Having made its Tour debut in Japan last year, the Zozo Championship 2020 has been shifted across the world to the Sherwood Country Club in California. In the current climate, it is all about keeping the tournaments on the schedule and ensuring that events continue in the most appropriate settings.
When we were last here, we narrowly missed out on a sizeable payout as Matthew Wolff lost in that dramatic Shriners Championship playoff. We did, however, pick a top 10 finish profit as Will Zalatoris tied for fifth, so let’s see if we can keep the run going on our return to action with our Zozo Championship predictions and full golf tournament preview.
The US Masters is on the horizon and that means that we have a strong field after a subdued period following the US Open. Obviously the withdrawal of Dustin Johnson is the big news and we wish DJ well as his absence leaves Jon Rahm clear at the top of the odds with the main bookies for USA sports betting. Rahm is available at a general 10/1 and he has good relevant stats and consistent form coming into Thursday.
It is tight at the top of the outright winner betting market with Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas close behind the favorite. Both men can be picked up at around 11/1 with Rory McIlroy peering over their shoulders at 12/1. All four have credentials but perhaps it’s Rory’s time after a consistent end to 2019/20.
The next group in the odds this week are headed by Tyrrell Hatton and Webb Simpson who are locked at 20/1 with some outlets. Hatton has enjoyed a superb October, following up his win in the UK’s PGA Championship with a tie for third on Sunday. Simpson is another strong contender after leading the FedEx standings for some time and he has finished inside the top 13 in his last two outings.
Collin Morikawa follows while last year’s runner up, Hideki Matsuyama, is among a bunch of players on 28/1. Tony Finau, Matthew Wolff and Patrick Cantlay can all be picked up at that figure. Wolff is worth another look following his performance at the Shriners but he’s in a stronger field and needs to respond positively to playoff disappointment.
Defending champion Tiger Woods features as the first of the outsiders this week and, as he prepares to defend his Masters title too, Tiger can be backed in places at 33/1. Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Bubba Watson and Harris English are all at similar betting lines so it’s clear there is some strength in depth to this field. There is some interest in all of those names but Harris English is getting properly on the radar after a number of near misses. In his last 11 starts, the 31-year-old has recorded nine top 25s and three top 10 finishes.
Other interesting golfers in the outside bunch include Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Gary Woodland and Joaquin Niemann. Hovland is of particular interest in the top 10 betting lines, at the least after a 13-13 run that includes a tie for third at the BMW Championship.
It is a seriously strong field of golfers as the final Major of the calendar year looms but what qualities are needed to get over the line this week?
Our Preview’s Zozo Championship Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict with Course Trends
It is hoped by many that the Tour will return to Japan when the world settles down but for now, the Zozo Championship is hosted by the Sherwood Country Club at Lake Sherwood, California. It’s a par 72 but it’s a short one with just 7,073 yards for the players to negotiate. Included in that yardage are five par 5s so there is the potential for some seriously low scoring.
Large, Bentgrass greens are likely to come in at around 13 on the Stimpmeter while light rough together with the occasional bunker isn’t likely to be too punishing.
The more experienced players in the field have some knowledge of Sherwood as it hosted the Hero World Challenge from 2000 through to 2013. The PGA Tour Champions event also found its way here and, over the years, Tiger Woods has a strong record on the course. Matthew Wolff is a local and has played it ‘thousands of times’ and that factor certainly puts him down as one of our top 10 finish picks.
As for the winner, there are so many strong contenders, especially in the top four who are so closely bunched together. One name that keeps jumping off the page is that of Rory McIlroy who has been so consistent for much of 2020. Rory enjoyed a mixed four days at Shadow Creek last time out but a stronger finish on Sunday suggests that he is peaking nicely in the run up to the Masters.
McIlroy is the tip but, if you don’t fancy the relatively short price, some value is likely to lie in the top 10 finish betting lines with the U.S. sportsbooks. These are our picks and concluding Zozo Championship predictions:
- This preview expects Rory McIlroy to win @ top betting odds of +1200 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.
- These are USAbetting’s top 10 finish picks: McIlroy (best at +125), Matthew Wolff (+300), Tommy Fleetwood (+350) and Viktor Hovland (+300) and all those odds are with BetOnline. The sportsbook Bovada also offers top 10 finish betting lines, but on this occasion all our selections are better odds with the other bookie.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.