Hero World Challenge Predictions
Jon Rahm’s meteoric ascent up the golfing ladder has continued again this season with the Spaniard capping-off a tremendous season with success in the DP World Championship and cementing his position as the Race to Dubai winner and the undoubted MVP of The European Tour.
Rahm has a tremendous record at the event and is the defending champion, but looked weary in Dubai’s closing stages, ultimately scrambling home by a shot having looked likely to blitz his opposition on the back nine.
Those that tend to do well here in The Bahamas tend to have form correlating with The Phoenix Open; Rahm boasts tremendous form at the event and Rickie Fowler is a winner at both – Phoenix in January 2019 and Hero Challenge in December 2017.
Fowler is a fair price at 14/1, having struggled with consistency this term. Fowler, who turns 31 next week, was married earlier in the summer and perhaps took his eye off the ball on course. Nevertheless, he was still able to post top-ten efforts in both The Masters and The Open, and (once again) made the cut in all four majors.
Fowler ranked just 43rd on Tour last season for Par5 scoring, down from 27th and 9th the previous two seasons, and much more is needed for Rickie to return to the winners’ enclosure. There are 5 lengthy Par 5’s at The Albany Golf Course, with this week’s winner likely to have taken fully advantage of the numerous birdie and eagle opportunities.
Rickie’s best friend Justin Thomas ranks 1st for Par 5 scoring on Tour and is priced accordingly in the market, second only to the sublime Rahm. Given his length off the tee it’s surprising to see Patrick Cantlay rank so low but nevertheless I would expect him and compatriots Xander Schaufele and Webb Simpson to go this week.
There is little juice in those markets however, and I much prefer to take a punt on a different pair of Americans with Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar being too big at 28/1 and 30/1 respectively.
Spieth is still seeking the form that brought him three majors inside 18 months but has shown glimpses of promise with a refined swing this term and was a narrow third at the length PGA Championship won by Brooks Koepka at Bethpage. The Texan won this event by 10 strokes in 2014 and is priced too big for a man with spectacular form around the place.
Matt Kuchar is our final selection and is a man that continues to be overlooked by the layers. Kuchar is the ‘Steady Eddie’ of the PGA Tour but remains evergreen and has form figures reading 8-14-8-3-9 here at the last five renewals. ‘Kuch’ looks better than ever at the ripe old age at 41 and is much bigger than his likely chance of winning.