New Delhi: The annual Hero World Challenge received a big boost on Friday with the confirmation that legendary golfer Tiger Woods will participate at the event to be held at Bahamas from December 3 to 6.
Woods confirmation and exemption into the tournament assumes special importance as the Hero World Challenge is a special event, open only to players in the Top-50 of the world. Woods, who is making a comeback, is unlikely to be in Top-50 of the world rankings.
Woods, the host of the event, himself sought and received the exemption into the World Challenge, which was created by Tiger Woods and his father, Earl Woods. It benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Ty Votaw, Executive Vice-President of the PGA Tour was quoted as saying, "Given the fact that the Tiger Woods Foundation owns and runs the event, that Tiger hosts the event, that he's been critical to the success of the Tiger Woods Foundation and he's won the tournament five times, we felt the request was reasonable. After consulting with the Official World Golf Ranking people, we approved it."
The Hero World Challenge invites its defending champion, the current year's major championship winners, the top 11 players available from the world rankings and two sponsor exemptions -- provided they are in the top 50. The world ranking is then used to fill out the field. So, for the 2015 edition, Woods will get one of the two sponsors' spots.
The 2014 edition of Hero World Challenge saw current Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth turn in a commanding performance to win the event. The year before that, in 2013, Zach Johnson, the current reigning British Open champion, beat Tiger Woods in a play-off.
The event will also continue to award Official World Ranking Points. Official World Golf Ranking points are only given to small-field events like the Hero World Challenge and the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, provided all of the players are ranked among the top 50.
The event began awarding world ranking points in 2009. The field for the 2015 Hero World Challenge will be finalised in September.