The luxurious resort of Albany takes centre stage in The Bahamas where 20 elite pros seek one big final pay day in 2021. Course and current form stats by Andy Swales...
"New father Jordan Spieth may feel more rejuvenated than most, heading to a venue where he finished 4th-6th-3rd from 2015 to 2017."
The lucrative Hero World Challenge takes place this week in The Bahamas, following a year's absence due to Covid.
This traditional end-of-year tournament, in which even the player who finishes last pockets at least $100k for their efforts, does not carry any FedEx Cup points and is largely viewed as an exhibition event.
It is an opportunity for some big names to enjoy another sizeable pay-day before the arrival of the Festive Period.
For 2021, the field has increased in size from 18 to 20 and will once again be staged at the luxurious holiday resort of Albany.
Of the 20 pros taking part, all but two are ranked inside the world's top-30, with the exceptions being Justin Rose (47) and defending champion from 2019 Henrik Stenson (182).
At this time of year, many pros have mentally switched off, preparing to wind down ahead of the Christmas celebrations.
Because of this, it's rarely an easy tournament to predict.
Four of the five previous champions at Albany have made strong starts to this event, which has probably helped to keep them motivated for the remaining 54 holes.
New father Jordan Spieth may feel more rejuvenated than most, heading to a venue where he finished 4th-6th-3rd from 2015 to 2017.
He's also well rested having teed-up just once since the Tour Championship.
As many as nine out of the 20 players will be making their debuts at Albany Resort.
These include Rory McIlroy who suffered a dreadful final round at the recent DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
That round aside he's still playing well but it means another year has passed without adding to his tally of four major titles, the last of which arrived seven years ago.
Of that group of nine Albany rookies, in-form Sam Burns could sign-off a best-ever year which has seen him move from 154 to inside the top 20 of the World Ranking.
It is a year which yielded his first two PGA Tour titles, so the 25-year-old from Louisiana is probably still walking on air and ready to shine once again.
Designed by Ernie Els and opened in 2010, the course has plenty of sand, while combining links and desert features into the same layout.
Albany's Bermuda grass greens are smaller than the PGA Tour average, although its fairways are reasonably generous, with water coming into play on five holes.
This will be the sixth time the tournament has been staged at the Albany Resort, which is located close to the south-east coastline of New Providence Island.
New Providence, the most populated of the islands that make up The Bahamas, is approximately 130 miles from the metropolis of Miami on Florida's south coast.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
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Last 10 Weeks / Albany Form (2015-19)
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