The PGA Tour is expanding the size of its umbrella, and it's heading to Japan with its first-ever sanctioned event in the country.
The 50-and-over PGA Tour Champions will host the Japan Airlines Championship in suburban Tokyo in 2017, played at Narita Golf Club in Narita from Sept. 7-10.
“We are honored to welcome Japan Airlines into the PGA Tour family, as we continue to further globalize PGA Tour Champions and the legends of the game for golf fans around the world,” said Greg McLaughlin, president of PGA Tour Champions, in a release. “The Japan Airlines Championship will be an exciting new venture for our Tour, and will allow our players and fans to experience the golf-rich culture that is Tokyo.”
The 68-player field will compete for a $2.5 million purse. Tom Watson has committed to be in the field for the event, which will be in the back stretch of the tour's regular season before the 2017 edition of the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs, a three-event series set to debut in October.
“I am thrilled to be a part of today’s exciting announcement as we bring PGA Tour Champions golf to Japan,” Watson said. “It is important that we continue to develop the next generation of golfers – both in the United States and abroad – and I know first-hand that the passion and love for the game the Japanese fans inherently enjoy will help to make this a marquee stop on our schedule.”