The Hero World Challenge has moved around a bit since the inaugural event in 1999, but returns this year to the Albany Course, New Province, Bahamas that hosted the 2015 renewal.
This invitational is limited to just 18-players, but it’s already been making major headlines this week as Tiger Woods is set to make his first appearance since August, though the former World Number-1 is now amazingly ranked 898th in the world.
This week’s course measures around 7,400 yards, and players and fans will be looking forward to plenty of eagles and birdies on the five par-5s, and there’s also five par-3s. It has a links-feel to it with high sand-dunes, and its designer Ernie Els has gone on record as saying he had both The Els Course in Dubai and Royal Birkdale in mind when creating it, whilst the bunkers have a similar look to another of the South African’s favourite courses, Royal Melbourne.
Last year’s contest was won by Bubba Watson, who shot an incredible 25 under-par in benign conditions, but the weather is forecast to be much windier this time around.
Hero World Challenge Betting
Dustin Johnson 11/2, Jordan Spieth 13/2, Hideki Matsuyama 8/1, Brooks Koepka 10/1, Henrik Stenson 10/1, Patrick Reed 14/1, Rickie Fowler 16/1, Bubba Watson 16/1, Justin Rose 22/1, Russel Knox 25/1, Emiliano Grillo 28/1, Matt Kuchar 28/1, Louis Oosthuizen 33/1, Brandt Snedeker 33/1, Jimmy Walker 35/1, Tiger Woods 45/1, Zach Johnson 45/1.
It’s hard to know which players will be up for this week’s challenge, and which players may be using the Bahamas venue as a luxury holiday. Dustin Johnson often goes missing in this type of location, as he did last year, whilst Henrik Stenson surely won’t be at the top of his game after securing another Race To Dubai Title. Meanwhile, Matsuyama is in the form of his life, but played poorly here last year.
Jordan Spieth looks set for another prosperous year after winning in Australia and, the last time he achieved that he smashed the opposition in this by 10-shots. That was at a different venue, but he also finished fourth here last year, and looks likely to go close if you fancy taking 13/2. Other players who showed-up well last year include Brooks Kopeka (-18) Reed (-22), Fowler (-21) and Holmes (-17) and it’s the latter two who catch the eye at the prices. Both started slowly last year, but improved throughout the week, with Fowler shooting 70, 68, 65, 64, and Holmes shooting 71, 68, 68, 64. Both players have also shown that they can handle windy conditions, and they look the value bets this week.
Hero World Challenge Tips
Rickie Fowler Each-Way @ 16/1 (Various Bookies) ¼ odds 4 Places
JB Holmes Each-Way @ 35/1 (Bet365) ¼ odds 4 Places