124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Forward Press: Easy world rankings points go off shore at Tiger Woods' event

November 30, 2015

Nothing says red flag like easy World Ranking points parked neatly off shore. When the Hero World Challenge resurfaces at its third venue in three years, it wheels out another incredible field looking to feast on the easy money and even easier algorithm for boosting points.

As golf fans relegated to cold confines, we really can't complain when a field looks like this:

Jordan Spieth (1), USA

Bubba Watson (4), USA**

Rickie Fowler (5), USA

Justin Rose (7), England

Dustin Johnson (8), USA

Zach Johnson (10), USA

Adam Scott (13), Australia

Hideki Matsuyama (14), Japan

Matt Kuchar (15), USA

Jimmy Walker (16), USA

Brooks Koepka (17), USA

J.B. Holmes (18), USA

Patrick Reed (19), USA

Paul Casey (23), England

Billy Horschel (26), USA

Chris Kirk (27), USA

Bill Haas (28), USA

Anirban Lahiri (39), India

**That's right, the world number 4 is a late replacement for Jason Day, who was originally committed but has taken the fall off to hang out with his lovely wife and newborn. And maybe even to pretend to have an off-season.

A field that good is noteworthy any year. But heading into 2016, when scheduling will become a tiresome subject and players should already be shedding starts, it should raise all sorts of red flags. However, since the Hero World Challenge added World Ranking points in 2009, the event has enjoyed stellar fields despite landing at a time of year when rest is a priority or when some stars go home to play in their native countries of South Africa or Australia.

The easy points are meaningful even for top-10 types thanks to the looming Olympic Games, and those precious points prove especially meaningful to those looking to stay in golf's most elite club for financial and access perks: the World Top 50.

Moving to a mysterious venue in The Bahamas -- the course goes by the single name Albany -- adds to the sense that something isn't quite kosher here. After all, when the World Challenge was at Sherwood or Isleworth (where Jordan Spieth dominated last year), at least they weren't parking the World Ranking points in off-shore accounts.

Still, we carry on with little say on the matter and with a fine field to savor. Spieth aims to defend his title after nearly winning last week in Australian. Plus we might get some surprising equipment change news for some top players and a golf course that could make for intriguing viewing.