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Tiger Woods is part of an elite 20-man field
This is not part of the FedEx Cup schedule but World Ranking points are on offer
Norway’s Viktor Hovland, the double defending champion, is favorite at +400
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Tiger Woods was always going to be a central figure at this week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas due to his role as tournament host.
But the exciting news for golf fans, indeed every sports fan, is that the great man is teeing it up too.
Woods has played just five tournaments since his 2021 car accident and in only two of those did he manage 72 holes.
Expectations need to be tempered this week and the idea of Tiger scoring a sixth win in the event that started in 2000 seems fanciful.
To give that some betting context, there are just 20 players taking part this week and Woods is dead last on the odds sheet at +6600.
At the other end of the betting sits Viktor Hovland, who is chasing a three-peat after lifting this trophy in both 2021 and 2022.
Albany Golf Course plays host for the eighth time. The 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic.
|Year||Champion and winning score|
|2022||Viktor Hovland (Norway) -16|
|2021||Viktor Hovland (Norway) -18|
|2019||Henrik Stenson (Sweden) -18|
|2018||Jon Rahm (Spain) -20|
|2017||Rickie Fowler (United States) -18|
Albany Golf Club is an Ernie Els design and opened in 2010
The seaside layout is a par 72 which can be stretched to 7,449 yards
Unusually, the course features five par 3s and five par 5s
The greens are Bermuda and are set to run at 12 on the Stimpmeter
Winds look fairly standard with nothing much north of 15mph
The Norwegian is a cool 34-under for the last two years here, those numbers helping him to a two-shot victory 12 months ago and a one-stroke success in 2021. Seven of his eight rounds were in the 60s. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also been in stunning form since late summer, winning the final two FedExCup playoff events and finishing runner-up at the DP World Tour Championship two weeks ago.
Scheffler remains the World No.1 but he’s had to play second fiddle to Hovland in this event, finishing runner-up in the last two editions. Modest starts have cost him each time. While his course form is rock solid, there’s a lack of current form. The Dallas resident hasn’t played since the Ryder Cup and his last strokeplay event was a 21st out of 30 at August’s Tour Championship.
Hovland won by two in 2021 but the added detail is that it was the one that got away for Morikawa. The double Major winner was five clear heading into the final round but stumbled to a closing 76 and finished fifth. He added a sixth on his return last year. Morikawa showed he hasn’t forgotten how to close out tournaments by firing a brilliant Sunday 63 to win last month’s ZOZO Championship in Japan.
Hovland could be hard to beat as he goes in search of a third straight win here but it’s worth noting that not ever Tiger managed to pull off a three-peat in his own event.
Max Homa deserves respect too following his recent win in the DP World Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge but the one that jumps out is Morikawa.
As mentioned, he has a score to settle with this event after his final-round collapse in 2021.
But the vibes in Morikawa’s head must surely be positive right now after his stunning ZOZO victory in Japan, a place where he has so much family heritage.
Open champions have a strong record in this event, and on this course, so Morikawa would be upholding that tradition with a win.
Back him to get it at +750 with BetMGM.
We landed all three bets in the RSM Classic last time, including Ludvig Aberg’s win at +1400 and Justin Suh (+100) getting the better of Si Woo Kim in a 72-hole match.
For this week’s head-to-head, Justin Thomas is the selection to outscore Matt Fitzpatrick.
Thomas has had a difficult year but it’s ending well.
He made the top five at the Fortinet Championship, was one of the United States’ better performers in the Ryder Cup and, most recently, posted fourth place in the DP World Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.
Fitzpatrick can point to some even stronger form having captured October’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland although he could only manage tied 27th out of 60 at the DP World Tour Championship a fortnight ago.
What really elevates Thomas over Fitzpatrick is course form.
JT is a regular at Albany and has finished fifth in each of his last three appearances. That trumps Fitzpatrick’s two efforts of 12th and 13th in what, remember, is a 20-man field.
Thomas has the added thrill of playing with his close friend Woods on day one so take a hopefully inspired JT to beat Fitzpatrick at -120 with bet365.
For some Top 5 value, try Sepp Straka at +450 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Austrian is near the bottom of the betting but that doesn’t mean to say he can’t make an impact.
Straka, who was part of Europe’s winning Ryder Cup team, placed 10th here last year and has plenty of other good form on windy, exposed tracks.
That includes finishing runner-up in the Open at Hoylake earlier this summer as well as winning the 2022 Honda Classic in Florida.
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Tournament: Hero World Challenge
Location: Albany GC, Albany, BAH
Date: Thursday, Nov. 30 - Sunday, Dec. 3
How to Watch: Thursday-Friday 1.30 p.m.-4.30 p.m ET (Golf Channel/Peacock), Saturday 12 p.m.-2.30 p.m (Golf Channel), 2.30 p.m-5 p.m. (NBC/Peacock), Sunday 11 a.m.-1.30 p.m. (Golf Channel/Peacock), 1.30 p.m-4.30 p.m. (NBC/Peacock). And all four days on Sky Sports.
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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