2021 Hero World Challenge picks, field grade, odds, golf predictions, bets bets at Albany Golf Course

One week has elapsed since the PGA Tour’s official calendar year ended, and there’s already another event. It happens to be a good one as the 2021 Hero World Challenge takes place in the Bahamas with Tiger Woods as host and many of the best golfers in the world — including Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa — in attendance.This is the last event of 2021 for pretty much everyone in this field and our last chance to see the best in the world until Kapalua and the Tournament of Champions in a month. Morikawa in particular has an opportunity to close the year strong as the world’s top golfer, while there’s a solid purse on the line for a limited field. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s contest with odds provided via Caesars Sportsbook.Event informationEvent: Hero World Challenge | Dates: Dec. 2-5Location: Albany Golf Course — Albany, New Providence, BahamasPar: 72 | Purse: $3.5 millionThree things to know1. No. 1 watch: Morikawa has a chance to end what has been a dream two years by becoming the No. 1-ranked golfer on the planet this weekend. He has to win to dethrone Jon Rahm and become the 25th golfer to reach world No. 1, but that’s basically all he’s done since he turned pro. He’s done it three times so far this year, including an Open Championship victory (his second major win) and the DP World Tour Championship in his last start on the European Tour two weeks ago. Of the golfers in this field, only Viktor Hovland has been a better ball-striker over the last 12 months. Morikawa has a wider performance variance than almost everyone in this field, which can lead to some poor performances, but it’s also the very thing that allows him to win so often against the rest of the best in the world.

2. Bryson’s year ends: I was recently going back through everything significant that happened in 2021, and it’s amazing to see how much of it DeChambeau has been involved in despite only winning one time at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. Other than the World Long Drive Championship and that nine-hole match against Brooks Koepka the day after Thanksgiving, we haven’t seen him in an official capacity since the Ryder Cup. However, we have a ton of evidence from the last few years that when he shows up stuff just … happens. I’m not sure he’s owned this year like he maybe thought he would, but it would be pretty fascinating to see the hype machine start whirring a bit for 2022 if he went out and won this thing by five strokes.3. Tiger week: In a lot of ways, this week is as much about Woods’ first public appearance since his car wreck back in February as it is the golf itself. That will certainly garner more intrigue and interest early in the week than whoever is in the mix come Sunday afternoon. This has, unfortunately, become a bit of a tradition. This is not the first time we’ve seen Woods address the media in Albany in the middle of a recovery from some type of completely debilitating injury. This time, though, more time has elapsed since the last time we heard him officially speak in the public arena — on the CBS broadcast with Jim Nantz during the final round of the Genesis Invitational — than any other time before it. His comments from a Tuesday press conference will be the focus for most of the rest of the week.Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter, Greg DuCharme and Mark Immelman to preview the 2021 Hero World Challenge, discuss the latest in Tiger Woods news and reflect on the legacy of Lee Elder. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Grading the fieldOther than Sam Burns, everyone in this field has been on either a Ryder Cup team or a Presidents Cup team, and 14 of the 20 played at Whistling Straits just two months ago. Only Henrik Stenson is ranked outside the top 50 in the world, and only Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Stenson are even outside the top 25. Six of the top 10 in the world and 19 major championships combined by the 20 golfers in the field. That’s pretty impressive. Grade: A2021 Hero World Challenge picks

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