Woods entered this week at No. 47 in the world, but after rounds of 73-82 he is projected to fall outside the top 50 next week for the first time since November 2011.
Why is that important? Woods will need to move back into the top 50 in short order if he wants to play in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, held March 5-8 at Trump National Doral in Miami.
It’s an event that Woods has won seven times, most recently in 2013, and one that was expected to be key to his preparation for the Masters. To earn a spot in the field, Woods will need to be inside the top 50 at one of two checkpoints: the Feb. 23 rankings, and those published on March 2.
Woods’ lone start before the initial date is expected to be next week’s Farmers Insurance Open. His next anticipated start at the Honda Classic would provide another chance to rise in the rankings immediately before the second and final cutoff.
Should he struggle next week at Torrey Pines, Woods’ world ranking could reach nearly uncharted territory. He bottomed out in the standings during the fall of 2011 at No. 58, and Woods hasn’t been outside the top 60 in the world since Oct. 13, 1996, when he was just 20 years old and ranked No. 61.