Fifteen-time major winner Tiger Woods denied the 28-year-old the win last year, when the tournament debuted as Japan's first PGA Tour sanctioned event at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba.

"I'm very happy that we're able to have this tournament with this coronavirus," said the five-time PGA Tour winner. "We didn't really know what was going to happen. Love to win this week and be able to have the fans come out in Japan next year and be the defending champion, that would be awesome."

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To do so he'll have to take down plenty of top talent at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, with old foe Woods - who defeated him last year by three strokes - reigning PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, and world number two Jon Rahm among the contenders.

A win would end something of a dry spell for Matsuyama, who is frequently in contention with seven top-10 finishes in 2019 but has failed to pick up a PGA Tour title since his last win in 2017.

"I always try my best and every week feel like I'm getting there, but definitely hasn't happened," said Matsuyama. "So I'm definitely thinking about that a lot and preparing myself and hoping that week will come sooner than later."

The Zozo Championship kicks off on Thursday. (Reporting by Amy Tennery; editing by Richard Pullin)

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