Pros advice

Is This Golf’s Fifth Major?

The World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods is set to be one of the highlights of the close – or should that be new – PGA Tour season.

The 16-man event has attracted a stellar field despite not being part of the new 2014 PGA Tour season, which started early in October of this year as part of a new move to shake up the schedule and provide a six-week break over the New Year period.

This means that players will be shunning events with world ranking points attached to play in Tiger’s tournament on Dec 4-8, and the turnout has surprised even Tiger himself.

“I think we’re all very surprised that we’ve got as many international players playing this year,” said the World No 1.

“The American players have supported our event throughout the years. Obviously, it’s easier travel if you’re based in the States. The guys who are playing in the Race to Dubai, it’s a bit more of a challenge to get them to play. But for some reason, this year we’ve had guys wanting to play and we have probably the best field we’ve had.”

“I think word has spread,” Woods continued. “We’ve always treated players well there. They’ve had a great time. It’s close enough to the following year where some of the guys want to try and experiment with a few things equipment wise, club deal. But it’s pretty incredible to get the international support we’ve gotten this year.”

Defending champion Graeme McDowell will be teeing up and is expected to be joined by Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter alongside Americans Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley and Steve Stricker.

Woods invested about $4 million of his own money to the event last year to help cover operating expenses and to make sure there would be enough proceeds to benefit his foundation. This year Northwest Mutual have stepped in as title sponsor.