ZOZO returns to Japan, China’s HSBC cancelled

The PGA Tour has announced that the ZOZO Championship will go ahead in Japan from October 21-24 as part of the 2021-22 season.

The bad news is, that for the second year in a row, the World Golf Championships–HSBC Champions event in Shanghai has been cancelled.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods equalled Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record at the 2019 ZOZO Championship (Credit: PGA Tour)

The tournament, part of the PGA Tour’s early-season ‘Asian Swing’, was due to be played the week following the ZOZO Championship. Ironically the multi-million tournament is unable to be staged due to strict pandemic protocols still in place in China.

“Following discussions with HSBC, we can confirm the cancellation of the 2021 WGC-HSBC Champions,” said PGA Tour chief, Jay Monahan.

“Although it’s unfortunate to have to do so, we must ensure that we abide by the epidemic prevention policies of different markets which may cause inconvenience to the players and make tournament operations very challenging. Therefore, after careful consideration we had to make this difficult decision to cancel the event.”

Last week’s BMW Championship winner, Patrick Cantlay, won the 2020 ZOZO Championship after it was moved from Japan to the Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles due to the pandemic last year.

Cantlay will now defend his title at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan where Tiger Woods won the inaugural tournament in 2019 to equal the 82 PGA Tour title record set by Sam Snead.

The second-tier Bermuda Championship, which would normally be played opposite the HSBC, will now be given elevated status with full FedExCup points and a purse increase.

Whether players choose to make the journey to Japan remains to be seen. Several big names chose not to compete at the Tokyo-based Olympics, however, with a purse nudging $10 million, some of the concerns raised at the time, may be alleviated this time around.