2023 Hero World Challenge Odds, Golf Course Preview, Betting Card: Tiger Woods Is Back
The 2023 PGA TOUR season may be over now, but the top players in the world will still be teeing it up in Albany with OWGR ranking points at stake. The 2023 Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course, hosted by Tiger Woods, is next on tap. Find PGA TOUR golf odds at the best betting sites to increase your potential Hero World Challenge payouts. Viktor Hovland, Scottie Scheffler, and Max Homa project as the top favorites for this upcoming tournament.
Just when you thought the 2023 PGA TOUR season was over, we returned from Thanksgiving with a little bit more on the plate. We are back for seconds with a little more meat on the bone for the 2023 Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in Nassau, The Bahamas.
The 2023 PGA TOUR season is in fact complete, but although there are no FedEx Cup points up for grabs, there’s plenty at stake still for this field of 20 players who will be vying for OWGR points and a share of the increased $4.75M purse.
This week, Tiger Woods () is the headliner, hosting and making his first return to competitive golf since the 2023 Masters. This will be Tiger’s first time playing at Albany since December 2019 where he finished in 4th place. Tiger has five career wins at this event, though all have come between 2001 and 2011 at its previous host course, Sherwood Country Club.
2023 HERO WORLD CHALLENGE Odds: The FAVORITES
Here are the four players in the field with odds shorter than +1000. Scroll to the bottom to compare sportsbook odds.
2023 HERO WORLD CHALLENGE: The field
It is a small but mighty field in store for the 2023 Hero World Challenge. Just 20 players received an invitation for this event, making it the smallest field of the PGA TOUR season. The event will be a standard 72-hole no cut.
Tiger Woods is, of course, the headlining name in the field this week as the tournament host will make his first Hero World Challenge start in four years and his first PGA TOUR start since the Masters seven months ago. Aside from Woods, all other 19 players in the field fall inside the OWGR top-40. Will Zalatoris will also notably make his first start since March 2023 after returning from injury.
Looking at the top of the odds board, it’s Viktor Hovland who’s ascended as the favorite. He’ll make his first PGA TOUR start since winning the TOUR Championship but has kept sharp since with top-5 finishes in both of his DP World Tour starts this Fall. Hovland has been flawless at Albany Golf Club, chasing a three-peat this week after winning this event in both 2021 and 2022. Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, and Collin Morikawa join as the top favorites. 2017 champion Rickie Fowler joins Hovland as the only other past winner of the Hero World Challenge in the field since its move to Albany in 2015.
INTRODUCTION TO THE HERO WORLD CHALLENGE AT ALBANY
The Hero World Challenge is a unique contradiction to the PGA TOUR’s meritocratic stance in light of its ongoing feud with LIV golf. Like LIV, the Hero World Challenge is a small field, no-cut event with ambiguous qualification criteria where the purse is the primary stakes of the event.
The PGA TOUR does have other small-field, no-cut events on the schedule, like the TOUR Championship, but the Hero World Challenge lacks a clear qualification framework where anyone who plays well enough over the course of the year can qualify. After many years of applying, the Hero World Challenge has successfully earned OWGR qualification, with 30 points up for grabs for the event winner. For context, Erik van Rooyen received 30 OWGR points for his full-field win at the Worldwide Technologies Championship last month.
From a handicapping standpoint, The Hero World Challenge is indeed a challenge. During this in-between stage of the PGA TOUR schedule, the motivations of the game’s best are put into question. In 2021, for example, Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson were assessed a two-stroke penalty for hitting from the wrong tee box, with Spieth commenting (in jest) after the round, “I didn’t think we were going to get penalized because it’s a charity event”.
So, if you do decide to bet on this event, it’s best to start by evaluating who here is motivated to win versus who is just happy to sip some Mai Tais in the company of Tiger Woods at a beautiful resort in the Bahamas.
How It Breaks Down
Albany is a 7,449 par-72 with a unique mix of five par-5s, five par-3s, and eight par-4s. With three par-5s measuring over 590 yards and four par-4s playing over 470 yards, there’s plenty of length to this course that will put some emphasis on long-iron play. Recently, about 50 yards have been added across holes No. 1 and No. 9 by way of new tee boxes to create new angles compared to past years.
As a resort course in Nassau, The Bahamas, coastal winds will play a factor. The course is heavily bunkered with a complement of natural waste areas lining the fairways that will emphasize Driving Accuracy. Despite its exposure to coastal winds, scoring has been notably consistent here. Over the last six years, the winning score has fallen around -18, with the field median score of -10.
Course History & Key Stats
Viktor Hovland has emerged as a clear horse for the course, winning this event in each of his first two appearances in 2021 and 2022. Hovland has credited his strengths of keeping the ball in play off the tee, flighting approach shots beneath the coastal winds, and lack of complexity around the greens as keys to his success at Albany Golf Course.
Looking down the list of past winners, it’s difficult to draw any trends from player profiles, with bombers and plodders each finding repeated success. If there is a trend, it would be the correlation of repeat names who’ve found success here and at The Masters and WM Phoenix Open. Par-5 Scoring and double-bogey avoidance are two crucial stats at Albany, along with these comp courses.
In lieu of building out a model, I’ll be looking for players who pass the eye test as good Total Drivers to avoid the constant lateral waste areas, performance in comp conditions like TPC Scottsdale, Sea Island, and TPC Summerlin, and subjectively finding the players who are here on a business trip for the OWGR points and not just here for a hit and giggle in The Bahamas.
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ALBANY GOLF COURSE SPECS
- Yards: 7,449
- Par: 72 (5x 3s / 8x 4s / 5x 5s)
- Greens: Bermuda
- Average Green Size: 4,500 sq. ft. (smaller-than-average)
- Comp Courses: Sea Island, TPC Scottsdale, TPC Summerlin, PGA National, The Summit Club, Coco Beach
- Recent Winners: Viktor Hovland -16 (’22), Viktor Hovland -18 (’21), Henrik Stenson -18 (’20), Jon Rahm -20 (’19), Rickie Fowler -18 (’18), Hideki Matsuyama -18 (’17)
- Hole-by-hole Breakdown:
MY BETTING CARD: HOW I BUILT MY Bets From HERO WORLD CHALLENGE Odds
In a field of 20, I see no value in the prop or FRL markets this week, so instead, I’ve gone with only Outrights on the card, with the usual 3U in to pay out 24U each.
Here is a quick breakdown of the bets I landed on for the 2023 Hero World Challenge. This will be my last card of 2023, with a Year In Review recap article to follow next week. Best of luck with your bets this week!
HERO WORLD CHALLENGE BETS: OUTRIGHTS (3 UNITS)
My Bet: +2000
Best Odds Still Available:
The Hero World Challenge is a party to look forward to at the end of the year, with distractions galore for many top players at this beautiful resort in The Bahamas. For Cameron Young, this has all the makings of a business trip. Young will have something to prove after being left off the Ryder Cup team in September. He’s kept active with two Fall swing starts and has the ball-striking chops to contend on any course, especially one like Albany GC that plays into his par-5 scoring strengths.
Young impressed with a third-place finish in his debut here last year and seems eager to get the monkey off his back as he continues to seek his first professional win. Growing up 100 miles from Albany, New York, this also counts as a de facto home game in Albany, Bahamas.
My Bet: +2500
Best Odds Still Available:
We get an opportunity to buy low on Fowler’s immediate form, as a lackluster showing at the Ryder Cup and T64 finish at the ZOZO Championship are undoubtedly factored into his price. If we look over a long-term sample, however, 2023 proved to be the best Approach season of Fowler’s illustrious career. I don’t believe that form has gone away overnight.
From a comp course perspective, Fowler has always played best in “Dessert Golf” conditions that reward avoiding blowups from natural waste areas surrounding the fairways. He demonstrated that fit at Albany in his 2017 victory, so I like the buy-low value on this great course fit during a resurgent 2023 season for Fowler.
My Bet: +2500
Best Odds Still Available:
Usually, I would avoid a player who’s been on the shelf for more than three months at all costs. But the Hero World Challenge is not a normal event, so I will give Finau a pass at this discount as he prepares to make his first professional start since the TOUR Championship. Not for nothing, the glimpse we caught of Tony Finau during the Netflix Cup escapades led me to believe he’s taken the clubs out of his garage a few times since August.
In all seriousness, I’m drawn to a player like Finau, who continues to come back and compete at this unique event year-over-year. Finau’s finished in the top 10 in his first four appearances, including a runner-up in 2018. He’s always been able to make birdies in bunches and seems to play his best on resort courses with slower greens. His elite ball-striking form has not wavered in 2023, so his ability to contend will continue to hinge on the flat stick.
Best of luck betting Hero World Challenge odds, and be on the lookout for a special post on all the available ways to bet on and against Tiger Woods this week.