The 2017 Hero World Challenge starts Thursday 30th November.
It’s a familiar story again for this year’s Hero World Challenge.
This time last year Tiger Woods was ranked 898th in the world. He picked the Hero World Challenge for his first return to the PGA Tour since 2015.
Woods was playing with back pain and had adapted his swing to minimise discomfort. Despite some early encouraging signs, Woods didn’t perform well as the Tour progressed. His last appearance was in the Dubai Desert Classic.
He has picked the Hero Challenge this week to return yet again, but things are a little different.
In April he had ‘anterior interbody lumbar fusion’ procedure. Spinal discs in his lower back have effectively been formed together to eradicate the lower back pain that has plagued the last 5 years of his career. Rather than adapting his swing, he is now much more fluid and striking the ball as he would want to.
“The fact I don’t have any pain in my lower back anymore compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable,” Woods said during preparations for this week’s 18-man tournament at Albany.
“It’s been a struggle for years. To finally come out on the good side of it is exciting.”
It would make one of the most remarkable sporting stories if Woods is capable of at least becoming competitive again. It felt like this last year, but with the underlying injury hopefully addressed, fans can be forgiven for being optimistic.
He is priced 36.00 by Bet 365 to be the outright winner of the tournament (accurate at time of publishing, subject to change). Woods will, of course, need a few tournaments under his belt before he can prove he has returned to his former best. Early messages coming out are that his drives have a good length, and he is looking more like his former self.
Based in the Bahamas, the Albany course is an attractive location to play golf this time of the year. The course is relatively new, opening in 2010 and is a par 72 in an exposed flat links-style course. It has a relatively small field, with just an invitational list of the 18 highest calibre players.
While most eyes will be on Woods, it is Justin Thomas who narrowly leads the pack at 6.50. Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are close behind at 7.00
How to Watch the Hero World Challenge Live
Sky have the rights to broadcast the Hero World Challenge, with coverage starting at 5.30 pm in the UK, on the Sky Sports Golf Channel.
Streaming options are limited. In the UK, the only place to stream the tournament will be on Sky Go, which requires a Sky subscription.
Hero World Challenge Betting Odds
Here are the odds for the outright winner prior to the tournament starting. Odds are supplied by Bet 365. They are accurate at time of publishing and are subject to change.
- Justin Thomas – 6.50
- Dustin Johnson – 7.00
- Jordan Spieth – 7.00
- Rickie Fowler – 9.00
- Brooks Koepka – 10.00
- Justin Rose – 11.00
Hero World Challenge Betting Offers
There are not many betting offers available for the 2016 Hero World Challenge.
- Boylesports – Money back if your outright winner comes second. Bets must be placed prior to the tournament starting on Thursday. You must opt-in to be eligible for this offer, and there is a maximum £25 refund available per customer.
- Winner – Money back if your player comes 2nd or 3rd on PGA Tour Events
- Paddy Power – Paddy Power is paying 5 places at 1/5. Considering the field is relatively small at only 18, this is a good option.