The TOTO Japan Classic returns to the LPGA calendar in 2022 after a two-year break owing to logistical problems associated with the epidemic. The Japan Classic, which began as an unofficial money event in 1973 and became an officially sanctioned event in 1976, was traditionally a 54-hole tournament. This year, the 2022 edition will be played for the first time as a 72-hole event with a $2 million purse at the longtime host club, Seta Golf Course in Shiga, Japan.
While the Japan Classic was not on the LPGA schedule the last two seasons, it was on the JLPGA schedule. Jiyai Shin of South Korea won in 2020, while Ayaka Furue of Japan, a rookie on the LPGA this season, won the inaugural 72-hole event last year.
The TOTO Japan Classic sets off the season’s final three events, with the Tour returning to the United States after Japan for the final two stops of the year: the Pelican Women’s Championship and the CME Group Tour Championship.
TOTO Japan Classic 2022 Start Time and Date:
- Wednesday, Nov. 2: 11 p.m.-2 a.m. ET
- Thursday, Nov. 3: 11 p.m.-2 a.m. ET
- Friday, Nov. 4: 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. ET
- Saturday, Nov. 5: 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. ET
How to Watch the TOTO Japan Classic in 2022:
The 2022 TOTO Japan Classic will be broadcast on Golf Channel and Peacock, with streaming options available at any time on any mobile device and online through NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
Live Broadcast: TOTO Japan Classic (It’s Free)
Who will compete in the TOTO Japan Classic in 2022?
With so little time to collect Race to the CME Globe points, it’s no surprise that the Japan Classic boasts a slew of prominent names, many of whom are already LPGA champions in 2022:
- Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament, Danielle Kang
- JTBC Classic, Arkansas Championship, Atthaya Thitikul
- Nasa Hataoka, Los Angeles Open
- Palos Verdes Marina Alex Championship
- Minjee Lee, Founders Cup, United States Women’s Open
- Honda LPGA Thailand’s Nanna Koertz Madsen
- Women’s Scottish Open, Ayaka Furue
TOTO Japan Classic 2022 Preview:
The TOTO Japan Classic returns to the LPGA schedule this week after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 72-hole event features a $2 million purse with no cut and a field of 42 LPGA and 36 JLPGA players. The TOTO Japan Classic, which began in 1973, will mark its 50th year on the Seta Golf Course.
The TOTO Japan Classic has seen the LPGA’s best lift the trophy 45 times in 45 years. Betsy King won two of her 34 LPGA titles in this event in 1992 and 1993, earning her a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Annika Sorenstam was the uncontested champion of the event from 2001 until 2005. Sorenstam’s 24-under par 192 scoring record, which includes two rounds of 63, is still in place. Shanshan Feng, China’s first world No. 1 player, won in 2017 and successfully defended her championship in 2018. The TOTO Japan Classic has recognized numerous LPGA luminaries as champions, laying the groundwork for an exciting week ahead.
Since its debut in 1973, the TOTO Japan Classic has moved around a number of courses throughout Japan. Since 2016, the event has rotated between Shiga’s Seta Golf Course and Ibaraki’s Taiheiyo Club. The TOTO Japan Classic first played at the Seta Golf Course in 1989, and it will return for the 14th time this week. Inoue Seiichi built the course in 1967, and it measures slightly over 6,600 yards with a par of 72.
While the TOTO Japan Classic has not been contested on the LPGA schedule since 2019, it is still part of the JLPGA regular season. So there are two defending champions in the lineup this week: Ai Suzuki of the LPGA, who won in 2019, and Ayaka Furue of the JLPGA, who won in 2021.
Suzuki and Furue will practice alongside three other past world champions: Jiyai Shin (2008, 2010, 2020), Nasa Hataoka (2018), and Momoko Ueda (2007, 2011). Suzuki’s 17-under par performance in 2019 became the 17-time JLPGA champion’s maiden LPGA Tour victory. Furue, who is in her rookie season on the LPGA and won the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open as a Rolex First-Time Winner, shot 16-under par to win in 2021.
The Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings saw a new No. 1 crowned on Monday. Atthaya Thitikul, a 19-year-old Thai rookie, dethroned Korea’s Jin Young Ko, who had held the top rank for 38 weeks. Thitikul’s victories in the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, along with a dozen other top-10 finishes, catapulted him to the top.
Thitikul, who is 19 years, 8 months, and 11 days old, is only the second player under the age of 20 to reach world No. 1, following Lydia Ko, who reached the position when she was 17 years, 9 months, and 9 days old. Thitikul will defend her No. 1 ranking for the first time at the TOTO Japan Classic.
Seven golfers remain mathematically eligible for Rolex Player of the Year honors. Lydia Ko gained a one-point lead over Minjee Lee in the BMW Ladies Championship last week with her second win of the season. However, Ko will not be competing in the TOTO Japan Classic, which opens the way for Lee or Thitikul, who is now in fourth place with 129 points, to make a move with guaranteed money on the table.
Lee and Thitikul are also in contention for the Vare Trophy, where they are also chasing Ko, the Aon Risk Reward Challenge, where Lee and Thitikul are first and second, and the Money Title.
Past champions of the Japan Classic
|2019||Ai Suzuki (Japan)||17-under 199||3 strokes||Hyo Joo Kim|
|2018||Nasa Hataoka (Japan)||14-under 202||2 strokes||Momoko Ueda, Carlota Ciganda, Saki Nagamine|
|2017||Shanshan Feng (China)||19-under 197||2 strokes||Ai Suzuki|
|2016||Shanshan Feng (China)||13-under 203||1 stroke||Ha Na Jang|
|2015||Sun-Ju Ahn (South Korea)||16-under 200||Playoff||Ji-Hee Lee, Angela Stanford|
In the Past TOTO Japan Classic 2022:
In 2019, JLPGA player Ai Suzuki won by three strokes at Seta GC, going bogey-free in the final two rounds (65-67) and finishing at 17-under 199. Suzuki had a record season, winning seven times in 2019 — the Japan Classic being her first LPGA title — and included a string of three straight wins, the Japan Classic being the second.
The Japan Classic was not on the LPGA schedule the previous two seasons due to logistical issues related to the pandemic, but the JLPGA sanctioned and held the event in 2020 and 2021. The 2020 event was held at the Taiheiyo Club’s Minori Course in Omitama, Ibaraki, and was won by Japan’s two-time LPGA major champion Jiyai Shin at 19-under 197. Shin outlasted Yuka Saso, the champion of the US Women’s Open, by three strokes.
Last year, the tournament returned to Seta Golf Course for the first time as a 72-hole event. Ayaka Furue of Japan, a 2022 LPGA rookie, won for the sixth time on the JLPGA. Furue won by three strokes over Mone Inami after carding four rounds in the 60s and finishing at 16-under 272. Furue won her first LPGA title earlier this season when she won the 2022 Women’s Scottish Open.