Hero World Challenge

Hero World Challenge

Hero World Challenge
New Providence, Bahamas
Winner: Henrik Stenson

The Hero World Challenge — also known this trip as Captain Tiger Woods and Friends — was the story of three shots. There was the bold shot in the final round that Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, the 2016 Open champion, ought to have hit, and did, and won himself a tournament and $1 million. Then there were the two practice swings Patrick Reed ought not to have taken but did anyway, and they became the practice shots heard around the world — and around and around.

The Hero, at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, also served as the staging event for the next week’s Presidents Cup in Australia. Of the 18 in the field, 11 were on the U.S. Presidents Cup team, including Woods himself, the playing captain. The 12th member, Dustin Johnson, recovering from knee surgery, would join them later.

After sharing the lead in the first round and leading through the second, Reed had stalled out in pars through No. 10 in the third. At the par-five 11th, he was in waste area sand with a ridge of sand behind his ball. A TV replay showed Reed settling his club just behind the ball, then pulling it back, then doing it again. The ridge had been smoothed out. He would be penalized two strokes for improving his lie and shot 74. But many yelled “cheater.”

They were practice swings, he said. “I wasn’t intending to improve a lie or anything like that,” he said. If the episode bothered Reed, it didn’t show in the last round. “Honestly,” he said, “I haven’t been paying attention on what’s been going on in the media.” He notched five birdies coming in for a one-bogey 66 and finished third. Justin Thomas had three birdies and an eagle, then bogeyed 13 and double-bogeyed 18. Gary Woodland, the third-round leader, shot 73. Woods, host and captain, was four under, then couldn’t chip up the slope at the 14th and bogeyed. Defending champion Jon Rahm went on a birdie-eagle-birdie sprint from 14, then stalled out.

Stenson, with Woods the oldest in the field at 43, stayed tight for three rounds (69-67-68), then was in the thick of it with three birdies and a bogey on the front. After birdies at 10 and 13, he eagled the par-five 15th, slashing a five-wood approach from 259 yards to within inches of the hole, and jumped into a one-shot lead. He parred in for his first win in over two years.

“If I can have a wish for next year,” Stenson said, “that would be to put myself in the mix in a couple other majors and see if I can get another one.”


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