Chevron Challenge tees off without Tiger

BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2008 Chevron World Challenge | Preview | 18 Dec 2008

The Chevron World Challenge presented by Bank of America is played this week at the and despite the playing absence of tournament host, Tiger Woods, the field provides an interesting mix of young and old.

The tournament, previously known as the Target World Challenge, is to be played over the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks in California and includes the leading 12 players available from the world rankings along with four other invitees.

Two players from the world top ten are in the line-up namely Vijay Singh and the big mover in world golf in 2008, Camilo Villegas. It is hard to get too serious about this event as while it carries a lot of prizemoney (US$5.7 million) there is a lot paid just for being there and to a large extent it is an end of season charity (Tiger Woods Foundation) event. While some might get very serious others will see this event as a fun way to finish the season.

The biggest question for many of those in the field is how they will cope after a break from tournament golf. Vijay Singh has not played a tournament since the Tour Championship in September and only seven events since the Open Championship in July. Mind you he has twice in that time so when he has played he has done well. He has returned from a tendonitis injury and it will be therefore a surprise if he can win.

Camilo Villegas has also had a break from tournament golf since the HSBC Championship and has had somewhat of a letdown since the huge month of September where he won the BMW and the Tour Championship. With batteries recharged he may well be ready to take up the form which saw him produce such a breakthrough year.

Anthony Kim was in stunning form before being disqualified at the HSBC Champions event for playing with an altered driver. Like Villegas he is one of the big movers in the game in 2008.

Luke Donald is a previous winner of this event at this golf course and indicated at the Nedbank Challenge that he is at least back playing to a reasonable level. The wrist injury that kept him out of tournament golf for 5 months appears healed and while he might not yet be ready to win it is good to have him back.

Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, Mike Weir, K.J. Choi, Justin Leonard, Hunter Mahan, Paul Casey, Steve Stricker, Boo Weekley, Ben Curtis, Stephen Ames and Fred Couples make up the balance of the field and just by virtue of the fact that they are in the select field makes them chances to do well.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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