Hideki Matsuyama, who has won twice and finished second twice on the PGA TOUR this season, will partner with countryman Hideto Tanihara, who finished fourth in the World Golf Championship—Dell Technologies Match Play last month, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.
Matsuyama is currently ranked fourth in the world and stands second in FedExCup points and earnings on the TOUR. He finished tied for 11th in the Masters this week after a tie for seventh and a fifth the previous two years. He also finished tied for fourth in the 2016 PGA Championship.
He has won four times on the PGA TOUR and seven times on the Japan Tour. He is enjoying a career year in 2017, winning the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and the Waste Management Phoenix Open (for a second consecutive time) and finishing second at the CIMB Classic and SBS Tournament of Champions.
He has played on the last two Presidents Cup teams and currently holds second place in qualifying points for this year’s team, behind only Jason Day.
Veteran Tanihara was named Japan Golf Rookie of the Year in 2003 and has won 14 times on the Japan Tour. He plays sparingly on the PGA TOUR, but this year took fourth in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play with an upset over Jordan Spieth in the opening round. He lost to world’s top-ranked player Dustin Johnson 1 up in the semifinal.
His high finish in the Dell Match Play moved him into the top 50 in the world to qualify for the Masters. He is currently ranked 49th in the world.
He tied for fifth in the 2006 Open Championship, the second best finish by a Japanese player in Open history. He has played on three World Cup teams.
The latest commitments add to arguably the strongest field in history for the Zurich Classic, with six players ranked in the world’s top 10, eight in the top 20 and 12 in the top 25.
Top ten players entered include Day (third), Matsuyama (fourth), Henrik Stenson (sixth), Justin Rose (eighth), Rickie Fowler (ninth) and Justin Thomas (tenth).
Day, ranked number one in the world for 47 weeks, is teaming with Fowler. Masters runner-up and Olympic gold medal winner Rose has paired with Olympic silver medalist Stenson in this year’s unique team format.
The new 72-hole stroke play format will feature Foursomes (alternate shot) during the first and third rounds and Four-Ball (best ball) during the second and fourth rounds. The starting field will consist of a field of 80 teams. Following the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 35 teams and ties at the 35th position. In case of a tie after 72 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff using the Four-Ball format.