When a winner is crowned Sunday in the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, it will mark the end of a 15-year stay at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. The inaugural World Challenge was held at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, but since 2000, Sherwood Country Club has served as the event’s home base. The tournament moves to Orlando, Florida, next year.
The Northwestern Mutual World Challenge is televised on Thursday, December 5, and Friday, December 6, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern on the Golf Channel. The tournament is televised from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, on NBC.
The tournament, which raises money for the Tiger Woods Foundation, has attracted an 18-player field that includes 10 of the 12 members from the victorious U.S. team in the recent Presidents Cup, along with foreign standouts Jason Day, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood. McDowell and McIlroy, along with participating Americans Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, and Bubba Watson, have all won major championships.
McDowell is especially comfortable at Sherwood. In three starts, the Northern Irishman has a pair of wins—in 2010 and 2012—and finished second in 2009. Last year, he led the field in greens hit in regulation (63 of 72), which was eight more than any other player.
In many ways, Sherwood served as the perfect course for television coverage, with its breathtaking views from each tee box and its tree-lined fairways offering a backdrop as one of the most picturesque courses TOUR players visit all year.
"The course is in the best shape it’s ever been," said Woods, who played in the pro-am on Wednesday. "It’s firm and fast."
With a front nine that rises into the Santa Monica mountains and a back nine that dips down toward Lake Sherwood, the venue is one of the finest golf experiences that Southern California has to offer. And for Woods’ Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, it has served as the perfect host for 14 years of memorable golf.
"I foresee an emotional Sunday, no doubt," Woods said. "Sherwood and its board have been fantastic to us."
The metro-Los Angeles course opened for play in 1989, and the next year, Golf Digest included the layout in the top-three of its Best New Private Courses list. But the Golden Bear notes the course looks like it has always been there.
"Since the day the golf course opened, I like to think Sherwood has looked like it has been there for 100 years,” Nicklaus said. “One of the reasons is the property itself. This was one of the more magnificent pieces of land I’ve had the opportunity on which to design a golf course. It is rare to see a piece of property that is so private, with so much natural beauty.”
The Northwestern Mutual World Challenge is televised on Thursday, December 5, and Friday, December 6, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the Golf Channel. The tournament is televised from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, on NBC. All times are Eastern Standard Time.