Primer: 2017 Hero World Challenge

Some of golf’s biggest stars will tee it up this week in the Bahamas for the 19th annual Hero World Challenge, hosted by Tiger Woods.

Contested at the Albany in New Providence, Bahamas, the made-for-TV event will offer tremendous scenery and visuals for viewers, as well as a big payday for its competitors.

As the final high profile tournament of the calendar year, the field is limited to 18 top-ranked tour pros.

This year’s Hero World Challenge is being especially anticipated for one reason: Tiger Woods.

For the first time in 11 months, arguably one of the two greatest players in the history of golf will be teeing it up in a competitive format. At a time when golf is replete with amazing, young talent, the whole world will be interested to see how Tiger measures up.


HISTORY

The Hero World Challenge has filled the December void in the schedule since 1999 when Tom Lehman shot a final-round 67 at Grayhawk Golf Course to defeat David Duval (No. 2 in the world at the time) by three strokes.

Since its inception, the tournament has been very exclusive: the inaugural event had 12 golfers, and some eighteen years later, it has expanded to just 18.

The field’s exemption list is as follows:

1. Winners of the previous season’s major championships
2. The defending champion
3. The tournament host
4. One sponsor’s exemption
5. The remaining highest-ranked players in the OWGR

The tournament has been played in Arizona, Calfornia, and more recently at Albany in the Bahamas.

Past winners have included five-time winner Woods, two-time winners Davis Love III and Graeme McDowell, along with the likes of Zach Johnson and Jordan Spieth.

Spieth’s victory, which came in 2014, was an unbelievable 10-stroke blowout over Henrik Stenson.


THE SKINNNY

Name: Hero World Challenge
Course: Albany
Where: New Providence, Bahamas
Distance: Par 72, 7400 yards
Architect: Ernie Els
Purse: $3,500,00
Winning Share: $1,000,000
World Ranking Points: 190 field/45 winner (projected)


DEFENDING CHAMPION

The defending champion of the Hero World Challenge is Hideki Matsuyama. The win was in the midst of a nine-event stretch where Matsuyama won five times, and finished runner up in two others.

After a final-round 73, the final tally had Matsuyama at 18 under, and just a couple of strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson. But the Japanese superstar teed off in the final group with a seven-stroke lead, and was never really threatened.

2016 FINAL SCORES
1 Hideki Matsyama -18
2 Henrik Stenson -16
3 Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson -13
6 Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker -11
9 Louis Oosthuizen -9
10 Patrick Reed -8
11 J.B. Holmes -7
12 Zach Johnson -6
13 Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker -5
15 Tiger Woods -4
16 Russell Knox -2
17 Emiliano Grillo +1


RECENT CHAMPIONS

2016: Hideki Matsuyama
2015: Bubba Watson
2014: Jordan Spieth
2013: Zach Johnson
2012: Graeme McDowell
2011: Tiger Woods
2010: Graeme McDowell


THE FIELD

The field for the Hero World Challenge features the winners of 22 major championships, including three of the four champions from 2017 (Masters champ Sergio Garcia will be playing in the Australian PGA Championship).

Additionally, the field will have the world’s top-ranked player in Dustin Johnson along with one of the world’s hottest in Justin Rose. Race To Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood will join Rose as part of a five-player contingent from Europe, which also includes Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren.

2017 MAJOR WINNERS
Jordan Spieth (2)
Justin Thomas (4)
Brooks Koepka (7)

2016 HERO CHAMPION
Hideki Matsuyama (5)

SPONSOR EXEMPTION
Henrik Stenson (8)

TOURNAMENT HOST
Tiger Woods (1199)

NEXT 12 TOP RANKED (excepting invites)
Dustin Johnson (1)
Justin Rose (6)
Rickie Fowler (9)
Matt Kuchar (15)
Alex Noren (17)
Tommy Fleetwood (18)
Francesco Molinari (21)
Patrick Reed (23)
Kevin Kisner (25)
Charley Hoffman (27)
Daniel Berger (28)
Kevin Chappell (32)


WATCH & FOLLOW

GOLF CHANNEL
Round 1: (Thu) 1:30-4:30 PM
Round 2: (Fri) 1:30-4:30 PM
Round 3: (Sat) 12:00-2:30 PM
Round 4: (Sun) 11:00-1:00 PM

NBC SPORTS
Round 3: (Sat) 2:30-5:00 PM
Round 4: (Sun) 1:00-4:00 PM

ONLINE
Twitter: @HWC2016
Facebook: @HeroWorldChallenge
Instagram: @HeroWorldChallenge
Website: TigerWoodsFoundation.org


Credits: Getty Images


Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.



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