Top PGA players expected to compete again at tournament that has been hosted by world No 1 every holiday season since 1999.
Tiger Woods to retain his World Challenge golf event in December
The World Challenge that Tiger Woods has hosted every holiday season since 1999 means so much to him that he spent what was believed to be around US$4 million (Dh14.6m) of his own money to help cover operating costs in a year it did not have a full title sponsor.
The future of the event is no longer in doubt. The World Challenge is back on the schedule this year.
"There wasn't a doubt whether we could stage it. The question was whether we could get the necessary corporate support," said Greg McLaughlin, the president of the Tiger Woods Foundation who also runs his tournaments. "We're happy that we have a lot of support for the event that we've been able to generate the last few months."
The tournament is scheduled for December 5-8 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, where it has been since 2001. Graeme McDowell is the reigning champion.
McLaughlin said he was not ready to announce the corporate support. Since it began, the World Challenge has raised more than $25m for college-access programmes through the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, and the Earl Woods Scholarship programme.
One of the questions about the World Challenge was how it would fit in when the PGA Tour goes to a wraparound season in October.
There will be six tournaments that count toward the FedEx Cup in the fall, with the last official event in 2013 in Mexico on November 17. The World Challenge would follow a two-week break, and then the 2014 portion of the schedule begins three weeks later in Kapalua.
The World Challenge only offers world ranking points, not to mention a healthy holiday bonus. Even with a reduced purse without a title sponsor, McDowell made $1m and last place in the 18-man field paid $120,000.
McLaughlin believes the appeal is the reduced field and low-key atmosphere.
Along with the tournament host, the World Challenge typically attracts Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. And with the European Tour ending the same week as the PGA Tour, there is a chance of getting additional players before they take their long winter break.
"This is our 15th year, and it's very important to Tiger," McLaughlin said. "For our foundation, it's the first event we ever did. It would be hard to ever imagine not doing the event. I've had so many people – players, media – stop me throughout the year and say, 'Are you doing the event again?'"
The World Challenge is one of three tournaments this year that benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation. The others are the AT&T National, which has one more year on its contract, and the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.
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