Betting Tips for 2nd to 5th December 2021
It might only be a small field compared to almost all professional golf tournaments, but what the Hero World Challenge lacks in numbers it sure makes up for in quality. With the likes of Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka among the line-up, it’s going to take a mighty fine performance to finish at the top of the pile.
With no tournament in 2020 (one of many that had to be cancelled or rescheduled), the last winner of the Hero was Henrik Stenson back in 2019. He’s here this time to defend his crown, but he’s the rank outsider in a field that oozes class after missing the cut far too many times in the last few months. He had a purple patch back in August, but has been pretty poor since.
None of the previous four winners of the tournament is present this time around, but Spieth won it in 2014 by a fine margin of 10 strokes (ahead of Stenson) and he’ll fancy his chances this time around after putting in some fine performances earlier in 2021, most notably his second-place finish at The Open at Royal St George’s back in July. Spieth is available at odds of 14/1, which offers some value in our eyes.
Rory McIlroy is vying for favouritism with Collin Morikawa at the time of writing with both hovering around the 8/1 mark. McIlroy performed well at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and posted a fine score of -12 despite only managing a final round score of 74. Morikawa, meanwhile, had a very fine October, finishing second in the CJ Cup (with a brilliant score of -24) and seventh in the ZOZO Championship. He’s clearly playing well and we get the impression the well-balanced Albany course will suit him, so we think Morikawa is the man to beat here.
There are a couple of possible outsiders who could put themselves in positions to challenge for the victory here. Justin Rose is one such player. Available at odds of 25/1, he could be worth an each way bet after top-10 finishes in the PGA Championship and the Masters in 2021. He tends to blow a little hot and cold, but he was third at the Hero back in 2019 and he could well raise his game to get himself in the mix this time around.
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.