It’s Hero World Challenge week, which means we get to watch 18 of the best golfers in the world duel it out for a tidy $3,500,000 prize pool! The annual event at the Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas is hosted by the Tiger Woods foundation and sees a select field of qualifiers squaring off for a $1,000,000 first prize.
The field is made up of 18 of the best golfers in the world and is selected by a qualification process. The first four spots go to the current major champions. The next 11 spots are reserved for the next highest ranked golfers in the world while the reigning Hero World Challenge Champion also automatically earns a spot in the field. The final two spots are reserved for special exemptions selected by the Tiger Woods foundation, the host of the event.
This means that while there will only be 18 golfers teeing up on Thursday, it is an absolutely stacked field. Rickie Fowler hoisted the Hero World Challenge title last year and will be looking to become the first player since Tiger Woods himself in 2007 to go back to back and just the third player to win multiple titles alongside Woods, Davis Love III and Graeme McDowell.
See the full field for the 2018 Hero World Challenge below.
Ernie Els designed the Albany Golf Course back in 2010 and it has played host to the Hero World Challenge for the last three years. It is a Par 72, 7,400 yard course with long, straight fairways and and dunes up to 30-feet tall. The course differs from general PGA Tour courses, however, as it features five par three and five par fives, meaning players who can take advantage of these par fives and make consistent birdies and the odd eagle should perform extremely well.
Since moving to the Albany Course in 2015, three long hitters have won the Hero World Challenge in Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler.
With just 18 players in the field, you’d think it would be a little easier to find a winner this weekend than a normal PGA Tour weekend. However, the quality of the field makes it extremely tough. We really like the long hitters who perform well on par fives this weekend. Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler all came into consideration when assessing the field, however, one name stands out to us and that’s Tony Finay.
Amongst the 193 players that started in a PGA event last season, Finau ranked 1st overall in Par 5 performance, 8th overall in Par 5 birdie or better leaders and T3rd in Par 5 scoring average. Its hard to believe that someone who stands as close to the ball as Tony Finau does can hit it so far but he has proven himself to be one of the best Par 5 players on tour over the past year and has started the 2019 season in decent form as well.
Finau has played three tournaments so far this season, racking up a 2nd overall finish at the WGC-HSBS, a T36 at the Shriners and a T16 at the Mayakobo Classic. Finau is our best bet to be top five this weekend.
Pick – Tony Finau Top 5 finish +230 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Hero World Challenge Picks
Highlights from Rickie Fowler’s Hero World Challenge win in 2017