Pro Golf Weekly

Primer: Hero World Challenge – TV, Field, Pairings, Odds

Some of golf’s biggest stars will tee it up this week in the Bahamas for the 20th annual Hero World Challenge, hosted by Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods walks with caddie Joe Lacava during the 2017 Hero World Challenge at Albany Course in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo by Ryan Young/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Contested at the Albany in New Providence, Bahamas, the made-for-TV event will offer tremendous scenery and visuals for viewers, as well as a big payday for its competitors.

As the final high profile tournament of the calendar year, the field is limited to 18 top-ranked tour pros, headlined by the host himself.


THE SKINNY

Name: Hero World Challenge
Where: New Providence, Bahamas
Course: Albany
Distance: Par 72, 7400 yards
Architect: Ernie Els
Format: 18 players, no cut, 72 holes, stroke play
Defending: Rickie Fowler
Purse: $3,500,00
Winning Share: $1,000,000
World Ranking Points: 199 field/48 winner (projected)


TV & ONLINE

Thu: 1:30-4:30 pm (GOLF)
Fri: 1:30-4:30 pm (GOLF)
Sat: 12:00-2:30 pm (GOLF); 2:30-5:00 pm (NBC)
Sun: 11:00-1:00 pm (GOLF); 1:00-4:00 pm (NBC)

ONLINE: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website | Wikipedia


HISTORY

The Hero World Challenge has filled the December void in the schedule since 1999 when Tom Lehman shot a final-round 67 at Grayhawk Golf Course to defeat David Duval (No. 2 in the world at the time) by three strokes.

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson tees off during the 2016 Hero World Challenge at Albany Course in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Since its inception, the tournament has been very exclusive: the inaugural event had 12 golfers, and some eighteen years later, it has expanded to just 18.

The field’s exemption list is as follows:
1. Winners of the previous season’s major championships
2. The defending champion
3. The tournament host
4. One sponsor’s exemption
5. The remaining highest-ranked players in the OWGR

The tournament has been played in Arizona, California, and more recently at Albany in the Bahamas.

Past winners have included five-time winner Woods, two-time winners Davis Love III and Graeme McDowell, along with the likes of Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Rickie Fowler.

RECENT CHAMPIONS

2017: Rickie Fowler
2016: Hideki Matsuyama
2015: Bubba Watson
2014: Jordan Spieth
2013: Zach Johnson
2012: Graeme McDowell
2011: Tiger Woods
2010: Graeme McDowell

TOURNAMENT RECORDS

Low Score: 262 (-26) – Jordan Spieth (2014)
Winning Margin: 10 strokes – Jordan Spieth (2014)


DEFENDING CHAMPION

Decked out in his typical ostentatious bright-orange Sunday wardrobe, world No. 9 Fowler began his day with seven-consecutive birdies, taking amazingly little time to close a daunting seven-stroke 54-hole deficit, and shooting an 11-under-par 61 to win the Hero by four strokes over Charley Hoffman, who had been the leader by five with 18 holes to play.

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler tees off during the 2017 Hero World Challenge at Albany Course in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Tiger, who was stories A, B, C, and D coming into the week, had an up-and-down final round 4-under 68 with a hot front nine and a pedestrian back nine that allowed him to finish in a tie for ninth place.

FINAL TOP 5

1 Rickie Fowler -18
2 Charley Hoffman -14
3 Tommy Fleetwood -12
3 Jordan Spieth -12
5 Justin Rose -11
5 Hideki Matusyama -11
5 Patrick Reed -11


THE RESORT

Albany is a luxury golf resort community on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas, which opened October 2010.

The investors behind it are British billionaire Joe Lewis’s private investment company Tavistock Group, alongside golf legends Woods and Ernie Els.

Albany Golf Resort
A general view of the main pool at Albany Golf Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. Credit: Albany Marina and Resort

Albany offers a broad array of amenities, including an Els-designed 18-hole championship golf course, a luxury boutique hotel, a family water park, an adult pool, a spa and fitness center, a children’s clubhouse, a variety of restaurants and bars, and a 71-slip mega-yacht marina.

Albany is named after a historic pink Bahamian colonial mansion called Albany House, which was formerly owned by French film maker Jean Chalopin, the creator of the animated television series Inspector Gadget.

Albany House also served as arch villain Dimitrios’ beachfront home in the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale.

Many top professional golfers are members of Albany, including Els, Woods, Tim Clark, Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter, and Justin Rose.


THE COURSE

Albany’s 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Els, combines the best of links and desert features with firm fairways framed by windswept dunes alongside strategically placed water features.

Albany Marina and Resort
A general view of the Ernie Els designed golf course at Albany in Nassau, Bahamas. Credit: Albany Marina and Resort

The course stretches to 7,400 yards for the pros, but when the winds are calm, the game’s elite can go real low, as was the case in 2014 and 2015, when Jordan Spieth (-26) and Bubba Watson (-25), respectively, sizzled en route to victory. The front nine offers the better scoring opportunities with an extra par-5.

In addition to the par-72, 7,400-yard golf course, Albany features first-class practice facilities including a 400-yard driving range, short game area with chipping and putting greens, and a cutting-edge swing performance center, all set aside an expansive golf clubhouse with grill room, men’s and ladies locker rooms, a golf shop and 18-seat media and movie theater.


THE FIELD

The field for the Hero World Challenge is headlined by host Woods, and features the champions of 23 major titles, including recent winners such as Patrick Reed (2018 Masters), Justin Thomas (2017 PGA Championship), and Dustin Johnson (2016 U.S. Open).

Justin Thomas Hero World Challenge
Justin Thomas tees off during the 2017 Hero World Challenge at Albany Course in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Other top-ranked stars include world Nos. 2, 5, and 8 in Rose, Bryson DeChambeau, and Jon Rahm, respectively.

PAIRINGS & TEE TIMES

11:10 am Tony Finau, Gary Woodland
11:21 am Keegan Bradley, Hideki Matsuyama
11:32 am Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele
11:43 am Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson
11:54 am Jon Rahm, Alex Noren
12:05 pm Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods
12:16 pm Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson
12:27 pm Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson
12:38 pm Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau

ODDS & WORLD RANK

Book Rank-Player-Odds-World Rank
1. Justin Rose (7-1) (2)
2. Dustin Johnson (8-1) (3)
3. Justin Thomas (9-1) (4)
3. Rickie Fowler (9-1) (9)
3. Tiger Woods (9-1) (13)
6. Bryson DeChambeau (10-1) (5)
7. Jon Rahm (12-1) (8)
8. Jason Day (16-1) (11)
8. Tony Finau (16-1) (14)
10. Patrick Reed (18-1) (15)
10. Xander Schauffele (18-1) (13)
12. Patrick Cantlay (20-1) (20)
13. Hideki Matsuyama (22-1) (25)
14. Alex Noren (25-1) (18)
14. Bubba Watson (25-1) (17)
14. Henrik Stenson (25-1) (28)
17. Gary Woodland (28-1) (32)
18. Keegan Bradley (33-1) (29)


Credits: Getty Images


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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Up Next On Tour

DATES 11/29-12/2, 2018
TOUR PGA
EVENT Hero World Challenge
COURSE Albany
LOCALE New Providence, Bahamas
TV GOLF
PURSE $3,500,00
WIN SHARE $1,000.000
OWGR PTS 48
DEFENDING Rickie Fowler
-----------------
TOUR EUROPEAN
EVENT Australian PGA Championship
COURSE RACV Royal Pines Resort
LOCALE Gold Coast, Queensland, AUS
TV GOLF
PURSE $2,000,000
WIN SHARE $191,660
OWGR PTS 20
DEFENDING Cameron Smith

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