There are few things about Tiger Woods’s 2018 season that can’t be called “unbelievable.” Capturing his 80th win at the Tour Championship certainly fits among them. But one could argue Tiger’s unlikely charge up the Official World Golf Ranking is more impressive.
With his win at East Lake, Woods moved from No. 21 to No. 13. To see just how incredible that number is, you need only look at which players sit below the 14-time major champion.
Masters champion Patrick Reed is two spots behind Tiger at 15. Rising star Tony Finau, who earned 11 top 10s in 2018, is at No. 17. Phil Mickelson? 25th.
The distance the 42-year-old veteran leaped also shows the magnitude of his feat.
After his first comeback appearance at his own Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Woods sat in 668th place in the OWGR. His T2 finish at the Valspar earned him enough points to move to 149th. He finally re-entered the top 50 (and thereby earned a spot in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach) with his near-win at Carnoustie in July.
Woods famously holds the all-time record for most weeks at No. 1. By a mile. Woods has spent a cumulative total of 683 weeks in the top spot, including a record 281 consecutive weeks from 2005-10. Greg Norman comes in second on the list with 331 weeks as No. 1.
One more strong finish could see Tiger rise into the top 10 once again. So it’s not crazy to think that at some point next year we will be seriously discussing his chances to claim the top ranking once again.