This Week in Golf -- November 30th through December 5th
Philadelphia, PA – PGA TOUR - CHEVRON WORLD CHALLENGE - You ever think you'd see the day where Tiger Woods would barely qualify for his own tournament?
Woods was 49th in the world when the deadline came for entry into this elite field. That was good enough to earn a spot into the field for his somewhat silly-season event. While not an official tournament, this championship does award world-ranking points.
Last year, Woods looked poised to finally break out and get that first win since his life fell apart Thanksgiving night of 2009. Graeme McDowell had other ideas.
McDowell, last year's U.S. Open champion and Ryder Cup clincher for Europe, holed a pair of long birdie putts to top Woods. The first long birdie came at the 18th hole in regulation and the second came on the first playoff hole.
That quickly, the fortunes of both continued - McDowell polished off an amazing 2010 campaign, while Woods' woes remained.
Now, barely in the tournament his foundation is heavily involved in, Woods will once again try to get back into the winner's circle.
He played very well in Australia for two weeks. He finished third at the Australian Open, then played much better than his 2-3 record at The Presidents Cup. Woods dusted Aaron Baddeley in singles to clinch the Cup for the American side.
If Woods can keep that kind of play going Thursday, he'll be in good shape to win. He's captured this championship four times.
This 18-player field is very American heavy. Fourteen of the 18 competitors hail from the good ole' US of A, with only Paul Casey, K.J. Choi, Jason Day and Martin Laird as the foreigners.
Golf Channel has the action the first two rounds, then NBC takes over on the weekend.
Starting Friday of next week is the Franklin Templeton Shootout, which was won last year by the team of Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter, but they won't be back to defend their title.
Q SCHOOL - PGA West - Nicklaus Tournament Course & TPC Stadium Course, LaQuinta, California - The most pressure-packed tournament every year heads to LaQuinta.
It's Q School and the huge field, comprised of regional qualifiers, will try for one the top-25 places. That is the magic number for 2012 PGA Tour membership.
The remainder of players earn some sort of status next year on the Nationwide Tour.
Q School begins on Wednesday and ends on Monday with each player getting three rounds at each of the two venues.
Last year, Billy Mayfair won the tournament by a stroke over William McGirt. Mayfair retained his card for 2012 thanks to finishing 109th on the 2011 money list.
As is the case every year, there are some big names in the field this week. David Duval, Steve Flesch, Lee Janzen, Jeff Maggert, Shaun Micheel, Vaughn Taylor and Boo Weekley will all tee it up this week in the hopes of getting back to the PGA Tour.
The Shark Shootout looms next week.
HONG KONG OPEN - Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling, Hong Kong - This is the final full-field event of the 2011 season so players will be jockeying for entrance into next week's Dubai World Championship.
The top 60 on the money list, or Race to Dubai, will compete in the Dubai World Championship.
Padraig Harrington currently resides in the 67th spot, so he'll need a big week if he's going to play in Dubai next week.
Rory McIlroy is also teeing it up Thursday in his quest for the money title. Luke Donald's bid for that honor on both the PGA Tour and European Tour looks fairly safe, but McIlroy can make things interesting.
McIlroy basically needs to win this week and next to have a chance to trip Donald's run at history.
Last year, Ian Poulter used a second-round 60 to vault up the leaderboard. He stayed there over the weekend, but only won by a single stroke over Simon Dyson and Matteo Manassero.
Poulter and Justin Rose shared second place last week at the World Cup representing England.
Golf Channel has the telecast.
Next week is the season finale, the Dubai World Championship, which was won last year by Robert Karlsson.
NEDBANK CHALLENGE - Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa - One of the most lucrative, exclusive events in the world stems from Sun City this week.
Luke Donald, defending champion Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell, K.T. Kim, Open champion Darren Clarke, Jason Dufner, Anders Hansen, Francesco Molinari, Simon Dyson and Robert Karlsson are in the field.
Molinari replaced the ailing Thomas Bjorn, who withdrew with a neck injury.
The hook of this tournament, aside from playing a beautiful golf course and competing against the best field in the world, is the $5 million in prize money.
Last year, Westwood, then ranked No. 1 in the world, cemented his status as the game's best with a eight-shot victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Tim Clark had the distinction of coming in second miles behind.
Golf Channel will broadcast some action.
The Dubai World Championship looms for most of this field next week.
Q SCHOOL - LPGA International (Champions and Legends Courses), Daytona Beach, Florida - Yet another pressure-cooker in the world of golf, this time for the LPGA Tour.
The format has 90 holes, beginning Wednesday, with a cut coming for the low-70 and ties after the 72nd hole. Play rotates over the two courses the first two rounds, then the final round will take place at the Champions Course.
The top 40 players earn LPGA Tour cards for next season, but the remainder of the field who makes the cut, gets some status next year on the Futures Tour.
Aree Song won last year's Q School, but didn't earn her card for the '12 season. She also didn't make it the Final Qualifying Tournament.
There is no television coverage.
This is the last event of the year for the LPGA Tour.