 lb; 14 st)|
|College||Tohoku Fukushi University|
|Current tour(s)||Japan Golf Tour
|Highest ranking||2 (18 June 2017)
(as of 17 October 2021)
|Number of wins by tour|
|Japan Golf Tour||8|
|Best results in major championships
|Masters Tournament||Won: 2021|
|PGA Championship||T4: 2016|
|U.S. Open||T2: 2017|
|The Open Championship||T6: 2013|
|Achievements and awards|
Hideki Matsuyama (松山 英樹, Matsuyama Hideki, born 25 February 1992) is a Japanese professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. He is the first-ever Japanese professional golfer to win a men’s major golf championship – the 2021 Masters Tournament.
As of October 2021, Matsuyama has 16 worldwide wins, eight career top-10 finishes in major championships, and four Presidents Cup appearances. Matsuyama is a two-time winner of tournaments in the World Golf Championships, two-time winner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, eight-time Japan Golf Tour winner, and two-time winner of the Asian Amateur Championship. His seven wins on the PGA Tour make him the most successful Japanese member of the PGA Tour in history.
He attained his highest rank of second in the Official World Golf Rankings for men in June 2017.