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Tiger Woods' return at Hero World Challenge could result in a massive jump back up the World Ranking

November 25, 2022
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Oisin Keniry

That Tiger Woods sits 1,266th in the latest Official World Golf Ranking is both hard to fathom and hardly a surprise. The man who had held the No. 1 ranking more weeks than any golfer since the OWGR’s inception in 1986 (683) has played just nine rounds of competitive golf since his single-car accident in February 2021. Naturally, he was going to fall well down the rankings as the 46-year-old continues to nurse his surgically rebuilt right leg back to health. And you might recall that his last round in an official OWGR event before the accident actually took place at the November Masters in 2020, with Woods undergoing back surgery a month later that had sidelined him in early 2021 before the crash.

The good news is that we’ll get to see a fair amount of Tiger in the coming days. He’s scheduled to play in next week’s Hero World Challenge (Dec 1-4), then compete in the latest edition of “The Match” (Dec. 10) alongside Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, followed by a third appearance with son Charlie at the PNC Championship the weekend after that (Dec. 17-18).

A more realistic expectation for a finish would be somewhere in the second half of the field. While what that might specifically do for his current World Ranking won’t be known until next week, Woods’ fans can take some solace in understanding that it could bring him back to around 650. This is based off the fact that Woods found himself in a similar situation back in 2017. Tiger was coming off lumbar fusion surgery that has sidelined him for more than nine months. His ranking had plummeted to 1,199th. But Woods made a grand return at the Hero that December, finishing ninth and moving up more than 530 spots to 668th.

Woods started 2022 ranked 598th and fell to 973rd before returning to play at the Masters, making the cut and finishing 47th to jump to 757th. He played at the PGA Championship in May, making the cut a Southern Hills but withdrawing after the third round due to pain in his right foot. He rested through June, missing the U.S. Open, before competing again at the 150th Open at St. Andrews, where he missed the cut.