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Hero World Challenge preview: Tiger's return ignites Bahamas event

Tracy Wilcox / PGA TOUR / Getty

While the official PGA TOUR season ended at the RSM Classic two weeks ago, the December calendar still brings plenty of intrigue leading into next season's January opener in Hawaii.

The reason behind that intrigue centers on the return of one man: Tiger Woods. The annual event hosted by Woods has also served as a popular spot for him to return following an injury - and that scenario will again play out this year.

Joining Woods will be 19 other world-class players, including two-time defending champion Viktor Hovland, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, and a host of other big names.

When: Nov. 30 - Dec. 3
Where: Albany Golf Course, Albany, Bahamas

How to watch

Date Time (ET) Channel
Nov. 30 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. GOLF
Dec. 1 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. GOLF
Dec. 2 Noon - 2:30 p.m. GOLF
2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. NBC
Dec. 3 Noon - 1 p.m. GOLF
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. NBC

Last year's result

Tracy Wilcox / PGA TOUR / Getty

Last year's event looked incredibly similar to the 2021 edition, as Hovland again took home the title, with Scheffler finishing second. The Norwegian joined Woods as the only men to win back-to-back titles in the 23-year history of the event. Hovland certainly made things interesting on the final hole of the event, finding the water from a fairway bunker 220 yards away on his approach. That gave Scheffler some hope, but Hovland walked away with a bogey and kept his lead for the victory.

Recent winners

2022: Viktor Hovland
2021: Viktor Hovland
2020: Canceled
2019: Henrik Stenson
2018: Jon Rahm
2017: Rickie Fowler
2016: Hideki Matsuyama

Tee sheet

Reasons to watch


Tracy Wilcox / PGA TOUR / Getty

The last time we saw Woods playing golf was during a rain-soaked third round at Augusta in April. The weather conditions were absolutely dreadful and eventually forced him out due to extreme pain in his leg. Since then, he's had another fusion surgery and insists there's absolutely no pain in his ankle. He recently walked 72 holes as a caddie for his son Charlie during a junior tournament and decided to enter the Hero shortly afterward. While he'll certainly be rusty, having Woods back in action is a huge win for the TOUR and golf fans around the world.

Did we mention Tiger?

What can be expected of Tiger in his return is anybody's guess. This week will be just the sixth 72-hole stroke-play event he's played since his 2021 car accident, and he's only played all four rounds twice in that span. However, he painted the most optimistic picture we've heard from him since the accident on Tuesday, saying his best-case scenario is "one tournament a month" for the 2024 season. In previous returns from injury at the Hero, Woods has made as many birdies as anybody in the field but too many sloppy bogeys to contend. Expect that to be the case again this year as he looks to tighten up his form.

Zalatoris also returns

In what might be the most under-the-radar return of all time, Will Zalatoris is also making his comeback to the PGA TOUR this week at Albany. Zalatoris dealt with a back injury toward the end of the 2022 season and was forced to withdraw from the Masters in April once his pain returned. He eventually underwent a season-ending microdiscectomy - a surgery Woods has also had. Zalatoris was a mainstay on leaderboards at majors before the injury, so it'll be interesting to see how sharp his game is in the Bahamas.

Betting odds

Viktor Hovland +375
Scottie Scheffler +500
Collin Morikawa +800
Max Homa +800
Justin Thomas +1,400
Cameron Young +1,600
Matthew Fitzpatrick +1,600
Rickie Fowler +2,200
Tony Finau +2,200
Jordan Spieth +2,500
Sam Burns +2,500
Wyndham Clark +2,500
Will Zalatoris +2,800
Justin Rose +3,000
Keegan Bradley +3,000
Sepp Straka +3,000
Brian Harman +3,300
Jason Day +3,500
Tiger Woods +5,000
Lucas Glover +6,000

Odds via theScore Bet

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