Tiger’s World Challenge + Nedbank = Silly Season
by Jeff Skinner
Usually December isn’t considered a true golfing month but as we say, “Ya gotta get it while you can.” During early December in the Northeast United States golf is only played by those few dedicated and mentally deficient fanatics. I was one of those knuckleheads who braved forty degree temps yesterday and snuck in another eighteen holes before snow truly ends our season. It isn’t normal golf. Gloves and two or three layers make it challenging as do frozen greens and frosty fairways. But we play…call it our silly season.
And this week marks the pinnacle of the silly season in the professional ranks. Tiger Woods is hosting 17 of his pals at the Northwest Mutual World Challenge and plenty of the world’s best are in South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge. These are the two premier events in what is aptly called the silly season.
November and December traditionally are places for pros to pad their bank accounts with some easy cash but with the new “wrap-around season” on the PGA Tour the silly season opportunities have diminished.
Now, let’s not include those three events down under where Adam Scott was seen parading around in his Masters Green Jacket. The Australian PGA, Masters and Open are all full field, preeminent events on the Australian golf tour. So those that want to include them in the list of “Silly Season” need to rethink their classification.
But now to my point or my rant actually: How do these events get to award world ranking points? The winner of Tiger’s World Challenge will win a million bucks and 44 World Ranking Points. Not a bad payday for beating only seventeen golfers, half of whom haven’t played a competitive round in two months. The winner in South Africa will get 38 World Ranking points along with 1.25 million for topping 29 of his fellow professionals.
For my money, awarding World Ranking Points to winners of such limited, such selective fields is ridiculous. It’s a bit of the “rich getting richer” and taints the Official World Golf Rankings.
Awarding points to so limited fields is counterproductive to identifying the world’s top golfer. I have no issue with Tiger and his buddies or Ernie Els and the Euros at The Nedbank pocketing some cash, heck I’ll be one of the fools glued to the screen watching, but World Ranking Points have no place in these events. It is awarding World Ranking Points in these events that truly puts the silly in the silly season.