Chevron World Challenge 2011 Preview: Tiger Woods Squeaks Into Field

Tiger Woods will be looking for his first win of the 2011 season as he heads into the Chevron World Challenge as the No. 52 player in the world.

Considering the Chevron World Challenge is an event put on by his own foundation, chances are Tiger Woods could have been placed in the 18-man field regardless of his ranking. As it is, Woods was barely able to retain his Top 50 World Golf Ranking that made him automatically eligible for an exemption.

The tournament is hosted by the Tiger Woods Foundation, is played at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. and features the most recent winners of the four majors, the top 11 available players in the World Golf Ranking and two sponsor exemptions who are supposed to be in the Top 50 of the rankings. The event is not officially part of the PGA Tour, but the $5 million prize purse does count toward the unofficial PGA money rankings and the event does count in the World Golf Rankings. If Woods had not been ranked in the Top 50, it likely would not have counted for rankings points. Woods actually fell to No. 52 in the world after finishing in 30th at the Open, which was his first tournament in about two months, but that was after the field had already been set.

"I had (rankings) points rolling off from '09," Woods said at a news conference in Hollywood. "I had a very good year that year. I won, what, seven times around the world, so all those points are coming off. Unfortunately, I fell quite a bit, and I fell fast. Good news is, by playing next year, I have no points coming off, so I can start rebuilding."

As it is, Woods will be joined by a strong field that will be heavy on Americans. Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney and PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley are all in the field through qualification, while FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas received the other sponsor exemption. 

Woods will be looking to win the tournament for a record fifth time, but is also still looking for his first win of the season. Last year, he lost in a playoff to Graeme McDowell. Jim Furyk (2009) and Vijay Singh (2008) won the two previous tournaments. 

The four-round, stroke-play tournament tees off on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Golf Channel will carry the first two rounds from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. NBC will cover the tournament over the weekend from 3 p.m.-6 p.m.

Tee Times (All Times Pacific)

9:30 am Day, Jason Casey, Paul
9:40 am Bradley, Keegan Woodland, Gary
9:50 am Watson, Bubba Simpson, Webb
10:00 am Watney, Nick Furyk, Jim
10:10 am Woods, Tiger Stricker, Steve
10:20 am Kuchar, Matt Fowler, Rickie
10:30 am Haas, Bill Mahan, Hunter
10:40 am Choi, K.J. Laird, Martin
10:50 am Johnson, Zach Van Pelt, Bo
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