“Mastercard is proud to become a title sponsor on PGA TOUR Champions to bring the excitement of world-class golf into Japan,” said Nandan Mer, Division President for Japan, Mastercard. “As title sponsor, we look forward to providing added value to our customers with iconic priceless experiences linked to this tournament for golf fans, Mastercard cardholders and partner companies.
The 2019 Mastercard Japan Championship will mark the Tour’s return to Japan following the inaugural Japan Airlines Championship in September 2017 and will again be contested at Narita Golf Club in Narita-City, Chiba Prefecture. A field of 68 players, inclusive of eight local sponsor exemptions, will compete for a purse of US$2.5 million.
“We are excited to bring PGA TOUR Champions and the legends of the game back to Narita Golf Club and the passionate golf fans in Japan,” said PGA TOUR Champions President Greg McLaughlin. “Mastercard has been a tremendous partner of the PGA TOUR since 1995, and we are eager to build on that great history in an important international market with the Mastercard Japan Championship.”
Tom Watson, Mastercard’s Golf Ambassador, will return to Japan in 2019 to compete in the Mastercard Japan Championship. The World Golf Hall of Fame member, who notched 39 victories during his PGA TOUR career, won the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan in 1980 and 1997, claiming the latter title at the age of 48.
“I’ve always enjoyed visiting and competing in Japan; therefore, I’m especially pleased that my partner of 25 years, Mastercard, will be bringing PGA TOUR Champions back to Japan in 2019,” said Watson.
Mastercard has a strong history with PGA TOUR-affiliated golf. It is the Preferred Payment of the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour and sponsor of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In March 2017, Mastercard extended both its presenting sponsorship of the Arnold Palmer Invitational through 2020 and exclusive global marketing relationship as the Preferred Payment of the PGA TOUR through 2022. Dating to 1995, Mastercard has partnered with the TOUR in order to provide unique golf experiences for cardholders, privileged access to select tournaments and properties, golf-related savings and offers, as well as an enhanced payment experience at TOUR events.
The inaugural PGA TOUR Champions event at Narita Golf Club was won by World Golf Hall of Fame member Colin Montgomerie.
“It was a great honor to play in the PGA TOUR's first official tournament in Japan, and winning the inaugural event in 2017 was a very special moment in my career,” said Montgomerie. “The fans in Japan are remarkable and the tournament organizers put on a first-class event, and I'm thrilled that PGA TOUR Champions will be returning to Narita in 2019.”
The 6,528-meter Narita Golf Club is located approximately 45 minutes east of downtown Tokyo, and is operated by ACCORDIA GOLF CO., LTD., as one of the group’s flagship golf course. ACCORDIA currently operates 134 golf course locations and 27 driving ranges.
The tournament will be conducted by PGA TOUR Champions with special support from the Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan.