The First Look: Hero World Challenge
November 26, 2022
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
Viktor Hovland captures win on 72nd hole at Hero
Editor's note: Tiger Woods announced his withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge on Monday, Nov. 28. He was replaced in the field by Sepp Straka.
The Hero World Challenge returns to Albany in the Bahamas, hosted by Tiger Woods.
It’s the seventh time the Ernie Els-designed club will play host to the year-end event.
FIELD NOTES AND STORYLINES: Woods was set to return to action for the first time since The Open Championship but announced that he had withdrawn from the field. The 82-time PGA TOUR winner played three times this season – the Masters, PGA Championship, and The Open – as he began his recovery from a car accident in 2021. Woods will play host once again in the Bahamas… Woods is set to tee it up at The Match on Dec. 10 and with his son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship Dec. 17-18… Viktor Hovland returns to defend his title from last season… Tom Kim, who won the Wyndham Championship in August and the Shriners Children’s Open in October (plus made a fiery Presidents Cup debut in September), will make his tournament debut… Kim is one of six golfers to make their Hero World Challenge debuts… PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Cameron Young, International Presidents Cup team members Corey Conners and Sungjae Im, former Open Championship winner Shane Lowry, and multi-time TOUR winner (and new father) Max Homa are the other debutants… Four-time winner in 2022 Scottie Scheffler is set to return to the Hero field. Scheffler finished runner-up last year… This year’s U.S. Open champion and PGA Championship winner, Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Thomas, respectively, will be teeing it up… Jon Rahm, who won in 2018 by four shots, is back in action. Only Rahm and Hovland won the Hero World Challenge in their tournament debut… Multi-time PGA TOUR winner and Olympic Gold Medalist Xander Schauffele is in the field… Tony Finau, who won the Cadence Bank Houston Open this fall, is looking to find the winner’s circle for the fourth time this year… Former FedExCup champions Jordan Spieth and Billy Horschel are in the field… World No.8 Collin Morikawa makes it six of the world’s top-10 bopping to the Bahamas… Tournament exemptions were granted to Kevin Kisner and Tommy Fleetwood to round out the 20-player field.
FEDEXCUP: No FedExCup points are awarded at the Hero World Challenge; however, four past FedExCup winners are in the field.
Tom Kim is the highest-ranked golfer in the field in this year’s FedExCup (he’s fourth).
World-ranking points will be awarded.
COURSE: Albany, par 72, 7,414 yards (yardage subject to change). This marks the seventh year that the Ernie Els-designed Albany will play host to the Hero World Challenge. The 20 golfers will contend with strategic water hazards, windswept dunes, and navigate a linksy-style layout with five par-5s and five par-3s. Four of the last five winners of the Hero World Challenge at Albany have finished at exactly 18 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: Viktor Hovland became the third straight European to win the Hero World Challenge and the first debutant to win in Albany since Jon Rahm in 2018. Hovland, who topped Scottie Scheffler by one shot, fired a 6-under 66 Sunday, highlighted by back-to-back eagles on No’s 14 and 15 in the final round. Collin Morikawa held the 54-hole lead but made double bogeys on No’s 4 and 6 on Sunday and couldn’t recover, ending up with a 4-over 76 in the final round. Scheffler, meanwhile, caught fire on his back nine Sunday firing a 6-under 30 for his final nine holes. It was too little, too late, however. Hovland started the day six shots back of the lead but still managed to lift the trophy despite finishing bogey-bogey. Sam Burns and Patrick Reed finished tied for third, while Morikawa and Justin Thomas finished tied for fifth.
Harris English, who finished tied for 14th, shot the round of the week, a 9-under 63 on Saturday.
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, 12 p.m.-1 p.m. (Golf Channel), 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (NBC)