Sep 20, 2018: Defending champion and 2017 FedExCup winner Justin Thomas has confirmed his return to the US$9.5 million CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in October alongside Brooks Koepka, winner of two major championships this season, and 12-time PGA TOUR champion Jason Day.
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Executive Director Travis Steiner said: “We are pleased to announce that PGA TOUR stars Justin Thomas, Jason Day and Brooks Koepka will headline our tournament from October 18 to 21, 2018. Following the successful launch of the inaugural CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES last year, golf and sports fans can certainly expect another spectacular event as the PGA TOUR continues to deliver world-class golf and impact the growth of the game here in South Korea and across Asia.”
In the current 2017-18 PGA TOUR season, Thomas, 25, has won three times and also became World No. 1 for four weeks in May. Last year, he produced an enthralling display of golf to capture the inaugural CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES title where he defeated Australia’s Marc Leishman in a playoff. He opened the tournament with a superb nine-under-par 63.
It sparked a second victory of the season in February at the Honda Classic which he also won in a playoff against Luke List and subsequently picked up his ninth career PGA TOUR title at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in August.
Thomas, currently ranked fourth in the world, is looking forward to successfully defending his title. “It’ll be fun to return to the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. Any time you can go back to defend a title, it’s always good. I’ve got good memories from my win there last year and hopefully I can create new memories when I return in October.
“The tournament was awesome. The first time you go out to play in a new event, you sometimes don’t know what you’re going to get but they treated us like rock stars. The golf course was great and the greens were perfect. With the conditions that we got over the four days, it was a really good test of golf. From the fans to the media, there was tremendous support and a lot of people came out to watch the event. The game is growing immensely around the world especially in Korea and you can definitely tell with the number of people who got out there to watch us play.”
World No. 2 Koepka has enjoyed a summer to remember by first retaining his U.S. Open title to become the first golfer to successfully defend since Curtis Strange in 1988-1989. Two months later, the powerful American won the PGA Championship by shooting a record-tying 16-under 264.
Koepka will make his first appearance in the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES and he intends to make his visit to Jeju island a memorable one. “I’m looking forward to playing in the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES for the first time. A lot of the players who played last year told me how much they enjoyed the tournament and spoke about how well it was run, so I’m really looking forward to playing the CJ CUP next month.
“It has been a phenomenal year and my wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship are certainly the highlights. Hopefully, I will continue this good form and give the Korean fans something to enjoy. I am excited to make my first visit to Korea and I plan to take in some of the many attractions that Jeju island has to offer.”
Day finished T11 at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES last year and is tipped to contend after winning twice in 2018. The former World No. 1 won the Farmers Insurance Open following a playoff against Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer which ended an 18-month winless run and then followed up with a second triumph at the Well Fargo Championship in May.
Featuring a 78-man field, the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES will provide Jeju Special Self-Governing Province an opportunity to promote the beauty of Jeju island to the world through the TOUR’s television broadcasts which has a potential reach of over one billion homes in 226 countries. CJ Corporation signed a 10-year agreement with the PGA TOUR in 2016 to stage the lucrative tournament which prize fund on offer is amongst the highest on the PGA TOUR. SBS, the PGA TOUR’s partner in Korea for over 10 years, will be the host broadcaster of the event.