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Top players taking advantage of star-studded fields

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – This is a week when the rich get richer – and that isn’t solely about prize money.

Tiger Woods’ tournament, known this year for the first time as the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, first started awarding Official World Golf Ranking points to its 18-man field back in 2009. That year, Graeme McDowell famously used a second-place result to launch himself into the world’s top-50, gaining entrance into the next U.S. Open, which he won, concluding an impressive domino effect.

None of the competitors in this week’s field will need such a boost.

That’s because every player here is already ranked inside the top-30, meaning the world ranking points will only help to further separate the elite from the game’s next tier. The list includes No. 1-ranked Woods, of course, plus Rory McIlroy (6), Matt Kuchar (7), Steve Stricker (8) and Jason Day (10).

Toss in a similarly star-studded field at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and 22 of the game’s top 25 will be in action this week, with only Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson and the injured Brandt Snedeker taking off.

Consider it the ultimate rich-get-richer scenario. And most of the game’s biggest names are taking advantage.