Tiger closer to Steph Curry than D.J. in world rankings

When Tiger Woods tees off at the Hero World Challenge on Thursday, he will be far closer to NBA star Steph Curry in the world golf rankings than No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods, who has not played a competitive round of golf since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic in February, has fallen to No. 1,199 in the world. That is only 729 places ahead of Curry, who is ranked No. 1,928 after playing in his first professional tournament earlier this year.

Woods is 1,189 spots behind Rory McIlroy (No. 10) and 1,164 spots behind long-time rival Phil Mickelson (35).

Woods, 41, is a 14-time major champion but has not won a PGA Tour event since 2013. He has undergone four procedures on his back, including fusion surgery in April. Woods said on Tuesday that he feels better than he has in years, and friends and Tour players have said that he looks much stronger on the golf course than he did in making a previous comeback at this event last year.

The Hero World Challenge is an 18-player event reserved for players ranked in the top 50, but Woods received an exemption as the host of the tournament that benefits his foundation.

While it is an unofficial PGA Tour event, the Hero World Challenge has no cut and Woods will jump more than 250 spots in the world rankings just by completing four rounds, according to The Daily Mail. If He finishes in 10th place, he would rise into the top 700, while a victory would catapult him into the top 150.

Curry, a league MVP and two-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors, missed the cut in his professional debut at the Ellie Mae Classic on the Web.com Tour in August. He is a two handicap, and the 29-year-old has been as low as a scratch golfer.