2022 Hero World Challenge: Top 10 Power Rankings at Albany

Hero World Challenge, Albany, Bahamas,Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Hero World Challenge, Albany, Bahamas,Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s the silly season in golf in the Western Hemisphere, but there’s some serious talent assembled this week at the 23rd edition of the Hero World Challenge.

It’s Tiger Woods’ tournament that invites the world’s best to compete in a 20-man, 72-hole exhibition. It’s sanctioned by the PGA Tour but did not count toward the money list in the older days and now does not award FedEx Cup points.

Controversially, OWGR points are on the line this week.

LIV backers will certainly take umbrage.

A boatload of cash is on the line for the winner, and for everyone teeing it up in the no-cut event. The purse is $3.5 million with $1 million to the winner and last place still collecting a cool $100,000.

Albany Golf Course in Nassau, Bahamas, is the fourth site to host the Hero and has done so since 2015.

It’s an Ernie Els design that measures 7,309 yards for a par 72. Bermuda grass covers the course, so look for southeastern American players to have a bit more comfortability on the greens.

There’s not much rough and the fairways are wide. Sandy waste areas can lead to some unpredictability if you’re wayward, but recovery shots are not too tricky.

If you want to win, you need to play from the fairway to attack the right portions of the relatively small greens.

It’s not too hilly, either. Tiger Woods is in the field this week competing for the first time since The Open Championship. It’s a good venue for him to get his feet under him.

The weather forecast predicts a windy week with sustained double-digit mile-per-hour winds and gusts over 20-plus. With little to no rain predicted, maybe it gets a little fiery out there.

Let’s dive into who’s got the best chance to end 2022 on a high note.

Hero World Challenge, Albany, PGA Tour, Tiger Woods
Xander Schauffele, 2022 Presidents Cup, Quail Hollow, Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Xander Schauffele has earned the moniker as the king of limited field events, but the magic hasn’t quite applied at the Hero World Challenge.

I like the form we’ve seen out of the X-Man in limited action this fall. I just don’t like his resume at Albany, which is why he isn’t higher than 10th in the power rankings.

In three starts in the Bahamas, Schauffele’s posted T-8th (73-68-66-70) in 2018, T-10th (73-70-70-68) in 2019, and T-12th (70-70-70-68) last year.

Nowhere near DFL, but nowhere near the lead.

Schauffele hasn’t teed it up much this fall, so at least he’ll come to the Hero well-rested.

His only start in the 2022-23 PGA Tour season so far was a good one. Schauffele carded four rounds in the 60s to take T-9th at the ZOZO Championship.

The 29-year-old also did his part to help the Americans win the Presidents Cup. He posted a 3-1-0 record and won his singles match.

Schauffele was one of the hottest players in the world this summer. Four straight top-20s preceded back-to-back wins at the Travelers Championship and Genesis Scottish Open.

Perhaps he peaked just a hair too soon as he could only manage T-15th at St. Andrews in the quest for his first major victory.

Schauffele improved in every shots gained per round category from 2020-21 to 2021-22, except for putting. There, he dipped minimally from 16th (.48) to 32nd (.343). He was eighth in total SG (1.652) and seventh in approach (.701).

Schauffele was also ninth in birdies per round (4.32).