Woods Warms Up For Own Tournament

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/AFP
Tiger Woods has won three times on the PGA Tour this year. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/AFP

With golf tours around the world starting to wind down, invitation-only events are springing up, and the World Challenge at California, hosted by Tiger Woods, has a crack 18-man field lining up at the Sherwood Country Club from Thursday onwards.

Woods has won this event, in its various guises, five times, and he will start a warm favourite after three successes on the PGA Tour this year. Last year he won by one stroke from Zach Johnson , with the rest of the field a further four shots behind. His last start was in Malaysia at the CIMB Classic at the end of October where he tied for fourth, edged out by Nick Watney who closed with a 61 to take the tournament by one stroke from Bo Van Pelt .

Graeme McDowell won this event in 2010, the same year he cracked it for his first major with victory at the US Open. He was never in the hunt at the Australian Masters a fortnight back, finishing -2, 15 strokes behind winner Adam Scott. The Northern Irishman also struggled at the World Tour Championship in Dubai last week finishing tied for 52nd, 22 shots behind countryman Rory McIlroy.

One man in far better form is Brandt Snedeker , who had a massive payday at the end of September when he not only won the Tour Championship, but also the FedEx Cup, which is the PGA Tour’s season-long points-based competition, which culminates with four playoff events and ends at the Tour Championship. At that event, Snedeker held off the likes of Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Webb Simpson , Bubba Watson , Jim Furyk and Woods, showing he can win in top company.

Jason Day is the only Australian in the field. His best finish this year was 4th in July, and after a stunning 2011 when he finished second at both the Masters and US Open, the 25-year-old has come back to Earth this year, dropping to 31st on the world golf rankings. 

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