Sports

2020 Hero World Challenge canceled

Top Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) players will not be touching down on the shores of The Bahamas this year for the Hero World Challenge as that event has been canceled due to ongoing concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 18-player tournament is played at the Albany resort golf course in December.

TGR Live Events, the organizer of the event, made the announcement on its social media pages on Monday evening. The event was slated for December 3-6. This was set to be the 22nd edition of the tournament and the sixth year that the tournament was held in The Bahamas.

“Given the current global restrictions and ongoing developments resulting from COVID-19, the 2020 Hero World Challenge will not be played this year. This decision was made with the health and well-being of all tournament constituents and the Albany community in mind,” a statement from the organizer read.

This is not the only international tournament to be canceled this year because of the pandemic. There was the Battle 4 Atlantis Men and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, the Bahamas Bowl football game and the Summer of Thunder Basketball Showcase. All three events feature National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I teams.

Although this year’s Hero World Challenge tournament has been canceled, organizers are looking to return to Albany next year.

“We look forward to hosting 18 of the top players in the world and welcoming tournament guests to Albany, Bahamas, next year. Updates on the 2021 event will be made at HeroWorldChallenge.com and @TGRLiveEvents social channels,” the statement read.

The 18-hole, four-round golf tournament has grown over the years. It is carried live on the Golf Channel and a number of fans and international media come into the country for the prestigious event.

Tournament host and 82-time Champion on the PGA Tour Tiger Woods is still looking for his first win at the Hero World Challenge since the tournament was moved to Albany. He won five Hero World tournaments and was runner-up five times when it was held at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California.

Swede Henrik Stenson is the defending champion and has bragging rights for at least another year. At last year’s tournament, he was second after three rounds of play, one stroke behind American Gary Woodland. It was on the back nine at hole number 15, a par-5 hole, that Stenson took the lead, picking up a timely eagle. He was even par the rest of the way to hold on, finishing with a score of -18, 270. Jon Rahm was second with -17, 271. Woods finished fourth with a score of -14, 274.

Over the course of the four rounds, Stenson finished with two eagles and 19 birdies.

The other winners of the Hero World Challenge event, since it moved to Albany, are Spanish golfer Jon Rahm (2018), American Rickey Fowler (2017), Japanese Hidekia Matsuyama (2016) and American Bubba Watson (2015).

Fowler holds the tournament record for the best 18-hole score at -11, 61. He did it in the fourth and final round in 2017.

This is the first TGR Live event outside of The Bahamas. The Hero World Challenge tournament is a driving force for charitable efforts for the TGR Foundation, Tavistock Foundation and the Bahamas Youth Foundation.

As part of ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, the Hero World Challenge contributed $184,500 to the ONE Bahamas Fund through a charity challenge to the players – a donation of $500 for each birdie, $1,000 for each eagle and $2,500 for each hole in one. The 18 players in the field made 337 birdies and 16 eagles over the course of the four-day tournament.

The week-long festivities added a new event, the Hero Shot at Baha Mar Championship. It featured six players including finalists, Woods and fellow American Jordan Speith. Woods won that fun competition with a score of 1,800 points, after hitting the bullseye, to Speith’s 900 points in the championship round.

Hero MotoCorp, located in New Delhi, India, is the title sponsor for the tournament. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is also a sponsor.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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