'I had to take baby steps all year,' Woods said. 'I was working in the right direction. Sometimes, it might have been just three or four holes in one round that I played great, and then the rest of it wasn't so good.
Now its time for the 2005 tournament, and Woods is about to wrap up an extremely successful season with his new swing. He has won six times on the PGA Tour this year with two majors and two World Golf Championships. He finished in second place in four other tour events.
The tournament has a $5.5 million purse and pays $1.3 million to the winner, the richest payoff in the off-season. The tourney starts Thursday at Sherwood Country Club, and Woods should be among the few who are rested.
Seven players are coming from halfway around the world - Colin Montgomerie, fresh from winning in Hong Kong; Michael Campbell, who participated in a tournament in Australia; and Jim Furyk, Chris DiMarco, Tim Clark, Luke Donald, Kenny Perry and Darren Clarke from the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa. Furyk won the Nedbank in a playoff over Clarke, Retief Goosen and Adam Scott.
Also in the field are Davis Love III, Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn, Fred Couples, and David Toms. Toms is playing for the first time since surgery last month to correct a rapid heartbeat.
John Daly, Vijay Singh and Angel Cabrera have withdrawn. Daly, who will miss his second straight event due to a broken right hand, had received a sponsor's exemption to play in the 16-man event. He was replaced by Merrill Lynch Skins Game champion Fred Funk.
Singh and Cabrera were replaced off the world rankings by David Howell and Clark.
Woods has finished either first or second in five of the previous Target World Challenge events, his two victories have come in 2001 and last year. Love has won twice, in 2000 and 2003, and Padraig Harrington won in 2002.
The Target World Championship benefits primarily the Tiger Woods Learning Center, where students from diverse backgrounds broaden their perspective of the world and explore their individual interests. It is located on a 14-acre campus in Anaheim, Calif.
Another benefactor is the Tiger Woods Foundation. And, the Start Something program, created by Target and the Woods Foundation, it is a free character education program that encourages children from the ages of 8 to 17 to identify a specific goal and begin taking steps to achieve it.