One of the richest sporting events in the Tri-Counties is scheduled to start Dec. 15 in Thousand Oaks, but its key figure will be on the sidelines.
Although he won’t play this year because of an injury, Tiger Woods announced the 16-player Chevron World Challenge on Sept. 29.
The field of players includes Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas, Anthony Kim, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Fred Couples, Paul Casey, Boo Weekley, Hunter Mahan, K.J. Choi, Kenny Perry, Justin Leonard, Mike Weir, Luke Donald and Stephen Ames.
The almost $6 million tournament, presented by Bank of America, will be at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks from Dec. 15 through 21.
The players will be the top 11 available from the 2007 official world golf ranking determined Sept. 17, the defending champion, plus four special exemptions selected by the Tiger Woods Foundation. Woods was the top player of 2007 and won his own tournament the last two years. His winning score was 22-under par last year at Sherwood.
“He won’t be playing because of ACL surgery,” said Tiger Woods Foundation President Gregory T. McLaughlin. “He will attend mostly in a host capacity.”
McLaughlin said the tournament raises some $2.5 million for the Tiger Woods Learning Center and his foundation’s nationwide character development program, known as Tiger’s Action Plan.
The ninth annual tournament’s $5.75 million purse guarantees $1.35 million to the winner and a minimum of $170,000 for last place, organizers said.
“We expected the same number of spectators to attend as last year – about 50,000,” McLaughlin said.
Ian Langford, Sherwood’s director of golf, said the recent excitement over the Ryder Cup should carry over into the December tournament.
“Tiger’s not playing this year has put a little bit of a dent in it,” he said. “We expect the same level of play as last year.”
The department store chain Target initially was the stroke-play, 72-hole tournament’s title sponsor.
But McLaughlin said Chevron Corp. signed a five-year agreement to be the title sponsor. It is the nonprofit organization’s largest annual fundraiser, he said.
“New sponsors mean new ideas and opportunities for the spectators and the players,” McLaughlin said.
Denise Bean-White, owner of PR Consortium Media in Oxnard, said the addition of new sponsors to the tournament is a step forward. “Bringing professional quality golf is getting more costly than ever,” she said. Bean-White is an area marketing expert who is not connected with the tournament.
Other sponsors include Williams and Dole Foods.
The 18-hole tournament record is 63, shared by Padraig Harrington in 2002, Davis Love III in 2003 and Michael Campbell in 2005.
McLaughlin said the tournament will be televised on the Golf Channel and NBC. Tickets and corporate hospitality packages are available by calling the tournament office at (949) 725-3003. Tickets are also available by calling (800) 594-TIXX or logging on to www.chevronworldchallenge.com.