The First Look: Hero World Challenge
November 28, 2021
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
Henrik Stenson's Round 4 highlights from Hero
After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hero World Challenge returns to Albany Golf Club in The Bahamas.
Hosted by Tiger Woods, the event features a top-tier field of FedExCup champions, TOUR stars, and global notables.
FIELD NOTES AND STORYLINES: Past FedExCup champions Rory McIlroy (2016, ’19), Jordan Spieth (2015), Justin Thomas (2017), Justin Rose (2018) and Henrik Stenson (2013) are teeing it up… Collin Morikawa, fresh off a victory at the DP World Tour Championship that made him the first American to claim the Race to Dubai, is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 2 in the world ranking… Spieth will tee it up for the first time since becoming a father (a son, Sammy, was born Nov. 14). He won this event by 10 shots in 2014 when it was contested at Isleworth, setting the stage for his historic 2015 that saw him win two majors and the FedExCup… Viktor Hovland is teeing it up globally for the first time since his repeat win at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba… The past three winners of THE PLAYERS – Thomas, McIlroy and Webb Simpson – are in the field. Also present are the past two Olympic gold medalists (Rose and Xander Schauffele); former Masters champion Patrick Reed; Abraham Ancer, winner of the World Golf Championship-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and two-time TOUR winner Sam Burns (who didn’t finish outside the top 15 in any of his four starts this fall)… Burns is the highest-ranked player in the FedExCup in the field. He’s second in the season-long race behind Talor Gooch. Hovland is ranked fifth, while McIlroy, winner of THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT, is ninth… Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are both in the field after Friday’s match in Las Vegas, which Koepka won handily… While Woods is not playing, he will likely command a lion’s share of the attention if he is on-site as host. He has not appeared at a tournament or addressed the media since his accident. He recently posted on social media a video of himself swinging a golf club with the caption “Making progress.”
FEDEXCUP: No FedExCup points are awarded at the Hero World Challenge; however, five past FedExCup winners are in the field, along with Sam Burns who sits second in the current standings.
World-ranking points will be awarded.
COURSE: Albany Golf Course, par 72, 7,309 yards (yardage subject to change). Now in its sixth year as host, the Ernie Els-designed Albany GC boasts a linksy look, windswept dunes, and strategic water hazard placements. The average winning score over the last five Hero World Challenge events at Albany has been a hair short of 20 under.
72-HOLE RECORD: 262, Jordan Spieth (2014). Albany record: 263, Bubba Watson (2015)
18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Rickie Fowler (fourth round, 2017)
LAST TIME: Henrik Stenson won in 2019 to become the third non-American winner of the Hero World Challenge in the past four years. The event -- cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- saw Stenson top defending champion Jon Rahm by one shot. Stenson’s victory was his first since the 2017 Wyndham Championship. He delivered the knock-out blow with an eagle on the par-5 15th. Four golfers had a share of the lead on the back nine in the final round before Stenson ripped a 5-wood from 259 yards to within 8 inches of the cup. Rahm was looking to become the first back-to-back winner of the Hero since Tiger Woods (2006-07) but finished one shot back. Patrick Reed finished third, while Woods – the tournament host – finished fourth. Eleven of the Americans in the field, including Woods, would go on to board a charter flight to Australia to compete in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, which the U.S. Team won after a spirited comeback in Sunday Singles.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Friday, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Golf Channel), 1 p.m.-4 p.m. (NBC)