With the stark possibility that Tiger Woods may not qualify for the Chevron World Challenge in December, the world’s 38th-ranked golfer can depend on the kindness of others to ensure he’ll tee it up at the event he hosts.
Top 50. Woods must remain among golf’s top 50 players to earn his way to the tourney in Thousand Oaks, Calif., from December 1-December 4. Failing that — and with his trip down the Official World Golf Rankings ladder moving at warp speed, Tiger could drop below the magic 50 criterion by the September 20 qualification date — Woods would need a sponsor’s exemption to appear in the limited-field contest.
Not to worry, an undaunted Greg McLaughlin, tourney director, told the Associated Press on Tuesday. Woods — who was playing in his pal Notah Begay III’s charity exhibition Wednesday because he failed to qualify for this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston — will be a World Challenge participant even if he falls below golf’s Mendoza Line.
“We’re confident he’s going to be in the top 50 and will be eligible to play,” said McLaughlin.
If he failed to play his way into the Sherwood Country Club event, Woods was still an odds-on favorite to make it to the tourney.
A 51st-ranked Woods “most likely would need an exemption,” McLaughlin said. “We have two, and we would happily extend one to him.”
Graeme McDowell used the 2009 Chevron World Challenge as a springboard to far greater achievements, including winning the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. McDowell was Woods’ replacement when the former No. 1 withdrew from that year’s tilt with injuries sustained during his Thanksgiving night car crash.
McDowell came up big again in last year’s competition. The Northern Irishman finished off the best year of his career by finishing off a stunned Woods with a come-from-behind win on the first sudden-death playoff hole.
Honored. In related news, Woods told the AP he was pleased to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team.
“They wanted me on the team and I’m honored,” Woods said prior to the Begay event at Turning Stone’s Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, N.Y. He nodded that he agreed with captain Fred Couples’ decision to make him a wild-card pick for the 12-player roster.