Tiger Woods hosts the Hero World Challenge this week in the Bahamas with the annual tournament featuring an elite, limited field.

The action gets underway a day early on Wednesday to give the players more time to travel and prepare for next week’s Presidents Cup in Australia. All of the USA team, with the exception of Dustin Johnson after his late injury withdrawal, are competing in the 18-man event.

This is the fifth edition of the Hero World Challenge to be held at Albany and the 7,309-yard par 72 undoubtedly favours longer hitters. The course can be overpowered and is unusual, in that it has five par fives and five par threes. Scoring is often very low with wind the main defence at the exposed layout.

Woods will have his supporters at 9/1 after his superb performance on his comeback last month to win the ZOZO Championship in Japan. But the US Presidents Cup playing captain has plenty to distract him over the next fortnight and his modest course record, no better than ninth, suggests he could be worth swerving.

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 14: Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot from the fifth tee during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

 

Rahm ready to defend title

Jon Rahm won the Hero World Challenge last year and there is every chance of a successful title defence this week.

The powerful Spaniard reached 20-under-par in his four-shot victory 12 months ago in his tournament debut. Albany is absolutely made for Rahm, with his huge driving and towering iron shots attacking the par fives. It is a course he destroyed last year and returns in even better form.

Rahm comes in off back-to-back victories and a third successive win looks on the cards. The 25-year-old produced a dominant title defence to win the Open de Espana by five shots in October.

A six-week break followed but Rahm seamlessly returned to his unstoppable form, winning the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai.

The world number three is playing the best golf of his career and will want to send a message to his rivals about his major prospects in 2020. Rahm can obliterate Albany again and is a confident selection at 4/1.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 24: Jon Rahm of Spain poses with the DP World Tour Championship trophy and the Race to Dubai trophy following his victory during Day Four of the DP World Tour Championship Dubai at Jumerirah Golf Estates on November 24, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

 

Simpson poised for success

With Rahm dominating the staking plan, there is room for one more bet with Webb Simpson backed to contend for the title in the Bahamas.

Simpson has become one of the most consistent players in the world and the American should produce another excellent performance on his course debut. Few players come in with better recent form, with Simpson seventh in his season opener in Las Vegas and runner-up a couple of weeks ago at the RSM Classic.

Simpson did very little wrong at Sea Island, with a play-off defeat denying him his sixth PGA Tour title. The 2012 US Open champion is 38-under-par for his eight rounds this season and will head to Albany expecting to challenge for top spot.

Simpson is not a powerful ball striker but significantly leads the way in the par five scoring average standings. With five on offer each day this week, the 34-year-old can go low at Albany.

Rahm is a worthy favourite but Simpson looks a strong each-way addition at 12/1.

Jon Rahm to win

Webb Simpson Each Way

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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