Tiger Woods came into the 2017 Hero World Challenge ranked 1,199th in the Official World Golf Ranking. It was his lowest-ever ranking, of course. Then again, the guy has only completed one 72 hole event dating back to the pair of back surgeries in the fall of 2014 that kept him out 16 months.
However, by virtue of finishing the Hero World Challenge for the second year in a row, he managed to move up from 1,199th in the world to 668th in the world. That’s a gain of 531 spots.
Of course, there are plenty of critics who think that’s absolutely outrageous. Woods finished T-9 in a field of 18 players — not 30 like the Tour Championship, 78 like most World Golf Championships or the standard 144- or 156-player fields. He beat eight guys and moved up 531 spots in the world. Of course, Woods did beat the reigning U.S. Open champion, the PGA champion/PGA Tour Player of the Year winner and reigning world No. 1, but he didn’t torch anything resembling a full field.
It’s controversial, yes, that the Hero World Challenge offers Official World Golf Ranking points at all. Why should beating 17 guys net Rickie Fowler 48 Official World Golf Ranking points, equivalent to tournaments like this year’s Irish Open on the European Tour? But, when you analyze why that happens, you begin to understand how the Official World Golf Ranking values players. Only players ranked in the top 200 in the world contribute anything to the valuation of an event for world ranking purposes. That means a single player beating 100 guys outside the top 200 in the world is, as far as the Official World Golf Ranking is concerned, like beating literally nobody. They don’t count.
That’s an issue with the Official World Golf Ranking, and it’s one that should be remedied in some way. However, for now, the Hero World Challenge offers world ranking points for a field of less than the otherwise-minimum of 30. And that means Tiger’s world ranking went way up for finishing two tournaments in the current world ranking cycle, both being the Hero World Challenge.