A farewell to Sherwood at World Challenge

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 5, 2013 at 2:55 am •  Published: December 5, 2013

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Graeme McDowell is going to miss Sherwood Country Club.

The World Challenge that Tiger Woods hosts each December begins Thursday, played for the last time at this Jack Nicklaus course in the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains. It will move next year to Isleworth Country Club outside Orlando, Fla.

McDowell's good vibe from this event dates to 2009, the year Woods withdrew in the midst of his personal life collapsing around him. McDowell was a last-minute alternate and was runner-up. That was the first year the tournament was awarded world ranking points, and McDowell moved up to No. 38.

That put him into the Masters the next year, and those ranking points enabled him to be exempt from U.S. Open qualifying. McDowell won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, a victory that assured him a spot on the Ryder Cup team. And in the Ryder Cup, he won the final match on the course in Wales to clinch the cup for Europe.

And then he won at Sherwood two months later. And he won again last year, which could well have been a springboard of confidence to his three-win season this year.

So, yes, he's sorry to see it go.

"It's always been a week I've enjoyed, win, lose or draw," McDowell said. "I've always enjoyed the hospitality here. It's always been a great place to end the year."

He's not opposed to Isleworth, which is only a short drive across Orlando from his place at Lake Nona. Then again, McDowell has three wins in California and has often joked about buying a second home in the Golden State.

"California has been pretty good to me," he said. "Maybe not as good to me as it has been to the host of the tournament. Tiger Woods has had a Hall of Fame career here in the state of California. I've had an OK run."

Woods has 19 wins in his home state — eight at Torrey Pines (including a U.S. Open), two at Pebble Beach (including a U.S. Open), three at La Costa Resort (two at the Match Play, one at the Tournament of Champions), one at Harding Park (World Golf Championship) and five at Sherwood.

This will be the 14th straight year at Sherwood, which Woods said was a good run. He attributed the move to a combination of players' global schedule, a central location and sponsorship dollars "not exactly easy to come by in these economic times."

"It was certainly not an easy decision, but there are a lot of players that are based there in Florida," Woods said. "It will be a little easier for the guys ... instead of coming all the way out here, to stay right there in Florida."

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