The final PGA event of the calendar year tees off Thursday morning from the Bahamas. The Hero World Challenge features a field of only 18 golfers, so choose wisely. The small field still includes many of the best players in the world, with more top names than we’ve seen in one place basically since the FedEx Cup Playoffs ended. Here are a few to target as you begin to build your rosters for this weekend. Good luck.
Jordan Spieth ($11,200) – While no one has a lot of experience on the course this weekend, with a few exceptions, it was designed as a links-style challenge when it first opened and that style of play remains, even if some holes have been lengthened to account for the pros showing up this weekend. Spieth’s game might not seem like the most natural fit for a links course, but he has the power and accuracy to cut corners, to find windows where other players can’t and to create scoring opportunities where they are not supposed to exist. He demonstrated this (and so much more) last season with his T4 at the Open Championship, and is coming off a stellar T2 performance at the Australian Open last weekend, so you don’t have to worry about rust or anything else impacting his effectiveness.
Justin Rose ($9,800) – Rose is one of two golfers on hand this weekend who actually owns a home on the Albany Championship Golf Course in the Bahamas. At a resort hosting its first professional event, you have to assume the course experience is going to give these guys an obvious leg up. Rose has three finishes in a row inside the top-25, including a win in Hong Kong and a T7 at the BMW Masters.
Rickie Fowler ($9,100) – He hasn’t played in a PGA event in almost a month, carding a T17 at the HSBC Championship last time out. But this is a player who finished last season – in case you’ve forgotten – with a win, a T4 and a T12 against the stiffest competition you can find. He has the chops to just outplay everyone else here – he doesn’t have to wait for the top few players to falter.
Patrick Reed ($8,800) – Put simply, Patrick Reed is on fire. Since the end of the 2015 season, he has four appearances, but only two sanctioned by the PGA Tour. He has finished inside the top ten in all of them. Throughout a T3 at the Hong Kong Open, a T7 at the WGC-HSBC Champions, a solo-2nd at the BMW Masters and a T10 in Dubai two weeks ago, he has only shot one round over par. He has at least one round of 65 or lower in all four of those appearances, and has the track record for you to feel comfortable that he can keep it up, even against a stacked field.
Adam Scott ($8,300) – The second golfer on the list who owns a home on the course, he also has shown a liking for links-style courses throughout his career, so he should have double the advantage this weekend. He is coming off a final-round 65 at the Australian Masters last weekend that brought him to T2, and he is skipping this weekend’s Australian PGA, a sign of just how much he wants to play in this tournament.
J.B. Holmes ($7,300) – Holmes hasn’t played since the Presidents’ Cup, but there is nothing wrong with a little break from the action every now and then. He ended last season with a bang, with a T4 at the BMW Championship and a T8 at the season-ending Tour Championship, proving that he has the consistency to perform well enough to make it all the way through the playoffs and the skills to compete with the most elite players in the world.
Chris Kirk ($6,700) – The second-lowest ranked player at the event this weekend, he played well at the RSM Classic two weeks ago. He had been struggling with his irons in the tournaments leading up to the RSM, but that weekend he seemed to right himself. He finished T18, but it was the way he did it that impressed – he did it by shooting a 65 on Sunday. Anyone who can put up 13 holes under par and only three bogeys is a good tournament play option… especially when he is the cheapest option on the board.