By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer
The end of next week is the deadline to fill the 20-man field for the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, and host Tiger Woods will be leaning on the world ranking.
The field is for the defending champion (Viktor Hovland) and the winners of the four majors and The Players Championship. Cameron Smith won the British Open and The Players but won’t be eligible because he plays for LIV Golf now.
There are three exemptions, one for the tournament host if he needs it (he does). The rest come off the world ranking that was published after the Tour Championship.
Even though the Hero World Challenge is an unofficial event, it’s sanctioned by the PGA Tour and players who have violated its regulations by signing with the Saudi-backed league are not eligible.
Except for Smith, the next 13 players in the world ranking are not part of LIV Golf and would be eligible if they choose to play. LIV Golf would be quick to seize on the fact that world ranking points are offered to a 20-man field.
As for the QBE Shootout hosted by LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, that’s still on the schedule and under the same set of guidelines. That means Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na, both LIV players, will not be defending their team title.