Solid field at Tiger's tourney amid 'offseason' hopes
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Feel free to chuckle the next time you hear world-class players talk of their need for an offseason.
This weekend would certainly fall into that time of year considered to be “an offseason,” yet what are 39 of the world’s top 50 players doing? They’re playing golf.
All 18 players in “Tiger’s Tournament,” officially called the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge at Sherwood CC in Thousand Oaks, Calif., are ranked within the top 30, including five of the top 10:
- 1. Tiger Woods;
- 6. Rory McIlroy;
- 7. Matt Kuchar;
- 8. Steve Stricker;
- 10. Jason Day.
Not to be outdone, the mega-rich Nedbank Challenge in South Africa has 19 of the world’s top 50, including five of the top 20:
- 3. Henrik Stenson;
- 5. Justin Rose;
- 15. Luke Donald;
- 18. Charl Schwartzel;
- 20. Sergio Garcia.
There is one top-50 player (Miguel Angel Jimenez, 48th) teeing it up in Hong Kong, while Hideki Matsuyama, 23rd, will play in the Golf Nippon Series JT in Japan.
The 11 top 50 players who aren’t playing this weekend? No. 2 Adam Scott leads the way, having played four consecutive weeks in Australia, and No. 4 Phil Mickelson is truly having an offseason. Also not playing: Brandt Snedeker (though it’s because of an injury), Nick Watney, Graham DeLaet, Jonas Blixt, Rickie Fowler, Scott Piercy, Peter Hanson, Billy Horschel and Jimmy Walker.
And just so you don’t think this is a one-week deal, consider that come Sunday night, some of the world’s best will head toward the other side of the world to play in the Thailand Open. Mahan, Watson and Fowler are signed on for that tournament, though sources have indicated that there is some concern about the unrest between anti-government groups and police in the streets of Bangkok. The American trio reportedly will monitor the situation this weekend and make a group decision before Sunday.
Should they go, they will have world-class company, because Stenson, Rose, Garcia, Schwartzel, Ryo Ishikawa, and Thorbjorn Olesen also are entered.
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