Left is right, up is down, Thursday is Wednesday. The PGA Tour heads to Japan this weekend, and tee times start around 7 PM EDT on Wednesday in America. Time zones!

Zozo Championship

We’re used to the basic geographic routine of the PGA Tour schedule. Hawaii, West Coast swing, Florida swing, Texas events, etc. We are not used to events in Japan. The Zozo Championship kicks off at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on Thursday, marking the PGA Tour’s first ever Japanese event. Tee Times


First time for everythingThe LPGA has visited Japan before, but this is the first time Japanese golf fans will watch a PGA Tour event up close. The Zozo Championship has drawn the full support of the Tour, and it is scheduled to occur every season until at least 2025. To top it off, Japan will get Olympic golf at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

MeowTiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour for the first time since missing the cut at the BMW Championship. He had knee surgery during the Tour Championship but is reportedly 100% this week. By all accounts, his swing looks good, and he already got some reps in during the skins game on Monday. As with anything Tiger-related, we will take it one day at a time.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moeSpeaking of Tiger, he has some picks to make! Ernie Els and Tiger Woods will announce their captain’s picks in two weeks, making each event even more important for those on the bubble. Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, and Captain Cat himself are among the names drawing interest for the Americans, while Jason Day, Sungjae Im, and Corey Conners are in the discussion for the Internationals. To make things more difficult for Tiger, Brooks Koepka is dealing with a knee injury and may require a substitute if he is not healthy enough to make the trip.

Paulie’s Picks

The tree-lined corridors and gnarly zoysia rough at Narashino Country Club will place an emphasis on hitting fairways and greens at the Zozo Championship. So Paulie has his eye on players who perform well in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and SG: Approach. See his full DraftKings picks HERE.

Portugal Masters

It’s not the best field in the world, but the European Tour’s Portugal Masters is going to happen anyway. Just two regular season tournaments remain before the Rolex Series wraps up the year with three events in November. Eddie Pepperell, Matt Wallace, Lee Westwood, and Andy Sullivan headline the field this week, but something tells us Portuguese wine will determine which of these men will or won’t find their way to the podium. Tee Times

Skinny dipping

The Skins Game made its return on Monday as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Hideki Matsuyama took to Narashino Country Club in Japan. Skin values varied, special challenges were included, and live mics picked up some G-rated chatter between players. Similar to The Match, the golf was not especially good early on. Players won skins with pars, and there were bogeys aplenty. In the end, it was Jason Day who emerged victorious. Day won the first three skins of the day, but fell behind as Tiger and Rory dominated the middle of the round. The Australian then birdied both 17 and 18, won $210K, and captured the… title (?) in the process. Golf Digest broke down the whole day HERE.

Quick Hooks

The LPGA Tour heads to Korea this week for the BMW Ladies Championship. Tee Times

The Q-Series, the final stage of the LPGA/Symetra Tour qualifying process, begins today at Pinehurst Resort. Tee Times

On Tuesday night, Rory confirmed he will play in the 2020 Olympics. Earlier this year, the Northern Irishman stated his allegiance to Team Ireland over Team Great Britain and said he would “more than likely” participate in the Games. Rory was among the golfers who skipped the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, but now it appears he’s set on playing in Tokyo next year. Full Story from Rex Hoggard

The Latest

Eclectic 18 UK – Hole No. 14: “Long,” The Old Course at St. Andrews – As Jaeger Kovich and Clyde Johnson’s fantasy course enters its home stretch, it visits, appropriately enough, the Home of Golf. Clyde profiles not only the dizzyingly complex 14th hole, which he considers the best par 5 in the world, but also what might be the best par 3 and par 4: Nos. 11 (“High Hole-In,” or “Eden”) and 17 (“Road”).

The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 158: Reynolds Park and Old Town Club

In the first part of a conversation about their recent trip to the Carolinas, Andy and Garrett dig into two fascinating Perry Maxwell courses in Winston-Salem, NC: Reynolds Park Golf Course and Old Town Club. First, though, Andy reviews his visit to Mooresville Golf Club, a very good affordable course near Charlotte. Andy and Garrett then talk about Reynolds Park, a striking municipal course that they both regard as one of the top candidates for restoration in the country. They finish the episode with an in-depth discussion of Old Town Club. From its routing to its simple yet ingenious greens, this 1939 Perry Maxwell design, beautifully restored by Coore & Crenshaw in 2013, has a lot to teach any golf architecture enthusiast. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.

Shotgun Start: I’m in love with the Zozo, made-up 2020 over-unders, and Skins Game critiques

This punchy Wednesday episode includes an all-time story about Andy purportedly getting hit by a bike, so hang in there for that. The non-golf opening includes a discussion on Bears starting QB odds for next year and why Illinois’ revenue sports can’t keep talent at home. In golf matters, the schedule for the week segment begins with praise for the Zozo Championship bringing PGA Tour golf to Japan. This leads to a discussion of how this course was chosen—proximity to the airport, allegedly—and the fact that there are escalators on courses in Japan. The European Tour’s event in Portugal is spotlighted as the last chance for Euro Tour players to earn their card for next year. On the LPGA, the event in Korea is discussed as well as the Q-Series at Pinehurst, which gives college players a shot to earn a card while also missing tons of school. Then we run through an amusing over-unders game for the season hitting on some stars like Spieth, Bryson, Brooks, Rickie, and others. The episode wraps with a review of the Skins Game—what stunk, what worked, the phony “needle,” and what formats would be best at the next experiment. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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