Tiger Woods may not be playing golf for a while after having surgery on his back to try and allow him to reach the top of the game again but he will be around to play host here at the Hero World Challenge. Tiger’s charitable foundation has benefitted enormously from this event and once again there will be much money raised for charity as the tournament leaves the U.S. shores and heads for the Bahamas.
The elite 18 players who have received an invitation for the 2015 renewal of this well respected tournament will be the first to take part in a professional event at the Ernie Els-designed Albany Course in New Province. It is a links style course which measures 7,400 yards. Not only will the wind have an impact on scoring this week but the players will be sure to try and avoid the bunkers that both litter the fairways and guard the greens. Unusually for a par 72 layout there are five par fives, which some of the longer hitters in the field will look to exploit, but without any previous stats to go on we have to base our betting on players with previous links form and an ability to control their ball flight.
One of the best exponents of links golf in the world is the second favourite to win here this week. Dustin Johnson is known for his incredible power and towering ball flight but he is able to work the ball both ways and keep it down and out of the wind. DJ will probably be a bit disappointed with the way that last season turned out after he got off to a very good start winning the WGC event at Doral but there were plenty of positives for him to take into the New Year. Only Jordan Spieth is available at shorter odds but as this is a links course Johnson is the short odds man to back at 7/1 with Bet365. If Johnson can get after those par fives then he could blow away the field, especially if the wind isn’t too strong.
Adam Scott is one of the few players of the 18 to have any experience on the Albany Course. Scott has a property nearby and given his love of links golf he has made sure to pay the relatively new course a visit. The Australian has played some brilliant golf in blustery conditions and is in good form, coming off the back of a runner-up finish at the Australian Open last week. He’s got all the tools needed to win the Hero World Challenge and is a great price at 16/1 with BetVictor.
Jimmy Walker is another player who has good form lines at windy courses. He’s twice won the Sony Open in Hawaii and grew up playing golf in the blustery conditions of Oklahoma. Walker generally likes to play his golf with a nice, controlled draw but he is capable of hitting almost any shot necessary. Despite this he’s right down towards the bottom of the betting this week. Walker is a very big 50/1 with Betfred who are paying out four places for each way bets.