The latest comeback of 14-time Major-winner Tiger Woods will again capture many of the headlines at this week’s Hero World Challenge, and no doubt the galleries and members of the press will follow his every move regardless of whether that comeback is a huge success or abject failure.
Hopefully, if it’s abject failure, the presence of Woods won’t overshadow the new stars of the golfing world, as the likes of Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth do battle in the Bahamas. However, with reports of Woods outdriving Dustin Johnson, don’t be surprised if Woods contends at some point.
It will be the third consecutive year that the par 7,400 yards Albany Course, designed by Ernie Els, has staged the event, with the first two winners being Bubba Watson (-25) and Hideki Matsuyama (-18). It’s a fun links-style venue, with players having the chance to build a score on five par-5s, whilst it also features five par-3s and eight par-4s.
2017 Hero World Challenge Betting Guide
Justin Thomas 6/1, Dustin Johnson 6/1, Jordan Spieth 13/2, Rickie Fowler 9/1, Brooks Koepka 10/1, Justin Rose 10/1, Hideki Matsuyama 12/1, Henrik Stenson 18/1, Patrick Reed 20/1, Daniel Berger 25/1, Kevin Kisner 28/1, Matt Kuchar 28/1, Tommy Fleetwood 28/1, Francesco Molinari 33/1, Charley Hoffman 35/1, Alexander Noren 40/1, Kevin Chappell 40/1, Tiger Woods 50/1
It’s always hard to know which players will arrive in the Bahamas raring to get another win on the board, and who will see this as a nice way to relax with their friends.
Justin Thomas certainly has nothing to prove after notching his first major and winning last season’s Fedex Cup, and he may come on for the outing after six-weeks off. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson may not improve on last year’s fourth if he still has scars after blowing a huge lead in China, whilst Jordan Spieth has also looked below his best in Australia recently.
One player who continues to dine just below the top-table is Rickie Fowler and, though a first major will be very much on his agenda this season, he’s shown by finishing third in the last two renewals that he enjoys this test – and I fancy he’ll go close again this week.
Meanwhile, Brooks Koepka hasn’t hit the places in two previous visits, whilst neither has the inform Justin Rose, though Hideki Matsuyama finished last on his first appearance here before winning last season. He came here at the top of his form then though, and it remains to be seen whether he’s in that sort of form as he bids to defend his title. Last year’s runner-up Henrik Stenson also doesn’t look quite at his best, so I’m going to take a chance on Patrick Reed. Another American who watched some of his fellow countrymen surpass him last season, he showed his game is close to his best when taking the lead in Dubai recently.