Tiger Woods pleased that December event still strong in wake of new PGA Tour season

Even with a PGA Tour season starting in October and big golf played around the world, Tiger Woods still has a cast of stars for his holiday tournament in California.

Woods said Tuesday he was pleasantly surprised to attract a strong lineup of players for his World Challenge on Dec. 5-8 at Sherwood Country Club.

The field includes defending champion Graeme McDowell and three other European who will be competing in the Race to Dubai. Ernie Els is playing for the first time. Jason Day will be coming over the Pacific from two big events in Australia.

The tournament has a new title sponsor in Northwestern Mutual. A year ago without a sponsor, Woods put a good chunk of his own money toward running the event.