The Hero Challenge is an unofficial PGA Tour event played at Albany in New Providence in the Bahamas. It is hosted by Tiger Woods to benefit his TGR Foundation and other local Bahamas charities. Its field, which was expanded from 18 to 20 players for 2021 after being canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19, includes the top 11 available players from the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), the victors in the four most recent major championships, and the Players, the defending champion and the three other sponsors exemptions chosen by the foundation.
This year’s purse for the 72 hole event is $3.5 million, with Henrik Stenson returning to defend his 2019 title, which he secured by a shot over Jon Rahm, firing a final round 66 to finish the tournament at 18 par 270 on the 7,302 yards, par 72 layouts. Stenson is one of two former champions in the field, joining 2014 winner Jordan Spieth in the event that doesn’t award FedEx Cup points or official PGA Tour money, but provides OWGR points and $1 million in unofficial earnings the winner.
Tiger Woods will be on hand for the tournament. Still, he isn’t in the field as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in February following the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles. Woods is a five-time winner of his event, most recently in 2010, and has also finished as the runner-up another five times, with the last second-place finish coming in a playoff against Zach Johnson in 2013.
Despite the potential for an even better field, the Hero Challenge still boasts six of the top ten,14 of the top 20, and 17 of the top 30 players in the OWGR, with major winner Collin Morikawa and Players, champion Justin Thomas included in that group. There are also 10 of the 12 members of the victorious United States Ryder Cup team on hand and four from the European squad.
Collin Morikawa, hot off his come from behind win in the DP World Tour Championship to capture the Race for Dubai, is the odds leader at +750 along with Rory McIlroy, who he ran down with five birdies in his last seven holes last week. Morikawa has jumped to second in the OWGR after a season during which he also won his second major championship with a victory in The Open Championship.
Justin Thomas isn’t far behind with odds of +900, followed by Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth at +1100, while Olympic Gold Medalist Xander Schauffele is at +1200 and will be paired with Justin Rose, who won the same title in 2016. Bryson DeChambeau is coming off a loss to Brooks Koepka in The Match V and joins fellow Ryder Cup team member Schauffele at +1200.
Other notables include Scottie Scheffler, still looking for his first PGA Tour win at +1600, with Tony Finau at odds of + 2200 and Koepka at +2500, along with Rose has dropped to 47th in the OWGR. Stenson has seen his ranking fall off precipitously while he’s battled elbow and ankle injuries, coming into the Hero at 182nd in the OWGR with odds of +6500.