First blog of December 2015, and it’s golf from the Bahamas and the HERO World Challenge. After you get done shoveling off your porch, think about that for a second– 18 of the world’s best players are teeing it up in the Bahamas.
Even though Tiger Woods will not be in the field this week, as he recovers from yet another back injury, he will still be in attendance. The event benefits his foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation, so if you stay tuned this week/weekend, you may even get a Tiger interview or two. Undoubtedly, he will say something about his timetable for recovery, the (extremely vague, optimistic) status of his game, and then dive into the Tiger Woods Foundation and pretend like he’s spent days at a time at the facilities.
— Tiger Woods Found. (@TWFoundation) December 1, 2015
Anyways, rant over. Let’s take a look at what we have this week!
Hero World Challenge Tee Times
10:25 a.m.: Justin Rose, Adam Scott
10:35 a.m.: J. B. Holmes, Patrick Reed
10:45 a.m.: Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk
10:55 a.m.: Hideki Matsuyama, Jimmy Walker
11:05 a.m.: Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler
11:15 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Bill Haas
11:25 a.m.: Anirban Lahiri, Jordan Spieth
11:35 a.m.: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar
11:45 a.m.: Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka
The players this week are playing Albany in the Bahamas. The course is owned by, you’ve guessed it, Tiger Woods alongside Ernie Els and Joe Lewis. It’s been around since 2010 and unlike what you’d think of a Bahamas course, it’s a desert links style.
I’ve never played it, I’ve never been there, so here are a few videos from the resort and golf course.
Now I know I’d like to play.
- Thursday, December 3rd – 1st Round
1 PM – 4 PM ET
- Friday, December 4th – 2nd Round
1 PM – 4 PM ET
- Saturday, December 5th – 3rd Round
12 PM – 2:30 PM ET
- Sunday, December 6th – Final Round
12 PM – 2 PM ET
Last 5 Winners: HERO World Challenge
2014: Jordan Spieth (Recap here– Jordan BLOWS OUT field)
2013: Zach Johnson (Crazy hole out to win, recap here)
2012: Graeme McDowell
2011: Tiger Woods
2010: Graeme McDowell
You like that Graeme-sandwich??
Last Week’s Picks (Two weeks ago– OHL Classic)
Regular– Contenders Italics– Sleeper Bold- Winner
- Jason Bohn T2
- Patrick Rodgers T10
- Carlos Ortiz MC
- Brice Garnett 7
- Chris Stroud MC
Three top-10 finishers and two MCs. If that isn’t a rollercoaster of selections, I don’t know what is. Satisfying stuff though…
This Week’s Picks
Two from the Fairway (The Contenders)
His putting seems to be getting close to on track with the way he had it with the long stick, which is good considering the anchored putter ban goes into effect in less than one month. That’s a good sign for those looking for great play in Scott as he closes out his 30s over the next few seasons.
His great play in Australia may have been inspired with playing in his home country, but I am going to believe Scott’s game has turned for the better.
That momentum will carry in this week, as Scott will find symmetry between the gorgeous beaches, his gorgeous golf swing and well, his gorgeous face.
All lead to a solid top-5 finish from him this week.
2. Jordan Spieth
I would have to be an idiot not to select Jordan Spieth this week. He’s the defending champion, winning this event by a whopping 10 strokes last year. Down under, he played great in Australia last week, finishing second by a stroke behind champion Matt Jones.
I don’t have any evidence that this style of play in the Bahamas will benefit Spieth or hurt him, but looking at the way he played the four majors last year, on four different golf courses, I don’t think course style has any effect on this young man.
He just competes.
Pick him if you have the chance this week.
One from the Rough (Sleeper)
If anyone is primed to be a sleeper in this event, it has to be Paul Casey, does it not? The only other players ranked lower than him in the world rankings are Anirban Lahiri, Bill Haas, Chris Kirk…so actually, in the 18-man field, Casey’s ranking is pretty good at 24th in the world.
But it’s been Casey’s ability (or lack thereof) to win that has given him this “fly under the radar” feel to his game.
During the 2015 season, he finished runner-up twice and in third place twice, posting some fantastic results but never hoisting the trophy. He’s a world-class player who has been held down over the past few years with health issues. His form in 2015 was indicative of the play I expect from Casey going into a Ryder Cup year.
Casey will surprise this week and beat a lot of the world’s elite players.
The Man Leaving the Bahamas with Hardware
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) December 1, 2015
He’s rocking a killer mustache, he rode a jet with Rickie Fowler down to the Bahamas and he’s recently cracked the world’s top-20– what more could we ask of Brooks Koepka this week!
@NoLayingUp’s favorite American golfer will be the winner this week.
A few weeks ago, Brooks took to Twitter to share his excitement for playing at Albany Golf Club and the HERO World Challenge, tweeting the following:
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) November 16, 2015
With what I know of the course and given Brooks’ breakout season in 2015, I see this as the perfect place for a great start of momentum heading into his 2016 season.
Look at where Jordan Spieth was in 2014 heading into this event. He was poised to become one of the elite players, consistently, in the game, the same place I feel Brooks is in right now.
Spieth won last year’s HERO by 10, proving to the top players in the world that he was here to stay.
Brooks, it’s your turn.