Lowdown:
A field of 18 players has gathered at Sherwood Country Club in California this week for the 13th running of the Chevron World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods. The former World Number 1 narrowly scraped in to this year’s field.
The starting line-up is dramatically weaker than in previous years for the Chevron. The field is supposed to compose the four Major winners, the top 11 available from the World Ranking, the defending champion and two invites.
Well, Keegan Bradley is the only one of the year’s Major winners who will tee it up at Sherwood. Graeme McDowell (defending champion) is absent and the top ranked player from the World Ranking is Steve Stricker at number six.
The reason is a conflict in scheduling. The Nedbank Golf Challenge is also taking place this week in South Africa. Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel are all participating in that tournament with a view to going on to Dubai next week for the European Tour’s season-ending Dubai World Championship. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter are all competing in the Hong Kong Open.
Tournament host Tiger Woods only just qualified for his own event. He snuck back into the top-50 in the world for just long enough back in October to be offered an exemption.
But Tiger showed some excellent form in the Presidents Cup and Australian Open in November and he’ll be looking to use this tournament as a springboard to propel himself back up the rankings.
Last season Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell put on an excellent display to finish the week tied on 16-under-par with tournament host Tiger Woods. The 2010 US Open champion went on to beat Tiger at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Venue: Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, California
Date: Dec 1-4
Course stats: par 72, 7,027 yards
Purse: $5,000,000
Defending Champion: Graeme McDowell (-16)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 1 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8pm
Friday 2 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8pm
Saturday 3 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Sunday 4 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm

Player Watch:

Matt Kuchar – Fresh off the back of victory in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, the ever-consistent American will look to continue his good form this week.

Jason Day – The young Australian has enjoyed a fantastic 2011 and he’d love to cap it with a victory in this event.

Webb Simpson – He had a fantastic second half of this season and narrowly missed out on securing the money list title. He’s one of the world’s most on-form players and will surely contend here.

Key hole: 15th. A beautiful par 3 of 189 yards. The tee-shot is all carry across water to a narrow green. Getting the correct club here is essential.

Where next?
European Tour:
UBS Hong Kong Open preview
Nedbank Golf Challenge: Preview