The Hero World Challenge culminated yesterday in the Bahamas and is Tiger Wood’s annual foundation fundraiser tournament with an elite field of only 18 players. 8 players were in the world ranking top 10; 15 players were ranked in the top 28. The only outlier in the field was Tiger Woods who was ranked 1199th entering the tournament.
Rickie Fowler shot a beautiful 61 in the final round to win by 4. Charley Hoffman entered the last round with a 5 shot lead but could only manage an even par 72. Fowler birdied the first 7 holes, turned in 28 in the lead and never looked back. Rickie’s bunker play improved over the last year and was on full display yesterday with a hole out and numerous up-and-downs. His putting was brilliant and he has clearly set expectations for a great 2018 season.
The second story this week was the return of Tiger Woods after recovering from back fusion surgery early this year. It truly seemed like an amazing transformation. Without drinking too much of the Tiger KoolAid, he looked better than he has in years. He even looked better to me than he did in 2013 when he won 5 tournaments. He looked strong, he looked pain free, his power was back, his putting was great, his driving was long and straight. The only area of his game that needed work was his short game. Tiger shot -8 and tied for 9th. This was an excellent showing given the strength-of-field. The golf world was excited about what he showed and certainly this will add excitement in 2018.
For me, if he is healthy and his back doesn’t act up, I believe he will be competitive next year. He definitely could win with the game he demonstrated this week.