Tiger returns to golf for 2014 Hero World Challenge
The 2014 Hero World Challenge travels to Isleworth Golf & Country Club, Dec. 3-7, welcoming an elite 18-player field that includes five-time champion and host Tiger Woods, defending champion Zach Johnson, 2014 Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson and an impressive roster of players from both sides of the 2014 Ryder Cup.
“We are thrilled about the depth and talent of our field, and I’m looking forward to another exciting year of competition at Isleworth, a course I love,” Woods said. “It’s great to welcome Hero Motocorp as the tournament’s title sponsor. Their global presence will elevate our event to the next level.”
The Hero World Challenge is a four-round, 72-hole stoke-play event with a $3.5 million purse and players competing for a $1 million winner’s share. The unique showcase, which awards Official World Golf Ranking points, will be held at the challenging par-72, 7,354-yard Isleworth Golf & Country Club for the first time in the tournament’s 16-year history.
The field of 18 PGA TOUR players is determined as follows: the current four major winners, the top 11 available from the Official World Golf Ranking, the defending champion and two special-exemption players. This year’s special exemptions are Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley.
The 2014 field includes:
Name, Official World Golf Ranking as of 9/15/2014, Country
Henrik Stenson (4), Sweden
Jim Furyk (5), USA
Justin Rose (6), England
Bubba Watson (7), USA
Jason Day (8), Australia
Matt Kuchar (9), USA
Rickie Fowler (10), USA
Jordan Spieth (13), USA
Billy Horschel (14), USA
Tiger Woods (15), USA
Zach Johnson (16), USA
Graeme McDowell (18), Northern Ireland
Jimmy Walker (19), USA
Hideki Matsuyama (20), Japan
Hunter Mahan (21), USA
Chris Kirk (22), USA
Steve Stricker (25), USA
Keegan Bradley (26), USA
BY THE NUMBERS
As of 10/14/2014:
• 166 PGA TOUR wins
• 21 major championship wins
• 18 players
• 12 times Furyk will have competed in the Hero World Challenge
• 6 countries represented, including 13 players from the United States
• 5 times Woods has hoisted the Tiger trophy
• 4 past Hero World Challenge champions
• 1 player from Japan (Matsuyama), which is the first time a Japanese player has competed in the Hero World Challenge
RYDER CUP PLAYERS BACK FOR GLOBAL EVENT
Nine players from this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team and assistant captain Stricker will compete alongside three of Team Europe’s winning players. Notable scorers from both squads include McDowell (3-0-0), Rose (3-0-2), Stenson (3-1-0) and Spieth (2-1-1).
PAST CHAMPIONS LOOK TO DEFEND
Defending champion Johnson will seek his second consecutive Hero World Challenge title, but he will have plenty of competition as five-time and two-time champions, Woods and McDowell, respectively, return to the field. Furyk, the 2009 champion, will compete in the Hero World Challenge for the 12th time.
ON THE RETURN
Among the field are a handful of players who will seek the title at Isleworth after past success at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, previous home to the Hero World Challenge. Kuchar and Watson tied for third at the 2013 tournament, while Bradley finished second in 2012. The 2012 competition also included a three-way tie for fourth between Furyk, Fowler and Woods.
The 2014 Hero World Challenge field boasts seven players with a total of 21 major championships on their résumés. Woods’ decorated career tops the list at 14 major victories as he continues vying for Jack Nicklaus’ record. Watson is the most recent major champion in the field with his second Masters Tournament win in April.
The tournament’s youngest players — Spieth, Matsuyama and Fowler — each have one PGA TOUR victory to their résumés. The 2014 event will be Spieth’s second time competing in Tiger’s tournament and Fowler’s third, while Matsuyama will be the first player in the Hero World Challenge’s history to hail from Japan.
Success in the 2013-14 season brought newcomers to the Hero World Challenge field, topped by Horschel, who won the FedExCup Playoffs behind the strength of two playoff events (BMW Championship and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola) and vaulted his place in the Official World Golf Ranking. Kirk also collected two victories this past season, with an early win at The McGladrey Classic and a late push at the Deutsche Bank Championship. At No. 1 in the FedExCup Rankings for the majority of the season, Walker took advantage of the early tournaments with wins at the Frys.com Open, Sony Open in Hawaii and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
In 2013, Johnson forced a playoff with five-time Hero World Challenge champion Woods after he holed out a 58-yard shot from the drop zone on No. 18 at Sherwood Country Club. He then secured the victory when Woods lipped out a five-foot par putt on the playoff hole. The two previously dueled in 2011, when Johnson fell to Woods by one stroke. This year’s winner will join a prestigious list of past champions including Davis Love III (2000), Padraig Harrington (2002), Luke Donald (2005), Vijay Singh (2008), Furyk (2009) and McDowell (2010, 2012).