A return to Sherwood for Tiger, Mickelson but few others

Full Screen
1 / 4

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2019, file photo, Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the Zozo Championship golf tournament at the Accordia Golf Narashino country club in Inzai, east of Tokyo, Japan. Woods is the defending champion at a course where he has won five times. The Zozo Championship is the second Asia-based event to move to the United States this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Sherwood Country Club again is hosting some of the world's best players, some of whom return to memories of clutch shots, free money and a happy time of the year with the holidays right around the corner.

Just not very many of them.

In another sign of a younger generation on the PGA Tour, defending champion Tiger Woods is among just 11 players in the 78-man field for the Zozo Championship at Sherwood who have competed on the Jack Nicklaus design.

Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele were not even on the PGA Tour when Sherwood hosted the unofficial World Challenge for the 14th and final time in 2013. PGA champion Collin Morikawa was at Sherwood back then, as a young spectator looking for an autograph (he didn't get it).

Patrick Reed was a month away from cracking the top 50 in the world. Top 5 remains out of reach so far.

The happiest memories belong to Woods, who won his tournament five times at Sherwood and was runner-up on five other occasions. He was younger then, and there's one other big change.

“I have played well here over the years,” Woods said. “Let's just say that the field is a lot bigger than normally when I have played here. I only had to beat 11 other guys. So that's very different.”

His math was a little off. He had to beat 15 other players except for 2011, when the field was expanded to a whopping 18 players. It was a hard to get into Woods' holiday tournament, and the same could be said now.