Tiger Woods Co-Longest Shot in Return at Hero World Challenge

Matthew Jordan

Monday, November 27, 2017 6:27 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 6:27 PM UTC

It’s not an official PGA Tour event, but all eyes in the golf world will be on Tiger Woods as he returns to the sport as a long shot at this weekend’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

We are in the midst of golf’s silly season, meaning glorified exhibition tournaments where players simply get paid for showing up and having a good time. The next official PGA Tour event isn’t until the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii starting Jan.

That said, there will be a lot of interest in this weekend’s Hero World Challenge in Albany, Bahamas, because Tiger Woods returns from a fourth back surgery. It’s an invitation-only event run by the Tiger Woods Foundation with 18 players in the field and no cut. There are plenty of big names other than Woods, including 2017 PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and others. The winner takes home $1 million of the $3.5 million purse. Even though it’s not an official Tour event, players do accrue world ranking points.

But let’s not kid ourselves: This is all about Tiger. Golf fans in the USA can watch the event Thursday and Friday afternoon on the Golf Channel, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon on NBC. Tiger’s last official PGA Tour event was the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in late January when he missed the cut. Woods then went to Dubai – appearance fee! – the next week but was forced to withdraw after a first-round 77 due to back spasms. He had that fourth back surgery in April.

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Big Cat in the Bahamas.@TigerWoods getting ready for his return this morning at the Hero World Challenge. pic.twitter.com/MGQrRag5sH

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 27, 2017

Woods is a +3300 long shot at Bovada this week along with Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman. The tournament was first played in 1999, and it has had a few different names and moved around a bit. Woods has won it five times, last in 2011. Last year, he made a comeback from a 15-month injury absence at the Hero World Challenge and tied for the lead in the field with 24 birdies. But Woods also had plenty of bogeys and finished 15th against an 18-man field, 14 shots out of the lead. Tiger shot rounds of 73, 65, 70 and 76.

By all accounts, Tiger has looked great in practice rounds of late, and he says he’s pain-free. For a Top 5 finish, Woods is +500. For a Top 10, he’s +150. To be the highest-finishing American, Tiger is a +2200 long shot. Woods is the +330 favorite to finish last.

Aussies Jason Day and Marc Leishman were originally selected for the field, but withdrew to spend time at home with their families. They were replaced by Chappell and Henrik Stenson. Thomas is the +550 favorite. The American has three wins in his last seven starts, including in his last outing in South Korea, but has never played this event.

Spieth and Johnson are each +600. Spieth won the event in 2014 in Florida by a whopping 10 shots. He played last week in Australia and finished eighth. Spieth was T6 at Albany last year. Johnson was T3. Matsuyama is +1200 to repeat. He shot 18-under 270 in 2016 to win by two. Only Tiger has repeated in the tournament.

Free Golf Pick: Johnson & Spieth (+250) vs. Field (-350)Best Line Offered: Bovada
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