PGA Tour Picks: Hero World Challenge Odds and Betting Predictions
Quick recap of the RSM Classic - the last official PGA Tour event of the calendar year -- a couple of weeks ago at the Sea Island Resort in Georgia. Little-known Tyler Duncan, who entered ranked 378th in the world, beat the highest-ranked player in the field, Webb Simpson, on the second hole of a playoff for his first Tour victory.
Duncan, playing two groups ahead of Simpson in the final round, birdied three of the last four holes in regulation - including a 25-foot putt on No. 18 -- for a 5-under 65. Simpson closed with two pars, making a 5-footer on 18 to match Duncan at 19-under 263. Duncan would then birdie the second playoff hole for the victory to get into the 2020-opening Tournament of Champions, the Masters and other such perks. Duncan hit 50 of 56 fairways for the week to finish sixth in Driving Accuracy, and he has to hit fairways because he's one of the shortest off the tee on the Tour.
Brendon Todd took a two-shot lead into the final round and was bidding to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2006 to win three straight tournaments on the Tour but faded with a final-round 72. Our winning choice was Kevin Kisner, and he shot a second-round 67 … but that followed a first-round 73 and he missed the cut.
This week, Tiger and 17 of his buddies (essentially) will play the non-official Hero World Challenge at the Albany Golf Club in New Providence, Bahamas. There are no FedEx Cup points available here and any money won does not go toward the PGA Tour moneylist standings, but world golf rankings points can be earned.
Tiger basically created this event in 2000 to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation - it still will but also the newly-created ONE Bahamas Fund, which will help all those affected by the catastrophic Hurricane Dorian earlier this summer in the Bahamas.
The tournament was largely held in California, moved to Tiger's former home course outside Orlando in 2014 and has been held at its current spot since 2015. There's a total purse of $3.5 million with $1 million to the winner - not bad for a golfing vacation. Players must be in the Top 50 of the world rankings to qualify/get an invite and there are two special invitations handed out. Those went to Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson. Spieth won in 2014 in Florida, while Stenson was runner-up that year and in 2016 to Hideki Matsuyama. Both Spieth and Stenson had lousy 2018-19 seasons and are nowhere near the Top 10 these days - although at least Stenson had an injury excuse. Stenson will be one of only three non-Americans in the field, joined by England's Justin Rose and Spain's Jon Rahm.
It's a typical 72-hole stroke play event, obviously with no cut in a field of only 18, but this year it's Wednesday-Saturday in order to give the guys playing in next week's Presidents Cup in Australia extra time to travel, etc. The entire 12-man US Team - captained by Woods, who will also play -- was entered in the Bahamas, but Dustin Johnson has withdrawn. He had knee surgery in September but says he still plays to play the Presidents Cup. Chez Reavie has replaced him in this field and it's his debut in the event.
Albany Golf Club is a par-72 measuring 7,300 yards or so and designed by Hall of Famer Ernie Els. The course record of 25-under 263 is held by Bubba Watson in 2015.
Golf Odds: Hero World Challenge Favorites
Rahm won last year at 20-under 268 by four shots over Tony Finau, and the Spaniard is the +450 favorite at Bovada. Rahm comes off a win in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour as well as winning the Race to Dubai, which is that Tour's version of the FedEx Cup. Rahm is only the second Spaniard to win that, joining his idol the late Seve Ballesteros.
Justin Thomas is +650 with Patrick Cantlay +800. Thomas finished T12 last year (he won last month in Korea) and Cantlay T5 despite a third-round 76. Woods is +900 with Xander Schauffele the same price. Tiger has won this tournament five times but never in the Bahamas. He won last month in Japan. Schauffele was T8 last year.
Golf Odds: Hero World Challenge Picks
Not many props available being as it's such a small field, so we'll just stick with a winning choice and it's Rickie Fowler at +1400. He won in 2017, has two thirds and a fifth here.
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