When the latest Official World Golf Ranking was released on Monday, many people went scanning the top to see what victories by Tom Kim on the PGA Tour and Jon Rahm on the DP World Tour would do for their placement (they jumped to 15th and fifth, respectively). Others went looking for names of those playing the LIV Golf circuit to see how much more they’d fallen after the upstart Saudi-backed circuit’s failed gambit to finally get ranking points.
Look farther down, however, and you’ll see something notable, albeit in a strangely shocking way: Tiger Woods has dropped to 1,206th in the Official World Golf Ranking, the lowest position he’s seen in his career.
That sentence is sure to elicit many various emotions. But it’s a fact.
Now, we know precisely why this is the case. The 46-year-old winner of 82 PGA Tour events and 15 major championships is lucky to still be able to walk following the horrific single-car accident in February 2021 that left Woods thinking he could lose a right leg. He did not, thankfully, but needed the rest of the year to rehab before making a public return to the sport last December at the PNC Championship alongside his son Charlie. He ended 2021 ranked No. 566.
In 2022, finally was able to play in official competition, albeit he’s competed in just nine tournament rounds. He made the cut and finished 47th at the Masters in April, made the cut at the PGA Championship in May but withdrew after the third round and failed to make the cut at the Open Championship in July at the Old Course, leaving many to wonder if that was the last time Woods would compete on those hallowed St. Andrews grounds.
So it is that during Woods’ two-year ranking window for the OWGR, he’s got just five tournament starts—this year’s three majors along with the November Masters in 2020 (T-38) and the Zozo Championship that same year where he tied for 72nd place. That’s it.
Woods’ previous low ranking was No. 1,199 on Nov. 26, 2017, after announcing in April of that year that he would have surgery to alleviate pain in his back and leg. After Woods dropped to 1,199th, he tied for ninth place the following week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas and jumped back up to 668th.
It is not clear when Woods will play next. Two potential short-term options would be the Hero World Challenge, an event Woods hosts in the Bahamas, Dec. 1-4. By playing in this event, he would be able to accumulate World Ranking points, as he did in 2017, and jump at last back into the top-1,000. The other possible place for a return is the PNC Championship (Dec. 16-18) again in Orlando. This would be the third consecutive year for Team Woods if the opt to play.
“We might see him one time this fall,” Woods’ friend Notah Begay said last week. “He might surprise everybody.”