No longer needing exemption, Tiger Woods headlines Hero World Challenge field

Tiger Woods has needed a special exemption to play his own Hero World Challenge in each of the past two years. That won’t be the case this year.

Woods, ranked 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking after a resurgent season on the PGA Tour, is among the first 16 players announced for the 18-player field for the Nov. 29-Dec. 2 event at Albany in the Bahamas. He will be joined by four of the top five players in the world – No. 1 Justin Rose, No. 3 Dustin Johnson, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 5 Bryson DeChambeau.

Two special exemptions will be handed out later, filling out the field.

The Hero World Challenge is an invitation-only event hosted by Woods. It has been contested each year since 2000, when it was played both in January and December. It isn’t an official PGA Tour event, but it does award world-ranking points.

Typically, its field includes the current major winners, the defending champion and two special invites. The rest of the field is filled via the world rankings.

No. 2 Brooks Koepka, No. 6 Rory McIlroy and No. 7 Francesco Molinari are the only top-10 players not currently in the field. Obviously, Koepka and Molinari accounted for three of the four majors this past season, so the field featured 14 invites based on world ranking to join Masters champ Patrick Reed and defending champ Rickie Fowler.

Here is a look at the current field for 2018 (world rank in parentheses):

Justin Rose (1)
Dustin Johnson (3)
Justin Thomas (4)
Bryson DeChambeau (5)
Jon Rahm (8)
Rickie Fowler (9)
Tommy Fleetwood (10)
Jason Day (11)
Xander Schauffele (12)
Tiger Woods (13)
Tony Finau (15)
Bubba Watson (16)
Patrick Reed (17)
Webb Simpson (20)
Alex Noren (21)
Hideki Matsuyama (23)

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