[PHOTO: Mike Ehrmann]
Tiger Woods announced the field for the 2023 Hero World Challenge overnight, Australian time, and at the end of the impressive list that includes eight of the top-10 ranked players in the world was “TBA tournament exemption”. Could that spot be for the tournament host himself?
It would seem to be a possibility, though Woods has not indicated anything yet. He hasn’t played in a tournament since April’s Masters, after which he underwent ankle surgery. Speculation about Woods possibly playing at the Hero in the Bahamas from November 30 to December 3 (the same dates as the Australian Open), heated up when he was videoed hitting a shot on The Hay course at Pebble Beach while he hosted his TGR Jr Invitational:
— TGR Live (@TGRLiveEvents) October 7, 2023
Woods last played in the 2019 Hero after the season of his fifth Masters victory and finished fourth. The 2020 event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Woods didn’t compete the past two years.
Whether Woods plays or not, the Hero will again have a star-studded field of 20 players, including world No.1 Scottie Scheffler and No.4 Viktor Hovland, who is the event’s two-time defending champion.
Hovland will be joined by two other winning Ryder Cup members for Europe, Sepp Straka and Matt Fitzpatrick, while there will be 11 of the 12 U.S. team members: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns, Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman. The only American absent will be LIV Golf’s Brooks Koepka. Harman and Clark, who won the Open Championship and U.S. Open, respectively, this season, are making their Hero debuts.
Will Zalatoris is in the field and will make his first start since back surgery in April. The others competing are Cameron Young, Keegan Bradley, Tony Finau and – in an interesting addition for Australian golf fans – Jason Day. The two players not entered from the world top 10 are Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.