Hosted by Tiger Woods, this December tournament is held for the benefit of the Tiger Woods Foundation which makes a significant contribution towards the health and wellbeing of children in the USA.
Making its debut in the year 2000, the event boasts one of the smallest fields of the season, with only around 20 players teeing off each year. There have occasionally been tweaks from year to year, but in general, the field consists of the defending champion from this event, the most recent winners of the four majors, and the top 11 available players from the Official World Rankings – with the remaining places filled by players specially invited by the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Given the restricted entry criteria, the tournament does not carry any FedEx Cup points but is a recognised PGA Tour event. In his pomp, Tiger Woods did well at most golf tournaments, and this was no exception, with one of the greatest players in the game lifting the title four times between 2001 and 2007 and bagging a fifth in 2011. All of those wins came at the California course of Sherwood, but the event moved to beautiful Albany in the Bahamas in 2015.
2022: Viktor Hovland
The 2022 renewal of the Hero World Challenge saw a repeat of the 2021, as Norway’s brilliant Viktor Hovland once again edged out Scottie Scheffler for top honours. One shot ahead of the American 12 months ago, Hovland finished two shots to the good this time around to finish 16 under for the tournament.
Hovland did however wobble home to a degree. Five clear moving into the back nine, a bogey at the 13th, coupled with birdies from Scheffler at the 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th, heaped at least a little pressure onto the 25-year old’s shoulders.
Two clear headed to the 18th, a bogey for Hovland and birdie for a rallying Scheffler would have taken the tournament to an extra hole. Hovland did his part – a skewed 6-iron into the water, leading to a penalty shot and a 20ft putt for bogey, which he duly drained. Luckily for Hovland, Scheffler was having problems of his own, finding the waste bunker with his approach, leaving him needing to hole his sand shot for the birdie. He couldn’t do it, and missing the following putt, also finished with a bogey.
2021: Viktor Hovland
Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa were two of the biggest stars of the college golf scene in America at the same time. Their journey through the ranks together continued when they both turned professional at the 2019 Travelers Championship and they faced each other in singles at the Ryder Cup. Morikawa had the better finish that week and having already won two major championships, he’s had the best time of it in the professional ranks. However, it was Hovland who came out on top in the Bahamas, capitalising on a Morikawa collapse to win by a single shot thanks to a stunning final round.
Morikawa was the story of the first three days. While several players found the relaxed atmosphere of the small field event was not conducive to playing their best golf, Morikawa steadily got better and better. Rounds of 68, 66 and 64 gave Morikawa a very handy five-shot lead over Brooks Koepka, with Hovland a further shot behind. However, his usually unflappable game fell apart in remarkable fashion.
Morikawa’s round of 76 and Koepka’s 74 opened the door for the chasing pack and it was Hovland who sprinted through. The Norwegian started his move with three consecutive birdies on the front nine. A bogey at 12 threatened to derail his challenge but a run of eagle-eagle-birdie from 14 to 16 gave him a big enough lead to win even with back to back bogeys on 17 and 18, not to mention a trophy presentation alongside tournament host Tiger Woods.