Hero World Challenge

Not played in 2020, due to the pandemic, the Hero World Challenge event returns this week to the end-of-year schedule with a number of well-known names in attendance. Among these is the defending champion, Henrik Stenson, who lifted the trophy in 2019… however, due to indifferent form during the intervening period, the Swede returns this year as the $65 outsider of the field!

But it should be a good tournament, with some top talent off the PGA Tour making the short trip offshore to this exotic holiday destination. Here’s a preview of the action from the Golf Insider

Hero World Challenge: The Tournament 

Started in 1999, the World Challenge is an end-of-year contest for a select field of the world’s top players (previously 18 went to post, now we have 20 golfers in the line-up). It has tended to plug a gap in the regular PGA Tour schedule, and filled the void for sponsors and TV stations alike. And while this isn’t an official tournament, in terms of ranking points, it’s still a useful way for those golfers in the field to significantly upgrade their bank balance.

Hero World Challenge: The Course

After initially moving from California to Florida, the current venue for the World Challenge is the Albany course, located at New Providence in the Bahamas. Designed by Ernie Els, it’s a par 72 laid out over 7,302 yards. Opened in 2010, it has hosted this tournament since 2015 and, according to the architect himself, it’s a well-bunkered, links-style course… although with an unusual five pars 5s (standard for an 18-hole course is 3 or 4) there’s the opportunity to score well.

72 hole record: 262, Jordan Spieth (2014).

18 hole record: 61, Justin Rose (2017).

Hero World Challenge: Past winners

2019: Henrik Stenson
2018: Jon Rahm
2017: Rickie Fowler
2016: Hideki Matsuyama

Hero World Challenge: The Field

Just 20 players in the Bahamas this week, with Colin Morikawa the $8 market leader with TopSport.

Hero World Challenge: The Weather

A predominantly dry week is expected with a daily precipitation forecast of 10%-10%-20%-30% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will be in the low-80s, with partial cloud cover all week. Maximum wind speeds will range between 10-12mph over the four days.

Hero World Challenge: The Bets
Tony Finau – currently $17 with TopSport

If we’ve learned anything about watching, and backing, Finau over the past few years it’s that he’s a terribly hard golfer to catch right. Just two career wins is a poor return for a player with 47 Top 10’s from 194 starts, although he has been a runner-up on no less than eight occasions – I know the feeling! But he has played here twice before, with his best finish being one of those 2nd places back in 2018. There’s a good few players turning up this week not in the best of form, or tournament-ready, and with generous terms on offer from the layers, Finau is worth an interest on a course that’s proven to suit.

Sam Burns – currently $17 with TopSport

Burns has been one of the most improved players of the year on the PGA Tour, and his form prior to this week reads super impressive with finishes of 7-5-14-1-17-8-21-2. He’s been playing some exceptional stuff through the Summer and into “the Fall” with all parts of his game, especially his putter, on fire. Burns is long enough off the tee to compete this week, and if he can get his irons right, then his usually reliable short game can see him get into the mix. With only 20 players in the field, and no halfway cut, Burns is the final player to make this week’s staking plan.

The Golf Insider is a GUN. Look at these winners, all since the start of 2020...

Martin Laird $201, Rasmus Hojgaard $151, Mark Hubbard $126, Marc Warren $101, Sam Burns $67, Tyrell Hatton $51, Peter Malnati $46, John Catlin $46, Talor Gooch $41, Harold Varner $36, Harris English $34, Robert Macintyre $31, Adri Arnaus $26, Connor Syme $26, Scott Jamieson $24, JB Holmes $21, Seamus Power $21, Dustin Johnson $21

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