A strong field takes centrestage at the Hero World Challenge (HWC), which commences at Albany here on Thursday.
South Korean Tom Kim, who won the Wyndham Championships in August and the Shriners Children’s Open in October, is among the favourites. Kim, 20, is one of six golfers to make their HWC debuts. PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Cameron Young, International Presidents Cup team members Corey Conners and Sungjae Im, former Open Championship winner Shane Lowry, and multi-time Tour winner Max Homa are the other debutants.
Norwegian Viktor Hovland, who pulled the rug from under Collin Morikawa to win the title last year, will hope to go all the way. Incidentally, Hovland and Morikawa are sharing a house here this week and have been paired together for the first round.
On edging out Morikawa last year, Hovland said, “I’m sure he’s (Morikawa) a little bit upset about that. I may have got the upper hand on that one, but he might get one back the next time.”
Spain’s Jon Rahm, the 2018 HWC champion, enters the tournament in good form. Rahm may not have won a Major this year, but he has returned some great results. “I won three times worldwide and my percentage of top-10s has stayed close to 50 percent,” Rahm said.
Scottie Scheffler, the reigning Masters champion and Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Green Jacket winner, will go out together.
Sepp Straka, who won his first PGA Tour event at The Honda Classic earlier this year, replaces Tiger Woods in the field. Woods, the tournament host, withdrew due to a foot injury.
This marks the seventh year that the Ernie Els-designed Albany will play host to the HWC.