Tiger’s World Challenge: The Bandits of Sherwood Forest

It’s that time of the year again when Tiger Woods beckons the elite players on the PGA Tour and almost all of them answer the call. Why?

Well, not only because it’s Tiger Woods doing the asking, a distinction most players are honored by, but also because it’s just 18 guys playing for $4.0 million. And there’s no cut, of course. And $1.2 million of that goes to the winner. 

So the guys who have worn themselves down to the nubs — think guys like Rory and Luke who just finished up in Dubai — or the guys who have inviolate family plans — think Phil and Ernie — or the guys who have already made a killing for the year — think Adam Scott, $2.9 million in the U.S. alone — and you get a sense of why the field isn’t just numbers 1 through 18 in the World Rankings.

But, here’s who is there, alphabetically, together with their world ranking and their 2012 U.S. prize money:

  • Keegan Bradley (15) – $3.9 million
  • Jason Day (35) – $1.1 million
  • Jason Dufner (8) – $4.9 million
  • Rickie Fowler (30) – $3.0 million
  • Jim Furyk (26) – $3.6 million
  • Dustin Johnson (19) – $3.4 million
  • Zach Johnson (22) – $4.5 million
  • Matt Kuchar (18) – $3.9 million
  • Hunter Mahan (25) – $4.0 million
  • Graeme McDowell (24) – $2.4 million
  • Ian Poulter (12) – $1.7 million
  • Webb Simpson (9) – $3.4 million
  • Brandt Snedeker (10) – $5.0 million
  • Steve Stricker (14) – $3.4 million
  • Bo Van Pelt (23) – $3.0 million
  • Nick Watney (16) – $3.0 million
  • Bubba Watson (11) – $4.6 million
  • Tiger Woods (3) – $6.1 million

Interesting reading, eh? It certainly is a representative sampling to the Tour’s aristocracy. 15 of the 18 made $3.0 million or more, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter had substantial European Tour income ($2.4 and $3.4 million respectively) and Jason Day, before his first baby this year, made $4.0 million in 2011 and $2.9 million in 2010. So, no slacker, plus he’s a good Aussie “mate” and an exciting player.

And “there” will once again be at Sherwood Country Club in Thousands Oaks, California (Over the hill and into the Valley on the 405, then west on the Ventura Freeway halfway to Ventura.) The tournament begins Thursday. There’s a traditional Sunday finish which is great because that will allow us to watch the last Q-School’s traditional Monday finish.

Sherwood is a great choice because it’s a Nicklaus design that is a thinking man’s course that offers a lot of risk/reward shots and low scores. Plus, it’s beautiful to look at.

A perfect venue for a bunch of Tour pro bandits looking to make one last big haul to close the Holiday season out.

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