Top-shelf field to play with Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods will be joined by two of this year's major championship winners as well as 10 other Ryder Cup participants for the Chevron World Challenge in December.

The annual tournament, scheduled for Dec. 2-5 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., has an 18-player field and Woods hosts the event, which benefits his foundation.

"It's our 12th year at the Chevron World Challenge, and I'm really looking forward to returning to SoCal," Woods said in a statement Tuesday through his representatives. "We have a very strong field with 14 of the top 20 players, so it should be a fantastic week of golf."

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer, both members of the victorious European Ryder Cup team, are part of the field announced Tuesday. American Ryder Cup team member Jim Furyk, who won the 2010 FedEx Cup, will defend his title.

Woods will play in the tournament for the first time since winning it in 2007. He missed the 2008 event won by Vijay Singh while recovering from knee surgery and did not play last year due to the fallout from his Thanksgiving car accident, which occurred the previous week.

"I love playing at Sherwood and hope to be in contention to win," Woods said.

The $5 million tournament, which pays $1.2 million to the winner, also has in the field U.S. Ryder Cup team members Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.

From the European side, in addition to McDowell and Kaymer, is Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy.

Others scheduled to participate are Paul Casey, Anthony Kim and Sean O'Hair.

Although the event is considered unofficial by PGA Tour standards, world rankings points are at stake. Kaymer is presently ranked fourth in the world ranking, with Stricker fifth and Furyk sixth.

Woods is expected to be replaced at No. 1 in the world in the coming weeks by Lee Westwood if Westwood does not play again in October and Woods follows his schedule of not playing before the HSBC Champions in Shanghai from Nov. 4-7.

Westwood does not expect to play again until November because of an ankle injury.

Colin Montgomerie, captain of the winning European Ryder Cup team, predicted Tuesday that losing the top ranking would fuel Woods' competitive drive. The 14-time major winner has held the top spot since 2005.

"Knowing Tiger as I do, Tiger will probably go out and win the HSBC world event," Montgomerie told reporters at a charity golf event in Hong Kong. "He won't like being No. 2 at anything."

The final two spots in the Chevron field will be announced next week.

Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.