To start the final month of the year, take a look at:
WORLD CHALLENGE, at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Thursday-Sunday, Golf Channel and Channel 4:
Tiger Woods apparently is taking the high road and high-tailing it out of town after this 15th edition of this annual event that benefits his foundation. Why move it to Florida, his new home state? Why not. It was having trouble finding title sponsors, Woods had to fork out some of his own cash to keep it solvent last year, and perhaps it’s just its course at the Jack Nicklaus-designed track just off the 101. Since Woods traditionally skips on on playing the PGA’s L.A. stop at Riviera Country Club, there has been some handwringing that this could be the last time Southern Californians will be able to see him pitch, putt and drive in person during a competitive round. Chew on that while watching Graeme McDowell defend his title against a field that includes Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els (a first-time participant), Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Zack Johnson, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk, as well as up-and-coming 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. Still pretty sweet for a tourney that’s not an official tour stop and counts only toward world rankings. Plus, the $3.5 million purse is the smallest than any event on the PGA or European Tour for the rest of this year. “II think we’re all very surprised that we’ve got as many international players playing this year,” Woods said. “The American players have supported our event throughout the years. But for some reason, this year we’ve had guys wanting to play (from around the world) and we have probably the best field we’ve had.” So watch it and weep. Golf Channel has the first two rounds Thursday and Friday (noon to 3 p.m.); Channel 4 has the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday (noon to 3 p.m.).
BEST OF THE REST
NFL WEEK 13:
NEW ORLEANS at SEATTLE, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
Pete Carroll’s “Legion of Boom” in the Seahawks secondary is hurting, after the NFL lowered the boom on Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond for substance-abuse suspensions. Can Richard Sherman handle all Drew Brees has to offer by himself? Get that 12th Man suited up in the nickel package.
KINGS vs. ST. LOUIS, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The Blues’ Alexander Steen already has 20 goals, second best in the NHL. And all of the sudden, Kings backup goalie Ben Scrivens has a 1.52 GGA and .944 save percentage, both tops in the league.
KINGS at DUCKS, Honda Center, 7 p.m., FSW:
With their outdoor meeting at Dodger Stadium not until Jan. 25, here’s the Frozen Frenzy warmup act. Unless they want to take it outside into the parking lot afterward. Lett’s see how the Kings players treat former Stanley Cup title teammate Dustin Penner this time around.
UCLA vs. UC SANTA BARBARA, Pauley Pavilion, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The Bruins’ 55.6 percent field goal shooting is second in the country, behind Gonzaga’s 56.7, and their 90.9 points a game ranks sixth. Impressive, considering a lot of bench players have seen time during some reason one-sided affairs.
CLIPPERS at ATLANTA, 4:30 p.m., Prime:
The Clippers have been with two 10-day, seven-game road trips this season. One is during the Grammy Awards break in January. But first, it’s this one, with each game in the Eastern time zone. Without J.J. Reddick.
CLIPPERS at MEMPHIS, 5 p.m., Prime:
Zach Randolph drilled his former team for 26 points and 15 rebounds in the Grizzlies’ 106-102 win at Staples Center last month.
NFL WEEK 14:
HOUSTON at JACKSONVILLE, 5:25 p.m., NFL Network:
Not even shoppers on Black Friday were taking Texans or Jags jerseys with the 75-percent savings tags.
SOCCER: 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP DRAW, 8:30 a.m., ESPN2:
Forbes’ Bobby McMahon explains it best here in his story entitled, “Why the FIFA 2014 Finals will be unique and very unfair.” Does it mean Team USA could be in the same grouping as host Brazil?
LAKERS at SACRAMENTO, 7 p.m., TWC Sports Net:
Sure, Kobe has to come back some time. May as well be here after four days off to see how he’s responding to treatment this week.
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP in Detroit: Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green, 5 p.m., ESPN2:
The Huskies of Northern Illinois are a win away from sneaking into the BCS bowl hierarchy. They have to stay about a No. 16 ranking, and ahead of the American Athletic Conference champion (University of Central Florida, Louisville or Cincinnati) to get a spot.
UCLA at MISSOURI, 9:30 a.m., Channel 2:
The last time a Bruins team opened the season 7-0 was 2007-08 — remember, Kevin Love’s one-and-done appearance for Ben Howland team with a No. 2 preseason ranking. They finished finished 35-4 and lost in the Final Four. Not to make any kind of comparisons, but this Bruins team, inching up at No. 19 in the polls, should land in Missouri with the same 8-0 mark as the Tigers for this early-morning national TV appearance. And keep an ear out for the Members of the Antlers club.
PACIFIC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP: STANFORD at ARIZONA STATE, 1:45 p.m., ESPN:
Stanford already knocked off ASU in Week 4, starting strong and struggling late at home in a 42-28 victory in what was the conference opener. Here’s the conference closer. Common opponents for the Cardinal and Sun Devils: UCLA lost by 14 (to Stanford) and by five (to ASU). USC beat the Cardinal by three, but lost to the Sun Devils by 21.
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP in Atlanta: MISSOURI vs. AUBURN, 1 p.m, Channel 2
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP in Charlotte, N.C.: FLORIDA STATE vs. DUKE, 5 p.m., Channel 7
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP in Indianapolis: OHIO STATE vs. MICHIGAN STATE, 5:15 p.m., Channel 11
OKLAHOMA at OKLAHOMA STATE, 9 a.m., Channel 7
TEXAS at BAYLOR, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11:
Whoever wins the SEC — Auburn, up to No. 3 in the BCS poll, or No. 5 Missouri — needs either No. 1 Florida State or No. 2 Ohio State to lose their conference title games in order to move into the top two and have a shot at the BCS title game.
KINGS vs. N.Y. ISLANDERS, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Slava Voynov, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli goals in the third period against the Isles in Long Island on Nov. 14 turned a 2-0 third-period deficit into a strange victory.
CLIPPERS at CLEVELAND, 4:30 p.m., Prime:
Say hey to Andrew Bynum, if you recognize him.
LAKERS vs. TORONTO, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., TWC Sports Net:
Does seeing Kobe in person draw you closer to paying top dollar just to saw you’ve witnessed L.A.’s most highly-paid athlete for the next three seasons?
USC vs. BOSTON COLLEGE, Galen Center, 4 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The 5-3 Trojans’ Thanksgiving trip to the Bahamas concluded without any more coaching confrontations, so it’s back to the home base, where they are 4-0 so far this season, against the 3-4 Eagles of the ACC.
NFL WEEK 14:
CAROLINA at NEW ORLEANS, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4
SEATTLE at SAN FRANCISCO, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11
N.Y. GIANTS at SAN DIEGO, 1:25 p.m.:
Maybe chalk up another non-sellout in San Diego here, paving the way for a more important NFC West meeting to be seen in L.A. Depends on what the West Coast transplanted New Yorkers want to do.
MLS CUP: REAL SALT LAKE at SPORTING KANSAS CITY, 1 p.m., ESPN:
Who wants the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy for their coffee table since the Galaxy decided that two years with the thing was just plenty? Why not just give it to the visiting Salt Lakers, who knocked the Galaxy out in the Western Conference semifinals and have made it to the playoffs for six straight years, the longest active streak in this great American league.