Tiger Woods began his next two weeks of golf with an exhibition victory before the start of Wednesday’s Hero World Challenge. Woods beat out five, fellow PGA Tour pros in a competition called the Hero Shot at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas.
Woods, along with Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm, and Bryson DeChambeau tried to see who could win a three-round contest featuring shots from 130 yards.
The event featured a party-like atmosphere with a disc jockey spinning hip hop tunes, and some of the estimated 1,000 people in the gallery making side bets on which golfer would win the Hero World Challenge’s Hero Shot.
Woods and Spieth advanced to the final round, where Woods was victorious. He told reporters afterward that he hopes it’s a sign of things to come.
“My swing felt pretty good tonight,” Woods said. “It’s a big week and a big day.”
Woods Not a Favorite at Hero World Challenge
Despite winning the Hero World Challenge exhibition, and being the tournament host, Woods isn’t the favorite to win the event. According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, recent European Tour money winner, Jon Rahm is the 9/2 top choice. The Spaniard, won the DP World Championship in Dubai a week ago, and is now the No. 3 golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Justin Thomas is next at 13/2, while Patrick Cantalay is at 9/1. Woods is next, along with Xander Schauffele, at 10/1.
In the 19 years Woods has held the Hero World Challenge, he has won it five times, most recently in 2011. Last year’s champion was Rahm. The tournament features a 16-golfer field.
Johnson Withdraws from Hero World Challenge
World No. 4 golfer, Dustin Johnson informed tournament officials that he was withdrawing from the Hero World Challenge. Johnson, who had knee surgery in September, said he is close to returning, but thought it would be best to sit out this week’s event. He wants to be ready for next week’s Presidents Cup.
“While my recovery from knee surgery is complete, I feel another week of physical therapy and practice will best prepare me for the Presidents Cup,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “I have informed Captain Woods of my decision, which he fully supports and understands.”
Johnson had one victory last year at the WGC-Mexico Championships, and made all but one cut. The surgery was a fairly routine procedure to repair cartilage damage in his left knee.
Koepka, Day Out of Presidents Cup
Two players who won’t compete in the biennial competition between the United States and an international team will be Brooks Koepka and Jason Day. Koepka, who is the No. 1-ranked player in the world, hurt his knee in September in South Korea and has not said when he will return.
Day, who is ranked No. 31, suffered a back injury while preparing for the Presidents Cup. In a statement, he said he won’t be able to compete in his home country of Australia.
“I’m quite disappointed I won’t be coming home to play in either the Australian Open in Sydney or the Presidents Cup the following week in Melbourne,” Day said. “I was quite looking forward to both events. I had been prepping all week in Palm Springs when I was injured. Frustratingly, I’ve been through back problems before and my medical team decided it best to shut down all practice and play.”