Woods, Spieth, McIlroy lead star field in Japan

Tiger Woods of the United States watches his tee shot on the 10th hole during the pro-am event of he Zozo Championship PGA Tour at Accordia Golf Naras...
Tiger Woods of the United States, Jason Day of Australia, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, from left to right, wait fo...
Tiger Woods of the United States answers a reporter's question during a news conference ahead of the Challenge: Japan Skins event at Accordia Golf Nar...

Tiger Woods of the United States watches his tee shot on the 10th hole during the pro-am event of he Zozo Championship PGA Tour at Accordia Golf Naras...

Tiger Woods of the United States, Jason Day of Australia, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, from left to right, wait fo...

Tiger Woods of the United States answers a reporter's question during a news conference ahead of the Challenge: Japan Skins event at Accordia Golf Nar...

TOKYO (AP) — With a field that includes Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, the PGA Tour's first tournament in Japan has plenty of star power.

The Zozo Championship beginning Thursday will be held at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Tokyo at Inzai City. It is part of three tournaments that make up the PGA Tour's Asia Swing, including the CJ Cup in South Korea won last week by Justin Thomas and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai next week.

The Japan tournament, co-sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour, is a 78-man, no-cut field with a $9.75 million purse.

Woods last played in an official tournament in Japan in 2006 at the Dunlop Phoenix, where he lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. He won the Dunlop Phoenix the two previous years.

"It's going to be a lot of fun to be back here in front of fans that really understand and respect the game of golf," Woods said in a pre-tournament interview. "The game of golf is so strong here in Japan, and to have seen it grow like it has over 20-some odd years that I've been playing is very special."

The Masters champion is making his first start in his 23rd season on the PGA Tour, needing one victory to reach 82 wins and tie the career record held by Sam Snead.

Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee two months ago — his fifth on the same problem spot.

He played in the inaugural "The Challenge: Japan Skins" game on Monday at the same course and did not appear to be in any discomfort.

Jason Day, who beat Woods in the Skins game, is also part of the field as well as Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Thomas, whose win in the CJ Cup was his 11th PGA Tour event and his second in South Korea.

There is an agreement in place to hold the Zozo Championship until at least 2025.

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