Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On OWGR points at the Hero ...
It’s one of the primary reasons an elite field gathered this week in the Bahamas, but the fact that OWGR points are available for an 18-man, unofficial event like the Hero World Challenge doesn’t seem right.
Other small-field events like the Tournament of Champions or Tour Championship boast much more stringent qualifying metrics, but this week’s informal gathering at Albany Golf Club basically served as a participation bonus for some of the world’s best after another strong season.
The gap between the haves and have-nots is already wide enough in the world rankings, with the top-50 barrier often serving as a pronounced schism. Handing out free points to a handful of elite players just for planning their winter vacations around a week in Nassau certainly isn’t helping that trend, and it makes it more difficult to treat the OWGR like a true and fair assessment of how the world’s best actually stack up. – Will Gray
On Tiger's return to competition ...
Fifteenth out of 17 players probably isn’t what Tiger Woods had hoped for when he set out on his most recent comeback, but considering how challenging his current road back to competition has been it qualifies as a start.
Woods will need to clean up the parts of his game that were exposed at the Hero World Challenge, but there are blocks to build on. His bogey-free 65 on Friday was what we’ve come to expect from the 14-time major champion, but his closing 76 was probably a better indication of what we should expect as the soon-to-be 41 year old attempts to play his way back to game shape. His 15th-place finish wasn’t the best, but it was a start. – Rex Hoggard
On Tiger's future ...
Now we know why Tiger kept trying to get into that Ryder Cup players-only photo at Hazeltine. He really believes he’s still in the picture with the game’s best. He still believes he belongs in a meaningful role on the game’s biggest stages.
We can’t be sure where his comeback will lead, because his return at the Hero World Challenge was like abstract art. You can see what you like in it, but it takes a hard heart not to see the possibility of something wondrous in his brush strokes.
What really matters, though, is what Woods saw in it. At the very least, he saw a pathway he admitted he couldn’t see a year ago. That’s more than a victory in itself. He looked healthy this week, and he has to count that as another victory.
While there was no trophy for him in the Bahamas, he conquered more than a few foes, some demon doubts, maybe as many on the inside as on the outside. That made it a good start. – Randall Mell