Tiger Woods returns at Hero World Challenge

The former World Number 1 features in a select field in The Bahamas

Tiger Woods returns to competition in the Hero World Challenge
Tiger Woods returns to competition in the Hero World Challenge
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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 in nine months.

18 of the world’s best players will contest this invitational event and 16 of the top 32 golfers in the world will tee it up. The world’s number 1, 2 and 3 golfers all play – Dustin Johnson Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. Adding to the excitement, Tiger Woods returns to competition golf in Albany.

Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama is back to try and win the event for a second year running and he will be joined by the likes of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. England’s Tommy Fleetwood will also start.

Tommy Fleetwood swing sequence:

Tiger Woods returns to competitive action this week after a back operation. He last started in the Dubai Desert Classic in February and has played just 19 PGA Tour events since 2013.

“I am excited to return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge,” Woods said. “Albany is the perfect setting and it will be great to join this outstanding field. I want to thank Pawan Munjal and Hero MotoCorp for their continued support of this tournament and my foundation. I would also like to thank the fans for their unwavering support during my injury.”

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, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson the other champions.

Last year, Hideki Matsuyama won by two shots from Henrik Stenson. At that stage, the Japanese player was on a tremendous run of form and had won three tournaments in a row and four in his last five.

The Albany resort at New Providence in the Bahamas welcomes this event for a third 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 looks pretty good. Thunderstorms earlier in the week should disappear leaving mostly sunny and warm conditions towards the weekend.

Venue: Albany, New Providence, Bahamas Date: Nov 30 – Dec 3 Course stats: par 72, 7,309 yards Purse: $3,500,000 Winner: $1,000,000 Defending champion: Hideki Matsuyama (-18)

TV Coverage: Thursday 30 – Sky Sports Golf from 5.30pm Friday 1 – Sky Sports Golf from 5.30pm Saturday 2 – Sky Sports Golf from 5pm Sunday 3 – Sky Sports Golf from 4pm

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Player Watch:

Justin Rose – The Englishman has been on superb form with no finish worse than a tie for 10th in his last eight starts. He’s won twice in that time. He also knows this course as he owns a house in Albany.

Rickie Fowler – He enjoys this tournament and has twice finished third at Albany. He was second in the recent Mayakoba Classic.

Justin Thomas – He’s been superb through 2017 with five victories including a Major in the USPGA Champs. The FedEx Cup champion will look to end a great year with another high.

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?