Tiger Woods checked in this week's Official World Golf Ranking at No. 62, his worst position since the week before he won his first PGA Tour event in Las Vegas in October 1996 (No. 75). If Woods continues to struggle or is forced to sit out any significant time with injury, he'll plummet further.
Here's a basic explanation why: The Official World Golf Ranking is determined based on results from the prior two years (104 weeks). Players earn points in events based on their finish and the strength of the competition they beat. Those points hold their full value for approximately three months before losing value in 91 equal increments to match the rolling nature of the ranking formula. The points earned are divided by the number of events in which a player competes in that 104-week span (with a minimum value of 40) to get an average, the measure that sets the ranking's pecking order.
Woods is yet to earn any ranking points in 2015 and earned less 7.39 points for all of an injury-plagued 2014. He's set to lose very little the next two weeks, but will lose the remaining points for his 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship win in March. Currently, Woods is not eligible for the event.
Also working against Woods is that he's been sidelined with back problems, meaning he faces the minimum divisor (40 events) when, after Doral, he'll have only played 26 or 27 events.
If Woods doesn't make the cut at or play in the Honda Classic, the ranking formula would still treat him the same. A missed cut at PGA National would drop Woods to almost 90th in the world ranking after Doral.
However, in this case, that may not be the best math measure of Woods over the last two years. If the formula didn't have a minimum divisor, Woods, after Doral, would be about 27th in the world.