Tiger Woods returns at Hero World Challenge

Tiger will start and Bubba Watson defends the title in The Bahamas

Tiger Woods returns, Bubba defends Hero
Tiger Woods returns, Bubba defends Hero
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his first competitive start for 16 months, while Bubba Watson returns to The Bahamas to defend the Hero World Challenge.

A strong, select field has travelled to The Bahamas this week to contest the Hero World Challenge. Tournament host Tiger Woods returns to competitive action for the first time since 2014 and 17 more of the world’s top players will start.

Among those competing at Albany this week are U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, Open champion Henrik Stenson and Olympic champion Justin Rose.

Tiger Woods is excited at the prospect of playing again. “I am excited to make my return at the Hero World Challenge at Albany and play in this terrific tournament,” Woods said. “This is our 18th year, and every year we put together a top field that showcases the best golfers from the previous season. Albany is an outstanding setting, and I can’t thank Hero MotoCorp enough for their support of the tournament and my foundation.”

First contested in 1999, the inaugural instalment of this event (then known as the Williams World Challenge) was won by Tom Lehman. Since then Tiger Woods has won the title five times with Davis Love III, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Vijay Singh, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson and Jordan Spieth the other champions.

Last year Bubba Watson took the title. He fired a final round of 66 to win by three shots from fellow American Patrick Reed.

The Albany resort at New Providence in the Bahamas welcomes this event for a second time. The course there has been designed by Ernie Els and it delivers a desert feel with its windswept dunes. There are also many challenging, yet aesthetically appealing, water features to negotiate.

The weather forecast is a bit mixed with rain a distinct possibility over the first couple of days.

Venue: Albany, New Providence, Bahamas Date: Dec 1-4 Course stats: par 72, 7,400 yards Purse: $3,500,000 Winner: $1,000,000 Defending Champion: Bubba Watson (-25)

TV Coverage: Thursday 1 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm Friday 2 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30pm Saturday 3 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm Sunday 4 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm

Player watch: Tiger Woods returns to action but few will fancy him to have a chance of tasting victory. Who might take the title?

Rickie Fowler – He looks like he’s returning to his best form. He was tied second with Jimmy Walker in last week’s World Cup and was third in this event last season.

Rickie Fowler swing sequence:

Brooks Koepka – He finished runner-up in Las Vegas three weeks ago and then won the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan. He’s clearly playing very well.

Emiliano Grillo – The Argentinian will be flying under the radar this week with Major champions and World top-10 players (and Tiger) stealing the limelight. But he’s a great performer in top level events and his ball-striking skills should help him this week.

Key hole: 18th. A typically challenging finishing hole, it’s 470 yards with a lake all down the left side. Anything hooking from the tee will end up wet, while a bail out right will likely find sand. The green is also well protected. This one demands two excellent and precise shots.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?