Christmas is still more than a month away, but we already know Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson are going to get some nice Official World Golf Ranking points in their stockings. And they can thank Tiger Woods.
On Wednesday, the pair of major champions were named by the Tiger Woods Foundation as the two special exemptions for the Hero World Challenge. The tournament host tweeted the announcement that rounded out what will be a star-studded 18-man field in the Bahamas Dec. 4-7.
Previously, 16 participants, including Woods, were announced last month based on the Official World Golf Ranking and availability. Here’s the list that Spieth and Stenson joined:
Stenson, who also received a special exemption into last year’s tournament, is currently No. 40 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Spieth, a former No. 1 and the 2014 winner of the event, has fallen to No. 43. Both are looking for their first wins since 2017, but will have a nice opportunity to improve their respective numbers in the no-cut event that awards ranking points, but not official PGA Tour money. Just two years ago, Woods jumped 531 spots with a T-9 after being given one of the tournament’s special exemptions, which served as the beginning of this latest comeback.
This year’s Hero World Challenge is being played Wednesday through Saturday to give Woods, the U.S. Presidents Cup captain, and the rest of his squad an extra day to get to Australia for the biennial event the following week. Eleven of the 12 Team USA members are committed to Tiger’s event, with the lone exception being Brooks Koepka. If the World No. 1, who has been recovering from a knee issue, winds up not making it to Royal Melbourne, Woods could very well make another pick from his Bahamas field with Rickie Fowler and Kevin Kisner the most likely candidates.
Woods will be making his first start since picking up his record-tying 82nd PGA Tour victory at last month’s Zozo Championship. He is a five-time winner of this event, although none have come since the tournament moved to Albany Golf Course in 2015.