While this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas is not an official PGA Tour event, it's certainly the biggest golf tournament since the Ryder Cup because Tiger Woods will return to action for the first time since withdrawing from the Masters in April. With all that rust and longstanding concerns about his health, it's not a shock that Woods is priced +8000 to win his own tournament at DraftKings, the longest odds in the field. There is no cut in the 20-man field.
Woods is the host of the Hero World Challenge, which benefits his foundation. He planned to play last year but withdrew the Monday before the tournament, a decision made after a string of physical issues. Now that we are at Tuesday, he should be good to tee it up Thursday morning at 11:52 a.m. alongside Justin Thomas at Albany Golf Course, a par-72 at 7,450 yards. It's a links-style design by Ernie Els with windswept dunes measuring up to 30 feet and challenging water features.
Woods has won the event a record five times (most recently in 2011) but not since it moved to Albany in 2015. On Tuesday at a press conference, Woods said the intense pain in his right ankle and foot are gone after he had fusion surgery less than eight months ago. The procedure addressed arthritis he developed after a car wreck in February 2021 and hinted he might be able to play much more next year. Woods said he decided to play this week after caddying for his son, Charlie, at a junior tournament earlier this month, walking and carrying his bag for 54 holes. He'll be walking 72 this weekend.
"My game feels rusty; I haven't played in a while," Woods said. "I had my subtalar fused. I'm excited to compete and play, and I'm just as curious as all of you are to see what happens because I haven't done it in a while. I can tell you this: I don't have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre-that in my ankle. Well, other parts are taking the brunt of the load, so I'm a little more sore in other areas, but the ankle's good. So that surgery was a success."
Woods and Sam Snead are tied with 82 career PGA Tour wins, but, again, this would not count toward that total if Woods were to somehow shock the world. Players can earn world golf rankings this week (and obviously money.
The only tournament Woods finished this year was the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles in February (which also benefits his foundation), where he was T45. He shot rounds of 74-73 at the Masters before withdrawing in the third round, citing plantar fasciitis that had flared up on a rainy Saturday. His last Hero World Challenge outing was a fourth-place finish in 2019.
Tiger Woods Hero World Challenge Props
- Over/Under finishing position: 13.5 (Over -155 favorite)
- To finish as top American: +3500 (longest odds)
- For top-five finish: +900 (longest odds)
- For top-10 finish: +260 (longest odds)
- To lead after Round 1: +3500 (longest odds)
- Over/Under Round 1 score of 72.5: Over -145 favorite
- To make hole-in-one all tournament: +8000
- To lead/co-lead after any round: -3000 No, +1200 Yes
- First-hole score Thursday: Par -175 favorite
- Tournament matchup vs. Justin Thomas: Woods +185, Thomas -250
Sweden's Viktor Hovland, who has had a fabulous year with three wins, including the Tour Championship and FedExCup, is the +400 tournament favorite as he looks for a third straight win in the Bahamas. He shot 16-under 272 last year to beat out Scottie Scheffler by two and shot 18-under 270 in 2021 to beat out Scheffler, who is +450 to win, by one.
Hovland hasn't played on the PGA Tour since the Tour Championship but has played twice on the DP World Tour this fall, finishing T5 at the BMW PGA Championship and T2 at the DP World Tour Championship. Scheffler, still ranked No. 1 in the world, will play for the first time since the Ryder Cup.
Even though these fields are largely American – 16 of 20 this year – a non-American has won it four years in a row. That a USA player wins this week is -275 with No at +215. Tournament exemptions were granted to Justin Rose and Lucas Glover to round out the 20-player field. Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay were originally expected to play but withdrew.
Hero World Challenge Thursday tee times (Eastern)
- 10:46 a.m. – Brian Harman, Lucas Glover
- 10:57 a.m. – Cameron Young, Sepp Straka
- 11:08 a.m. – Tony Finau, Wyndham Clark
- 11:19 a.m. – Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler
- 11:30 a.m. – Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose
- 11:41 a.m. – Sam Burns, Scottie Scheffler
- 11:52 a.m. – Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas
- 12:03 p.m. – Jason Day, Collin Morikawa
- 12:14 p.m. – Will Zalatoris, Jordan Spieth
- 12:25 p.m. – Max Homa, Viktor Hovland
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