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Expert Picks: Northwestern Mutual World Challenge

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

More Golf: Leaderboard | Rankings | Schedule | Equipment | FedEx Cup

The last big golf event of the calendar year takes place this weekend at Sherwood Country Club.

Let's do a little Q&A on what to expect from this event.

What is it?

Northwestern Mutual World Challenge -- A tournament hosted by Tiger Woods to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundatin.

Where is it?

Sherwood Country Club -- A Jack Nicklaus course in Thousand Oaks, Cali.

Is Tiger Woods playing?

Well, of course.

When is it?

Dec. 5-8

What is the purse?

$3.5 million, $1 million to the winner.

Wait, that's not a big purse

It is when you consider there are only 18 golfers playing.

How can I watch it?

Golf Channel from 1:30-4 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and Friday.

Golf Channel from 10 a.m.-Noon and NBC from Noon-3 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and Sunday.

Who's playing?

Ah yes, this is the fun part.

Tiger, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Jordan Spieth, Graeme McDowell, Bill Haas, Jason Day, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, and Hunter Mahan.

This is going to be awesome, isn't it?

It's pretty much the nine pairings we want to see in the final round of every tournament.

Who are the former champions?

2012 -- Graeme McDowell
2011 -- Tiger Woods
2010 -- Graeme McDowell
2009 -- Jim Furyk
2008 -- Vijay Singh
2007 -- Tiger Woods
2006 -- Tiger Woods
2005 -- Luke Donald
2004 -- Tiger Woods
2003 -- Davis Love III

So who are you picking?

I'm glad you asked. Here are my picks for the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge:

Winner

Rory McIlroy (6-1) -- He's back! Fine, that narrative is stupid, but he is playing well again. In his only appearance here he finished fourth (2010).

He doesn't have great value at 6-1 but I'll take "on" Rory against "on" anybody else in the world not named after an animal. I feel like the best in the world bring out his best so it'll be fun to see what he does this weekend.

Lock for top five

Tiger Woods (9-4) -- Woods has only finished outside the top five once (one!) in the history of this event and he's won it five times.

That's why he's the 9-4 favorite and why he's an easy bet to finish in the top five once again. All bets are off, however, if we see him fire up Air Tiger One on Saturday night for a quick hop over to the Stanford-Arizona State Pac-12 title game.

Sleeper

Hunter Mahan (20-1) -- There are no "sleepers" in this event but I guess Mahan qualifies at 20-1. Only Watson and Haas have higher odds. I have no reason for this pick other than "he's awesome at golf."

Ok, actually I do. His last four finishes here are T9, T4, T5, and T3. He'll be in the mix.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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