Tiger Woods’ Chevron World Challenge begins today at its traditional venue, Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California.
The entrants are straight off the World Rankings; it’s available players up to No. 50. As you look at the list below, you’ll note that one guy at 52 managed to sneak in there. I can’t imagine why. While Tiger needed a sponsor’s exemption to get into his own tournament, he’s currently the 11/4 favorite to win on one betting website. Webb Simpson is second at 9/1, and Nick Watney is third at 11/1.
The reason that Stricker is the highest ranked player in the field is that numbers 1 through 4 are all European Tour members (Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer) and they are all playing in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa. So they are not “available.” Dustin Johnson is No. 5 but he withdrew for surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee. No. 12, Phil Mickelson devotes this time of the year to his family. No. 20, David Toms, withdrew due to fatigue.
Stever Stricker (6)
Jason Day (8)
Webb Simpson (9)
Nick Watney (10)
Matt Kuchar (11)
K.J. Choi (15)
Bubba Watson (18)
Hunter Mahan (19)
Paul Casey (21)
Bill Haas (22)
Bo Van Belt (24)
Bradley Keegan (27)
Rickie Fowler (28)
Martin Laird (43)
Jim Furyk (45)
Zach Johnson (47)
Gary Woodland (48)
Tiger Woods (52)
And it’s a pretty good field. Of the 18 elite players, 9 were on their respective Presidents Cup team. Martin Laird played on the Scottish team in the World Cup of Golf while Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar played and won for the Americans. So we have a bunch of guys who are tournament sharp.
Of the Top 10 guys on the Money List, 7 are playing and Johnson and Toms had to withdraw.
In K.J Choi, we have the winner of the Players Championship.
In Keegan Bradley, we have the winner of the PGA Championship and he beat the other three major winners (Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke) in Bermuda in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
In Bill Haas, we have the winner of the PGA Tour Championship and the FedExCup. And at $11.35 million for the pair, a twofer if ever there was one.
And in Tiger Woods, of course, we have the best player in the world right now. I called him as “back” after watching his performance in the Australian Open three weeks ago. And while he only went 2-3-0 in the Presidents Cup, one of the two wins was his 4&3 domination of Aaron Baddeley in the Singles. Because the last piece, his putting, finally came together in that win, that performance confirmed that he was back.
So even though it’s the next to the last sanctioned event on the calendar, it’s going to be a pretty damned good tournament. And with this kind of talent, there’s no telling who’s going to win it.
The broadcast is on the Golf Channel from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM (ET).