[PHOTO: Mike Ehrmann]

As if there weren’t enough topics to argue over in the golf world right now, Tiger Woods’ recent leap in the Official World Golf Ranking has sparked more online debate over the legitimacy of the OWGR itself.

Woods started last week 1,328th in the ranking, the lowest point he had ever fallen to in his entire career. To put that in perspective, the 15-time major champion was beside names like Jonathan Agren and Sebastian Heisele, only one of whom has their own Wikipedia page.

That didn’t last long, as Woods made an enormous jump in the world ranking off an 18th-place finish at the Hero World Challenge. Woods is now ranked 898th, a 430-spot vault that has caused plenty of Golf Twitter/X controversy. The reason? There were only 20 players in the field at the Hero World Challenge, an event Woods is the host of and one that benefits his Tiger Woods Foundation. The golf legend beat just two players: reigning US Open champion Wyndham Clark and Will Zalatoris, who finished at 11-over par after returning from a nine-month layoff after undergoing back surgery.

Speaking of Zalatoris, his last-place finish earned him more world ranking points than Alex Fitzpatrick earned for his T-8 finish at the ISPS Handa Australian Open, as first pointed out by @LIVGolfUpdates on X, formerly known as Twitter:

Only furthering the head-scratchiness of this is the fact that Joaquin Niemann, who won the Australian Open, received only two more points (14.79536) than Justin Thomas (12.03997), who finished in third in the Bahamas. That also secured Thomas’ spot inside the top 30 (he’s currently 26th) ahead of 2024. If he remains inside the top 30 ahead of the second Signature event of 2024, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, he will be in the field. Thomas will not be in the Sentry, which is reserved for winners from the previous calendar year as well as the top 50 players from the 2023 FedEx Cup points list (those who made it to the BMW Championship, which Thomas did not).

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As for Zalatoris, his last-place finish, by nine shots from 19th place, allowed him to remain 33rd in the OWGR after from eighth dropping during his layoff after his last official start at the WGC–Dell Match Play in March.