Pick 5: 2017 Hero World Challenge

The final important golf event of the calendar year is upon us, taking us to the island of New Providence in The Bahamas. Waiting in paradise is the Albany Course, a 7,302-yard championship track designed by Ernie Els.

Hideki Matsuyama (12/1) enters the week as the defending champion, and he will look to become the first back-to-back winner since Tiger Woods did so back in 2006 and 2007. Of course, ratings will be up this week as Woods is back in the fold for the first time since last February.

Below, we take a wider look at five players who look like good picks this week in our PGA Pick ‘Em Contest.

The Favorites

Justin Thomas (11/2): The No. 3 player in the world arrives in New Providence with the best odds of anyone in the field. This will be Thomas’ first start in over a month, his last performance netting a victory at The CJ Cup in late October.

Patrick Reed (20/1): Reed is due for a breakout performance after missing the cut earlier this month at the OHL Classic. Albany’s setup fits him nicely and that should result in lots of circles on his card throughout the week.

The Georgia product finished 10th here a year ago, but bested that in 2015, placing second with a 65-66-66 finish.

The Contenders

Kevin Kisner (25/1): Kisner has risen to a top-25 world ranking, and he provides some good value here at 25/1. He recently returned from a long break to post a fourth-place finish at Sea Island, the PGA’s pre-Thanksgiving stop.

Look for Kisner to build on that showing that featured all four rounds of 68 or lower.

Tommy Fleetwood (28/1): Fleetwood has gone back into the shadows after a 2017 season that saw two victories on the European Tour and three top 10s on the PGA.

Nevertheless, the Englishman should thrive at this links-style course and play well above his listed odds.

The Darkhorse

Kevin Chappell (33/1): Some nice value here on Chappell at 33/1. The UCLA-product has one top-20 finish in just two starts this season, and he boasts the ability to putt with more than just one club.

The Tiger

Tiger Woods (33/1): Even if we don’t have enough confidence in Woods to list him above, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the return of one of the game’s greatest players.
Woods will tee it up this week for the first time since February, when he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Open after an opening round 77.

He returns following a lengthy recovery, and most bookmakers aren’t predicting that return to be successful (at least initially). Woods enters the tournament he hosts annually with the worst odds of anyone in the field at 33/1.

If his peers are to be believed, however, we could be in for a bit of a surprise. Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon, all of which have played practice rounds with Woods recently, have noted how impressed they are with his game and length off the tee.

Whatever happens on the course this weekend, there’s no denying that having Woods back in tournament play is exciting.

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