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PGA: Target World Challenge Preview


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BY Cody Thrasher via TheSandTrap.com
Click for Article>>>Here

Tiger Woods hosts some of the world's best golfers in this annual showdown.

The 2006 PGA Tour season is less than a month away, but there is still a little golf to be played in 2005. The world's best golfer, Tiger Woods, plays host this week to some of his peers from around the globe in the annual Target World Challenge. Also, the course (Sherwood Country Club) is great, and the prize money is even better. All of these things add up to a pretty special event.

This will be the sixth edition of the Target World Challenge, and the host has won nearly half of them. Tiger won this event in 2001 and 2004. That's right, Tiger is the defending champion in his own event. Last year, Woods shot four rounds in the 60s on his way to a two-shot victory over Padraig Harrington. Jay Haas and Colin Montgomerie finished in a tie for third, with Miguel Angel Jimenez rounding out the top five.

Tiger Woods comes into the event off a string of wins worldwide. Mr. Woods defended his Dunlop Open title in Japan by outlasting Kaname Yokoo in a four-hole playoff. A couple days later, Woods dominated the Grand Slam of Golf in Hawaii. Needless to say, Tiger has played just as good in the silly season as he played in the regular PGA Tour season. Tiger has been battling an ankle injury lately, so it will be interesting to see how he is feeling this week.

Vijay Singh was originally in the field for this event, but he withdrew earlier this week. Singh isn't the only one that won't be teeing it up at Sherwood, however. Fan favorite, John Daly, also had to withdraw due to a broken right hand. It's the second event in a row Daly has had to withdraw from. Finally, Angel Cabrera withdrew earlier this week as well.

These three golfers will be missed, and they will be replaced by Skins Game hero Fred Funk, Tim Clark, and David Howell. Funk set a Skins Game record by earning 15 skins and nearly $1 million in prize money. Clark has been solid all year and is currently the 20th ranked golfer in the world. Howell is one of the hottest golfers in the world right now. He is coming off a victory at the HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai last month.

Tiger Woods won't be the only golfer playing this week that is ranked in the world top-10. Jim Furyk, Colin Montgomerie, and Chris DiMarco are all set to tee it up this week as well. All three guys played outside the United States last week and will be doing a lot of traveling before arriving at Sherwood Country Club.

Jim Furyk played in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa last week. The field for the event was very solid, and Furyk outlasted three others in a playoff to pick up the victory. He will definitely have a lot of momentum heading into the Target World Challenge this week. Chris DiMarco also played the event, finishing in seventh place.

Colin Montgomerie, on the other hand, picked up a win of his own this past weekend. The Scot won the UBS Hong Kong Open by one shot over Keng-Chi Lin. Monty has had a resurgence the past few months and now finds himself back in the top-10 in the world. Montgomerie had this to say after his win this past weekend: "At the start of the year, I gave myself a goal of 25th, and to beat this already is remarkable for me. I'm thrilled about it."

Another golfer to keep an eye on this week is Davis Love III. Love played in the Father/Son Challenge this past weekend, but it will be much more serious this week. Love has had a great deal of success in the Target World Challenge, winning in 2000 and 2003. Love is currently the 18th ranked golfer in the world.

The rest of the 16-man field includes Kenny Perry, Padraig Harrington (won in 2002), David Toms, Luke Donald, U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, Darren Clarke, the ever-popular Fred Couples, and Thomas Bjorn. These guys are definitely worthy of the invite and are all capable of winning the event.

Sherwood Country Club is the host course for this wonderful event. Jack Nicklaus is the course designer and really thinks a lot of his creation. The course measures 7,053 yards and par is 72. There are a lot of great holes, but none compares to the spectacular 18th hole. Nicklaus calls it one of the finest finishing holes he has ever created.

The 18th hole is a 446-yard par 4 that starts off with a blind tee shot. The tee shot must be played down the left side, leaving a mid-to-long iron approach. This is where the visual beauty comes into play. The multi-level green is protected in front by a rock-filled pond that runs into waterfalls on both sides. There are bunkers around the green that will cause trouble as well. All in all, the finishing hole at Sherwood Country Club is a tough one, and I'm sure par will be a great score.

There are only 16 golfers in the field this week, so I have a decent chance of picking a winner. Not really, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Luke Donald is my pick to win this week's event. Donald hasn't won in 2005, and he is definitely due for a victory. This week is as good as any to change all that. On the other side of things, I look for Kenny Perry to struggle this week and finish at the bottom of the leaderboard. If I can't pick the winner, I might as well try to pick the loser.

Speaking of loser, I really don't think any of the golfers will be losers this week because the prize money is excellent! The overall purse for the event is a whopping $5.5 million, with $1.3 million going to the winner. The last-place competitors last year walked away with $155,000 apiece. This event should really be entertaining to watch. The course is great, the money is great, and the field is awesome! The Target World Challenge can be seen this week on USA and ABC at the following times:

Thu 3-6pm ET USA
Fri 3-6pm ET USA
Sat 3-6pm ET ABC
Sun 3-6pm ET ABC

"This article is republished with permission from The Sand Trap .com and
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