With the 2022-23 season officially behind us, the PGA Tour has a few remaining tournaments before the kickoff of the 2024 season.
With that, comes the Hero World Challenge.
The Hero World Challenge is a limited invitation only event that yields a high-class field consisting of just 20 players.
Of those included in this week’s star-studded field is none other than tournament host, Tiger Woods.
This event was first staged at Greyhawk Golf Club in 1999. From there, it moved to the Sherwood Country Club in California in 2000 where it was staged for 14 years.
From there, the event moved to the Isleworth Golf and Country Club in 2014.
Now, Albany in the Bahamas has played host to this event since 2015. It has been held there ever since.
As previously mentioned, the 82-time PGA Tour winner Tiger Woods will be teeing it up this week as the tournament host.
This will be the first time since the 2023 Masters seven months ago that Woods will be playing. In that event he made the cut but withdrew during the third round due to plantar fasciitis.
Viktor Hovland comes into this week as the two-time defending champion of this event as he looks to make it three-straight. This will be the first time playing on the PGA Tour since his dramatic triumph at the PGA TOUR Championship a few months ago.
Will Zalatoris will be returning to the PGA Tour for the first time since back surgery to correct a herniated disk. Zalatoris played seven times last season before withdrawing from the Masters.
To round out this field, current World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler will also be playing this week. This will be his first form of competitive golf since the Ryder Cup.
The others in this limited 20 man field include Max Homa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Sam Burns, Sepp Straka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Lucas Glover.
Albany in New Providence, Bahamas will be this week’s host for the eighth consecutive year - excluding the 2020 edition lost to the pandemic.
It plays as a Par 72 at 7,414 yards.
It is an Ernie Els design that was opened in 2010. It was used for the first time for a professional tournament in 2015 when it first hosted this very event.
Albany offers a unique mix of five par-fives, five par-threes and eight par-fours.
Three of the par-fives measure over 590 yards and four of the par-fours play over 470 yards. In other words, there’s plenty of length on this course that will put an added emphasis on long-iron play.
This course is best described as an exposed flat links-style course with dunes up to 30-feet tall.
The greens this week are fairly small in terms of PGA Tour average and consist of Bermuda grass.
Albany is also heavily bunkered with a multitude of natural waste areas lining the fairways. Although this course offers plenty of length, there is a need for accuracy off the tee as well.
As a resort course in The Bahamas, coastal winds will play a factor this week.
Although the coastal winds will be present, scoring has been consistent at this event. Over the last five editions, the winning score has fallen around -18 with the field median sitting at -10.
As of the time of writing this, the weather forecast looks ideal for this week. Currently, both Thursday and Sunday call for just a ten-percent of precipitation as Friday and Saturday call for a 20-percent chance. Temperatures will range from 79-to-82 degrees across all four days. Winds are set to range from 11 miles-per-hour to 15 miles-per-hour this week as well. In all, an ideal four days for some golf.
Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)
Birdie or Better Percentage
Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda (SG: PUTT Bermuda)
Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)
Par 5 Average Scoring
Par 3 Average Scoring
Collin Morikawa (+750)
My overall favorite this week per my model and value is the red hot Collin Morikawa. The last time we saw Morikawa was at the ZOZO Championship where he won by six strokes, after shooting an impressive seven-under on Sunday to take the title. Prior to that was part of Team USA at the Ryder cup and placed T6th at the PGA TOUR Championship. He is currently second on Tour in SG: APP, sixth in par three average scoring, seventh in both GIR% and par five average scoring, 17th in birdie or better percentage, 28th in total driving and 94th in scrambling. His downfall does come on the greens as he ranks 169th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. However, Morikawa is one of those guys who if he can get to even on the greens, he has a shot to win this whole thing. I’m playing three units on Morikawa this week.
Rickie Fowler (+2200)
Fowler comes into this week seventh on Tour in SG: APP, eighth in par three average scoring, 21st in birdie or better percentage, 23rd in par five average scoring, 36th in total driving, 64th in scrambling, 71st in GIR% and 113th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. Fowler last played at the ZOZO Championship where he did not have a good showing by any means, placing T64th. I don’t love the value at 22/1 we’re getting this week, but in such a limited field, there could be much worse. I’m playing a unit on Fowler this week.
Wyndham Clark (+2200)
Clark hasn’t played on the PGA Tour since the TOUR Championship where he finished third. He did take part in the Ryder Cup and made an appearance on the DP World Tour at the Andalucia Masters. He is currently eighth on Tour in par five average scoring, 22nd in birdie or better percentage, 29th in SG: APP, 45th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 51st in scrambling, 55th in total driving, 81st in GIR% and 99th in par three average scoring. I’m playing a unit on Clark this week.