LOS ANGELES, December 4, 2013 — For the final time, Tiger Woods will host the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club. Tiger and 18 of the world’s greatest golfers descend upon Sherwood Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus masterpiece in the hills above Thousand Oaks, Calif.
The tee shots are framed by some of the most expensive mansions in the state, while fairways wind their way through natural canyons to greens flanked by picturesque ponds.
Joining the host this week are a who’s who from the top of the official World Golf Ranking, including Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and Steve Sticker among others. Most notably absent this week is Phil Mickelson, but that really would not surprise most golf fans based on the public, yet competitive disdain Mickelson and Woods have shown for each other throughout the years.
This is the final year the tournament will be held in California. Next year, the tournament, which Woods has hosted for the last 14 years, will move to Tiger’s home club in Isleworth, Fla., the same town of the infamous Thanksgiving weekend evening four years ago. Coming off a rebound season in 2013 where Woods, the world’s number one golfer, clamed five victories on the PGA Tour and Player of the Year honors, those days of tabloid headlines now seem a distant memory for Tiger Woods.
Tiger is moving the tournament, perhaps, for a few reasons. A celebrity of his popularity does not much care for the hoards of paparazzi that lurk throughout Southern California. Also, many of the players in this week’s field also live in the same neighborhood where Tiger built his $60 million mansion. Perhaps also, the fact that there are no state taxes in Florida made the change inevitable.
Whatever Woods’ reasons may be, it is concerning that Tiger seems to be playing less and less for his hometown fans in Los Angeles. The fans who cheered the 16-year-old high school sophomore back in 1992 at Riviera Country Club on the Westside of Los Angeles, his first PGA event. The fans who have seen him win eight times throughout the years at Torrey Pines Golf Course in Northern San Diego, including a US Open win in 2008. Wood has not played Riviera in years and he even forewent Torrey last year. This week may be the last chance Los Angeles fans get to see the living legend, the SoCal native, play anywhere near the vicinity of his childhood home of Cypress, Calif.
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