Although the event has always boasted an exceptional field, the Hero World Challenge – which is exactly as old as this century – has never quite thrown off the shackles of being viewed as an “end-of-season friendly”.
Every now and again, however, the tournament becomes far more relevant to the wider world and this year is very definitely one of those occasions.
The reason? It’s not that Viktor Hovland is chasing a hat trick of wins (however impressive that would be).
It’s not that 11 of the 20 players are major championship winners (or that the other nine players are very fine performers, too)
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Nor is it that the venue – Albany GC in the Bahamas – is an enjoyable if blustery test.
It’s all much more simple than that.
Tiger Woods is playing.
The 15-time major winner is always present at the tournament owing to his role as host but when he recently revealed that he was ready to return to action the golf world was immediately thrilled.
No-one knows quite what to expect but you can bet that the viewing figures will be among the best of the year.
This is the last congregation of elite level golfers in 2023 – and it might just be among the most interesting.
Hero World Challenge betting tips
Find some of the best picks for the Hero World Challenge.
🏌️♂️ Viktor Hovland to win
On debut in 2021 the Norwegian was a little fortunate in that the 54-hole leader Collin Morikawa had a Sunday nightmare, allowing Hovland to chase him down for the win.
But he defended the trophy in spectacular style, going wire-to-wire and making it seven sub-70 laps of Albany in eight tries.
His 2023 has been sensational, taking in three wins and a sparkling effort at the Ryder Cup.
He was last seen finishing second at the DP World Tour Championship and he can go one better this week.
Matt Cooper has been a golf journalist for 15 years. He’s worked for, among others, Golf365, SkySports, ESPN, NBC, Sporting Life, Open.com and the Guardian. He specialises in feature writing, reporting and tournament analysis. He’s covered numerous Opens, Ryder Cups and Solheim Cups, and travelled to golfing destinations as varied as Kazakhstan, South Korea, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Nepal.