The Hero World Challenge is a real one off. The invitational tournament is sanctioned by the PGA Tour but is not taken into account for the FedEx Cup (world ranking points are awarded). The limited field event has a very healthy prize fund but it is run for the benefit of the Tiger Wood Foundation. In truth, nobody really cares who wins and yet it’s one of the most talked about tournaments of the year.
The reason that so many people are talking about the Hero World Challenge boils down to just one story – the return of Tiger Woods from injury. Even if you’re starting to lose count of the number of returns Tiger has made, this one is being sold as more convincing than the others. For once, it is said, Tiger is able to walk without pain. A report from his recent round with Dustin Johnson and Donald Trump suggested that Tiger was keeping up with Johnson for distance and that his short game woes had vanished. Whether Woods’ mind, body and technique will hold up when he’s got a scorecard in his pocket remains to be seen but you can be sure it will draw a huge audience.
Quality Field to Go Low Again
The Hero World Challenge is far from the most important tournament of the year but it has to be said that the calibre of the field is stunning. Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, they’re all competing at Albany in the Bahamas this week. Although Albany is a proper course designed by Ernie Els, the quality of those who get an invite to the Hero World Challenge have found scoring incredibly easy. Hideki Matsuyama’s winning score of -18 is the worst in three years as the field chew up this par 72 measuring around 7,300 yards.
Home Comforts to Give Rose the Edge
The Bahamas is not a part of the world lacking comfortable accommodation for millionaires but Justin Rose will feel more at home than anybody else competing in the Hero World Challenge. The Englishman has had a residence in Albany for years and this is one of the few events during which he can sleep in his own bed.
Rose is a major champion who has won tournaments all over the world. He’s also in some of the form of his life and only narrowly missed out on what would have been a wonderful Race to Dubai win. With his game in tip top shape, Rose should be able to get the job done on a course he knows incredibly well at 10/1 with Bet365.
Koepka at Ease Among the Game’s Elite
For players like Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren, being given an invitation to play in Tiger’s event is recognition that they’ve made it into golf’s elite. They’ll still feel a little wary rubbing shoulders with their famous competitors but that’s not going to be a problem for Brooks Koepka.
Koepka worked his way up the ranks of the Challenge Tour and European Tour before returning to America. Now a major champion, he still enjoys globetrotting, as evidenced by his recent storming win on the Japan Tour. He can once again prove his class by winning in Albany at 9/1 with BetVictor.