Title sponsor steps up for Tiger event

Tiger Woods' annual limited-field tournament that benefits his foundation has landed a title sponsor in Northwestern Mutual.

The Tiger Woods Foundation announced that the tournament, now in its 15th year, will be called the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, with an 18-player field that includes Woods.

The event will be held Dec. 5-8, at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and will feature defending champion Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy. The tournament, which offers world ranking points but is considered unofficial, will announce its full field at a later date.

Last year, Northwestern Mutual served as a presenting sponsor as the tournament was unable to secure a title sponsor following the departure of Chevron, which had served in that role for four years. Woods put up his own money -- believed to be the entire purse of $4 million -- to bridge the financial gap and assure the tournament was played.

"What's important is that if it wasn't for this tournament, we wouldn't have the success with the foundation,'' Woods said at last year's tournament. "The Learning Center [in nearby Orange County] would not have happened. We wouldn't have gained the awareness that we have now. There have been so many kids that we have helped just because of this event. It's important to me, to the foundation. This is what got us on the map.''

The World Challenge tournament began in 1999 and was inspired in part by Woods' late father, Earl. Woods' foundation also benefits from the AT&T National in Washington, D.C., and the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.

Woods won the World Challenge in 2011 and the AT&T in 2012, victories that were worth more than $1 million each. He has contributed more than $14 million of his prize money for those events.