2006 Field Announced
November 16, 2006
TIGER WOODS, DEFENDING CHAMP LUKE DONALD HEADLINE EXCITING FIELD FOR TARGET WORLD CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY COUNTRYWIDE 11 Ryder Cup Members Part of Field of 16 Competing for $5.75-million purse at Sherwood Country Club from Dec. 13-17 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (Sept. 25, 2006). - Red-hot Tiger Woods and defending champion Luke Donald head an exciting 16-player field for the eighth annual Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide, a PGA TOUR co-sponsored event held at Sherwood Country Club, Dec. 13-17.
The tournament benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. The field, announced today, also includes Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Henrik Stenson, David Howell, David Toms, Chris DiMarco, Colin Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Jose Maria Olazabal, Davis Love III, Fred Couples and John Daly.
Of the 16 players in the field, 11 were members of either the U.S. or European teams competing in the Ryder Cup last week at The K Club in Ireland - Woods, Donald, Stenson, Howell, Toms, DiMarco, Montgomerie, Harrington, Casey, Clarke and Olazabal. The Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide will feature 16 of the world's top golfers competing for their share of the $5.75 million purse. First prize is $1.35 million, and no golfer leaves with less than $170,000.
The field is selected from the top players (who accept invitations) from the Official World Rankings and select special exemption players chosen by the Tiger Woods Foundation. Players who qualified based on their Official World Ranking as of Sept. 18 are Scott (5), Donald (9), Ogilvy (10), Stenson (11), Howell (13), Montgomerie (14), DiMarco (15), Toms (16), Casey (17), Harrington (18) and Olazabal (19). Love, Couples, Daly and Clarke received special exemptions to complete the 16-player field.
"As has become the tradition here, we have an exceptional field for the Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide," Woods said. "I think Southern California golf fans are in for a real treat, and of course, that only helps support the charities that the tournament benefits."
Woods, the world No. 1 and the tournament host, is currently in the midst of one of the remarkable hot streaks that has made his career so stunning. He has won seven of the 14 PGA TOUR events he has played in 2006, including the last five - the British Open, the Buick Open, the PGA Championship, the Bridgestone Invitational and the Deutsche Bank Championship. Woods' latest British Open and PGA Championship victories leave him alone in second place on the all-time major championships win list with 12. He is fifth on the all-time PGA TOUR win list with 53 victories, and his current string of consecutive PGA TOUR victories is the longest since he put together a six-tournament winning streak in 1999-2000.
Woods has won this tournament twice (2001, 2004) in its seven-year history. Love III (2000, 2003) is also a two-time winner. Other previous champions in this year's field include Donald and Harrington (2002).
The Australian Scott recently won THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. One of the TOUR's most exciting up-and-coming golfers, Scott will play in the Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide for the first time. Fellow Aussie Ogilvy followed up his maiden PGA TOUR victory in 2005 with two victories this season. He roared to victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February, finishing out the event with a 3 and 2 over Love III in the championship pairing. His bigger triumph, though, was his first major - Ogilvy captured the U.S. Open title by edging Phil Mickelson, Montgomerie and Furyk by one shot on a difficult track at Winged Foot.
Donald could be considered as having a career year, as his 2006 total of eight top-10 appearances surpasses his total from any other season. He ran away from the field at the Honda Classic, securing his lone victory of the season by shooting three rounds in the 60s. Stenson is the owner of seven international victories and is beginning to make a name for himself on the PGA TOUR. He placed third last year at the WGC-American Express Championship, and followed that up with a third-place showing this year at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Howell experienced a breakout year last season, finishing seventh on the European Order of Merit after landing 10 top-10 finishes in 18 starts. In his first full season on the PGA TOUR this year, he has registered one top-10 finish. Montgomerie brings to the tournament one of the most complete resumes of any international player. An eight-time winner of the Harry Vardon Trophy (for leading the European Order of Merit), he climbed 68 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking last year and finished the season at 15th. Montgomerie is almost always a factor in the majors.
DiMarco has steadily moved up the Official World Golf Ranking the last few years, and in 2005 banked $3,562,548 in earnings, a career high. He finished second three times in 2005, including at the Masters, where he has three top-10s in five starts.
Toms has one victory and five other top-10 finishes to his name this season, bringing his career victory total to 12. In 2005, he recorded a career-best $3,962,013 in earnings, a season in which the Louisiana native netted three top-three finishes.
Casey won the HSBC World Match Play Championship by the largest margin in the 43-year history of the event, besting Shaun Micheel with a 10-and-8 victory. He pocketed $1.88 million for the event, while enjoying his best pro year. He won the Volvo China Open and the Johnnie Walker Championship as well to give him seven European victories since turning pro in 2000.
Harrington won the Target World Challenge in 2002, holding off Woods on the final day with help from an eye-opening, third-round 63. He registered his first two career wins in 2005, adding to a resume that already included nine international victories.
Olazabal has finished in the top 10 four times in 17 events during 2006. The veteran Spaniard has won six times on the PGA TOUR and 23 times internationally.
Love III has won this tournament twice, both times beating Woods by two strokes. In 2003, his third-round 63 trumped Woods' final-round 65. In 2000, he set a fast pace by shooting 67 and 64 in the first two rounds and finished the tournament off with another 64.
Couples and Daly have long been fan favorites across the country. Couples owns 15 TOUR victories and five international victories, including the 1992 Masters. Daly's five TOUR wins include two majors (the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open), and his oversized personality attracts fans as much as his mammoth drive and surprising touch around the greens.
Clarke, considered one of the best all-around players in the world, will be making his fourth appearance at the Target World Challenge. Clarke recently lost his wife, Heather, after her long and courageous fight against cancer. Clarke owns 16 worldwide victories during his 16-year pro career. In a limited schedule this year, he had four top-10 finishes.
Tickets for the Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide can be conveniently ordered through the tournament website, targetworldchallenge.com, and can be purchased by phone at 1-800-594-TIXX. Fans faithful to Southern California native Woods - the 2001 and 2004 Target World Challenge champion - and appreciative of the star-studded, 16-player field that annually arrives to play the most highly regarded event following the PGA TOUR season are wise to reserve tickets now.
The week begins with a Pro-Am on Wednesday, Dec. 13, and the four-day tournament begins Thursday, Dec. 14, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 17.
Sherwood Country Club, which opened 17 years ago, is again expected to provide a stern test for golf's top players. Rated as one of the best golf courses in the world, Sherwood Country Club features 1,800 mature oak trees and lush landscaping including waterfalls, jasmine and rose bushes.
Tournament proceeds will benefit the Tiger Woods Learning Center and the Start Something Program. The Tiger Woods Learning Center is a 14-acre, youth-education facility that represents the vision of Tiger Woods and his goal to provide youth from diverse backgrounds an interactive enrichment program that will improve individual aptitude in reading, math, science and technology. As a result, youth will develop personal accountability, independence and resilience, leading to greater knowledge of career options and an increase in college enrollment.
For more information, please visit www.twlc.org. Start Something Start Something is a free program for youth ages 8-17 that addresses three priorities: character education, volunteer service and career exploration. Through participation in Start Something, youth define a specific personal goal and develop an action plan to achieve it while giving back to their community and exploring careers that fit within their areas of interest. More than 3.8 million youths across the country have enrolled in the program since the program's launch in 2000. Teachers and youth group leaders can obtain the program for use with groups by visiting www.target.com/startsomething or by calling 1-800-316-6142. High school students can also visit the site or call the 800 number to order or download the High School Self-Study Guide. All curriculum materials are available in both English and Spanish.
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About Countrywide Financial Corporation Founded in 1969, Countrywide Financial Corporation (NYSE: CFC) - America's #1 home loan lender as ranked for 2005 by Inside Mortgage Finance (Jan. 27, 2006), Copyright 2006 - is a member of the S&P 500 and Fortune 500. Countrywide, through its subsidiaries, provides mortgage banking and diversified financial services in domestic and international markets. Mortgage banking businesses include loan production and servicing principally through Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., which originates, purchases, securitizes, sells, and services residential loans. The company is headquartered in Calabasas, California and has a workforce of about 55,000 individuals and over 900 offices worldwide. For more information about the company, visit Countrywide's Web site at www.countrywide.com.
Companies joining Target and Countrywide as supporting sponsors include Williams, an organization that primarily finds, produces, gathers, processes and transports natural gas, and Dole Food Company, the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh-cut flowers and a growing line of packaged foods. www.targetworldchallenge.com