Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Tiger Woods' event star-studded
By Bob Harig
Ten of his U.S. Ryder Cup teammates along with two from the victorious European side will join Tiger Woods for his annual World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club from Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Woods is the defending champion of the event, which is in its 14th year.
Only Phil Mickelson will be missing among the U.S. Ryder Cup team, as major champions Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson are part of the 18-man field, as is FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker.
European stars Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell -- who defeated Woods in a playoff at the 2010 tournament -- also will compete for the $1 million first-place prize, along with Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Hunter Mahan, Bo Van Pelt and Nick Watney.
The other U.S. Ryder Cup team members in the field are Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson -- who was runner-up to Woods at the World Challenge a year ago -- Keegan Bradley, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar.
The tournament announced that Northwestern Mutual has signed on as a presenting sponsor after Chevron ended its run as title sponsor of last year's tournament.
The event benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, and Woods in the past has donated his prize money to it. He has won the tournament five times and said last year's win -- his first anywhere in more than two years -- propelled him to a three-victory season on the PGA Tour in 2012.
"It gave me a lot of confidence, there's no doubt," Woods said during a conference call Wednesday. "Winning it, yes, but also the way I did it and who I beat. To go head-to-head with Zach like that, he is not the kind of guy who is going to go away...
"Birdieing the last two holes, that gave me a huge shot of confidence going into this year."
Woods, ranked No. 2 in the world, heads to Malaysia next week for the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur followed by an exhibition match against world No. 1 Rory McIlroy in China on Oct. 29.