The power of PGA Tour mega-star Tiger Woods is evident once again, after taking a look at the field for the annual World Challenge Presented by Northwestern Mutual at the end of November. While Northwestern Mutual is the presenting sponsor, the event is hosted annually by Woods, with proceeds going to The Tiger Woods Foundation.
Phil Mickelson is the only member of the United States Ryder Cup team that will not be in the 18 player field. I’m sure rumors will be running wild about why Lefty has decided not to attend. Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell will also be taking part in the tournament, along with Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Hunter Mahan, Bo Van Pelt and Nick Watney. I wonder if Rory McIlroy wasn’t invited, or whether this is falling into his whole “playing in fewer tournaments” strategy.
Woods has to love taking part in this tournament, considering he has won the championship 5 times and is currently the defending champion. The win at this tournament last year was Tiger’s first in over 2 years and Woods thinks it went a long way in giving him confidence for the 2012 season, where he won 3 times. “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.”
With so much star power crammed into such a small field, this is going to be a good one to watch. As the defending champion and having won 5 times, Woods has to be the favorite. I can’t wait to see if the small field, with so many members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, brings up any sore feelings towards Poulter or McDowell, seeing as how they spanked the U.S. during that international tournament.