The Hero World Challenge is, rather dismissively, known as a ‘holiday tournament’. Played at a resort course and with a limited field of just 18 players, there’s no question that it has a much more relaxed atmosphere than regular PGA Tour events. However, it is also an incredibly popular tournament. The field may be small but it is incredibly high class and there is a certain 14-time major champion included taking part this week.
Tiger Woods tried to make his return after two bouts of back surgery a couple of months ago but he pulled out of the Safeway Open claiming that his game was just not in a good enough state for him to be competitive. This time around, he’s happier with the way he’s hitting the ball but will have to overcome some serious nerves at the tournament which his charitable foundation is hosting. He’s also going to have to overcome a host of other major champions if he has any realistic hopes of winning. Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson are just three of the big names who’ve made the trip to the Bahamas and the Albany Golf Course.
Albany only opened in 2010 but the Ernie Els design has already proven to be very popular with holiday goers and world class golfers alike. Adam Scott and Justin Rose are members and it made an impressive professional debut by hosting the 2015 Hero World Challenge. The par 72 layout is rather unusual given it’s got five par fives and five par threes. At 7,400 yards it is not overly long by PGA Tour standards but scoring at Albany depends largely on the weather. When it’s nice and calm the course yields plenty of birdies but when the wind whips up the links style course is very difficult.
Spieth Can Continue His Revival
It is testament to Jordan Spieth’s ability that he managed two wins on the PGA Tour last season despite a real drop in form. The two-time major champion struggled badly with his swing at times but he is the sort of golfer who regularly makes the most of bad rounds. That’s largely down to his shot making ability, his wonderful putting and world class short game. All of those attributes will help him in the Bahamas as will the confidence gained from winning the Australian Open a fortnight ago. At 13/2 with Ladbrokes, Spieth is sure to go close.
Local Knowledge to Help Rose’s Return
Justin Rose may not have been out of the game for as long as Tiger Woods but it is good to see the Olympic champion return after suffering with back problems for the majority of the last year. It is no coincidence that Rose is making his comeback at Albany given his close ties with the course and the fact that he lives locally. He never really got going in last year’s Hero World Challenge but he’ll be very keen to prove that he is fit and healthy and he’s put in a lot of work on his game of late. He knows this course as well as anybody and therefore looks each way value at odds of 22/1 with BetVictor.