Growing the game in Malaysia is out, growing the game in Japan is in.
Why we have to keep hiding behind this empty phrase—except that it’s a phrase to hide behind—proved to be the motive for a very wealthy Japanese man to open up his checkbook. In this case, it’s a man who is willing to pay Elon Musk to fly him around the moon.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA TOUR and ZOZO, Inc. – which operates the largest Japanese online fashion website “ZOZOTOWN” – today announced a six-year agreement that establishes the first annual, official PGA TOUR tournament in Japan. The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, which will be co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO), is set to debut at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club the week of October 21, 2019, during the opening segment of the 2019-20 PGA TOUR FedExCup Season.
The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, with a Japan-record purse of US$9.75 million, will become part of the TOUR’s swing through Asia, joining THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in Korea and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China. The CIMB Classic in Malaysia no longer will be on the PGA TOUR schedule, as CIMB is realigning its sponsorship with the TOUR.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the first annual, official PGA TOUR event to Japan through our partnership with ZOZO, Inc.,” said Ty Votaw, PGA TOUR Executive Vice President, International. “Japan’s passion for golf is widely recognized and something our stars have experienced first-hand through various events held here and the support of standout PGA TOUR players like champion Hideki Matsuyama. Today’s announcement further strengthens our presence in Asia and certainly comes at an opportune time with golf set to follow its highly successful return to the Olympics in Rio when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Games.”
“I’ve been inspired by golf as a player and as a fan for nearly 10 years now. Opportunities such as going on rounds with my 73-year-old father, and practicing with my sons who are now in elementary school, all came from my love for golf,” said Yusaku Maezawa, ZOZO Inc. CEO. “ZOZO, Inc. has celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, and we have launched our private fashion brand ZOZO, which is designed, developed and distributed by us. The concept of the brand is to create the perfect fit for every unique body by using body measurement technology. Just like golf has the power to motivate and connect people all over the world, regardless of nationality, gender, age or body shape, we hope to grow our private brand ZOZO into a brand that is loved all over the world, regardless of big, small, tall or short.”
Well okay then!