Back in The Bahamas for his signature classic, the world’s most popular golfer, who is tied as the winningest golfer of all time on the tour, the legendary Tiger Woods, got out to a good start to the 2019 Hero World Challenge, winning the Hero Shot at the Baha Mar resort on Monday.
Woods, ranked seventh in the Official World Golf Rankings, defeated fellow American and tournament record holder Jordan Spieth, World No. 44, in the championship round by a score of 1,800 to 900. Both golfers are set to play in the Hero World Challenge at Albany this week.
The remainder of the field is World No. 3 and defending champion Jon Rahm of Spain, World No. 4 Dustin Johnson of the United States, World No. 5 Justin Thomas of the United States, World No. 6 Patrick Cantlay of the United States, World No. 8 Justin Rose of England, World No. 9 Xander Schauffele of the United States, World No. 11 Webb Simpson of the United States, World No. 12 Bryson DeChambeau of the United States, World No. 16 Tony Finau of the United States, World No. 17 Patrick Reed of the United States, World No. 18 Gary Woodland of the United States, World No. 22 Rickie Fowler of the United States, World No. 23 Matt Kuchar of the United States, World No. 37 Kevin Kisner of the United States, World No. 40 Henrik Stenson of Sweden and World No. 41 Bubba Watson of the United States.
Players need to be ranked in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings to qualify for the December tournament, making the star power in the field a marvel of the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) Tour. With a dozen members of the 2019 United States Presidents Cup team playing in this year’s challenge, the field strength and star power is regarded as being second to none, gathering together at the Ernie Els-designed links style championship course at Albany.
Defending champion Rahm shot 20-under par a year ago and is back to defend his title. He finished four strokes ahead of Finau and claimed the $1,000,000 top prize. The year-ending event combines what is regarded as the best of luxury at Albany with 18 of the world’s top ranked golfers. This is the 20th year of the tournament, the last four at the Albany Golf Course in southwestern New Providence in The Bahamas. A total of $3.5 million is up for grabs this year. Prize money won by the players is not included in money rankings on any of the world’s professional golf tours, but the tournament is recognized as an unofficial money event by the PGA Tour. Since 2009, the event offers Official World Golf Ranking points.
The Hero World Challenge features four rounds of exciting golf on a par-72 course in an exclusive setting. Each year in The Bahamas, the tournament has been competitive, and this year is expected to be no different.
As far as the Hero Shot on Monday is concerned, host Tiger Woods overcame a star-studded field of golfers including Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson and Gary Woodland. The players took their best shots at a bullseye target 130 yards away, hitting shots over Reflections Pool at Baha Mar.
The first round of the Hero Shot at Baha Mar featured three head-to-head match-ups, Rahm vs. Stenson, Woodland vs. Spieth and DeChambeau vs. Woods, with each player taking six shots at the target. Stenson advanced by a score of 1,200 to 1100, while won Spieth won his match-up by a playoff score of 200 to 100. Woods earned a 900 to 700 victory.
In the second round, Stenson, Spieth and Woods each took another six shots with the highest two second-round scores advancing to the championship. Spieth and Woods moved on, posting scores of 900 each while Stenson was eliminated after posting a score of 800.
In the championship round, Spieth took on Woods with each taking a final six shots at the target. Woods won in walk-off fashion as the two were tied going into the final shot. Woods called game, hitting bullseye earning 1,000 points.
The Hero World Challenge itself will be held Wednesday to Saturday, with live television coverage provided by the Golf Channel during all four rounds and by NBC during the final round. The tournament is a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation.
As part of ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Dorian, tournament organizers announced that additional donations will be made to the ONE Bahamas Fund through a charity challenge to the players. The tournament will make a donation of $500 for each birdie, $1,000 for each eagle and $2,500 for each hole-in-one made by the professionals in competition rounds at Albany Wednesday through Saturday.
Founded by Woods, actor and musician Justin Timberlake, NEXUS Luxury Collection, members of the Albany community and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) following Dorian, ONE Bahamas Fund has pledged $6 million toward the hurricane relief efforts with a dollar for dollar match in hopes of raising $12 million to help those impacted by the hurricane.