Tiger Could Reclaim No. 1 Ranking With a Win at His Exhibition Event
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Tiger: Leave me alone, Steiney!

Add another flaw to the IMG-created Official World Golf Ranking system: as of last year, the Chevron World Challenge, the unofficial 18-man invite-only charity exhibition event with a big-money purse hosted by Tiger Woods, counts for ranking points. Excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing. I mean, honestly? Next thing you know the Tavistock Cup will get them. And then let’s just hand them out every time Tiger plays a match with pals at Isleworth.

Because that’s pretty much the trend. When I first learned the Chevron had world ranking points, I almost had my hearing checked and then my eyes.

Obviously, the Chevron attracts the game’s best — what person in the right mind would turn down an invitation from Tiger? Well, the only players among the top-12 missing are current No. 1 Lee Westwood, No. 3 Martin Kaymer, who withdrew last minute after capturing the Euro Tour money title to caddy for his girlfriend at LET Q-school, and Phil Mickelson, who never plays there.

The $5 million purse, with $1.2 to the winner and $150,000 for last place, adds to the contrived prestigious reputation.

The event has enough world ranking points that Tiger can recapture the No. 1 spot from Lee Westwood, who is playing in 12-player Nedbank Challenge at Gary Player Golf Club in Sun City, South Africa (which also stupidly awards ranking points). For that to happen, Tiger needs to win and Westwood can’t place in the top-two.

One Golf Channel analyst brought up another good question: At what point does a tournament become an exhibition? There’s no definitive answer, but in his opinion, anything less than 70 (to pick a random number), should not be considered a tournament.

But these days when 18 golfers (even if they’re the best 18 in the world) get together in December to slap the ball around with five million on the table, it’s called FREE WORLD RANKING POINTS. Oh, and free money.

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)