Padraig Harrington will be hoping to extend his brilliant record against Tiger Woods in the Target World Challenge.
The Dubliner, who took over from Ernie Els as the world No 7 yesterday, will be gunning for a massive $1.35 million Christmas bonus at soggy Sherwood Country Club in California.
The annual 16-man invitational event is his last event of the year and Harrington will be keen to round off his ultimately brilliant 2006 campaign by taking the top prize.
But he will also be hoping to continue his remarkable head-to-head record against Woods, which singles him out as the only player to consistently outscore the game's best player.
US magazine Golf Digest has analysed over 800 tournament rounds by Woods over the past 10 years and compiled a table which will be published in the next issue.
It reveals that of the 19 players who have played a minimum of five rounds with the 12-time Major winner, Harrington is the only one who has come out on top.
Not including his play-off victory over Woods in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan last month, Harrington has played six rounds with Tiger and outscored him by more than half a shot - 68.83 to 69.5.
And if that happens again this week, Harrington will go into 2007 as one of Woods' most dangerous rivals for a Major title.
Defending champion Luke Donald, ranked two places below Harrington at 9th in the world, has made the trip to California to boost his world ranking before the winter break.
But he admitted that he has his work cut out to claim back-to-back wins after partnering David Howell to a disappointing 15th place in the Barbados World Cup, where Harrington and Paul McGinley finished tied for 12th with Switzerland.
Donald came from six shots behind on the final day with a closing 64 last year to edge out Darren Clarke for the top prize.
Donald said: "Last year came as a bit of a surprise, I snuck up on the leaders on the final day and overtook them, it was a nice Christmas bonus.
"I'm looking forward to it. My coach is meeting me for a couple of days and I'm going to need to get better. It's a tricky course and if you're off line a little bit you can make some big numbers.
"It's fiddly in areas but you really have to be good with your irons so if I'm playing well it's a great course for me.
"I'm looking forward to going back there and seeing if I can repeat it."
Four of the world's top 10 are taking part with Woods and Aussie Adam Scott joined by Harrington and Donald at the luxurious Sherwood Country Club around 40 minutes drive from Los Angeles.
No fewer than 10 players from this year's Ryder Cup matches at the K Club will tee it up with Americans David Toms and Chris DiMarco joining Woods to take on European victors Harrington, Donald, David Howell, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.
The rest of the field is made up by US Open champions Geoff Ogilvy and Michael Campbell, two-time major winner John Daly and veterans Davis Love and Fred Couples.
The Jack Nicklaus designed Sherwood Country Club has been softened up by rain over the past few days, which should give long hitters like Harrington an advantage.
The Dubliner was disappointed with Ireland’s 12th place finish in the Barbados World Cup on Sunday, where he and Paul McGinley failed to hole anything on the grainy greens and finished seven shots outside the play-off for the title where Germany's Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem beat Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren.
The Dubliner, 35, likes the Sherwood layout and jointly holds the course record of nine under par 63 with Sergio Garcia and Michael Campbell.
He set that mark to take a massive six shot lead over Woods into the final round in 2002 and eventually won by two strokes from the world No 1.
Harrington was 13th on his debut in 2001 but since then he has yet to finish outside the top three and earned $2.86 million in total - more than $2,000 for every shot he has played or $143,125 per round.
He’s guaranteed a minimum of $170,000 if he finished last this week, prompting Woods to quip: "Everyone gets a little extra spending money for Christmas."
With the proceeds of the event going to his Foundation, Woods added: "We are very excited about this year’s field. It’s probably the deepest we’ve ever had, especially with the international players."