If you don’t get enough golf during the regular PGA Tour season, there’s plenty more in the so-called “Silly Season” of December.
Greg Norman’s Franklin Templeton Shootout is a fixture at Naples’ Tiburon Golf Club, and the PNC Father/Son Challenge gathers several Hall of Famers to the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes, for a fun format that plays well on television.
Next year, Florida will have another off-season gathering – one hosted by the game’s biggest name.
Tiger Woods is moving his World Challenge from California to Orlando’s Isleworth, his former home course before he relocated to South Florida. The World Challenge is an exclusive gathering of many of the very biggest names in golf; the 2013 event included Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Bubba Watson and others.
The field is small (18 in 2013) but the event has enjoyed a knack for producing great finishes. In 2013, Zach Johnson defeated Tiger Woods in a playoff after holing out for par from the drop zone on the 72nd hole.
Woods moved the event to Florida to make it easier on his fellow pros’ offseason travel schedules; indeed many call Florida home already.
Many know Isleworth well already, either from living and playing there or taking part in the Tavistock Cup, a spring event that first began as a battle between resident pros from Isleworth and Lake Nona. The course, originally designed by Arnold Palmer and enhanced in 2003 by Steve Smyers, is among the toughest in Florida with a 77.7 USGA course rating from the back tees (the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, by comparison, is 76.8).
Isleworth is ultra-private to play, but the World Challenge is open to the public. Should be fun to see Tiger again in his former habitat. Look for more details closer to December 2014.