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Hero World Challenge 2017 - Preview

The the only show in town this week, metaphorically speaking, is the long-awaited return of 14-time major champion Tiger Woods at his foundation's Hero World Challenge event in The Bahamas.

Much has been written - some of it by us - of the great man's impending return to the game and it has the golfing world abuzz with anticipation.

Let's help build up to proceedings this week by pulling together a preview (of sorts).

Tiger Watch

Nine months since his last professional outing at the Dubai Desert Classic, Tiger Woods will appear on the competitive stage once again.

We've been here before, of course. Just twelve months ago we were all speculating what evidence Tiger's appearance at the 2016 event would provide to suggest he was ready to compete with the world's elite and return to a full-time PGA Tour schedule.

Catch Tiger's highlights from the 2016 event below:

Back then, he was ending a 16-month hiatus from the game and, despite managing to record the most birdies over the four days of play, Tiger finished bottom of the 18-man field.

The early suggestions are that he will be in better physical shape after a fourth back surgery earlier this year. The man himself has remarked on his ability to swing pain-free, so only time will tell whether he can stay healthy and put together an arsenal of shots which will see him compete once again.

Field Watch

It may feel a little like this is a one-man show, but that is far from the case. With 18 of the world's best golfers on show - including the reigning U.S. Open champion (Brooks Kopeka), Open champion (Jordan Spieth) and PGA champion (Justin Thomas) - it is clear to see that we are in for a veritable feast of great golf.

With his win in 2016, Hideki Matsuyama maintained a purple patch of performances as we saw the Japanese superstar record his fourth win in five professional tournaments. He would carry this form into the New Year, taking the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February.

You can catch a recap of Hideki's below:

Perhaps, then, in trying to select a winner of this week's Hero World Challenge, we should be looking for a player who is undoubtedly in-form.

Scratch out Tiger immediately, and put a line through Fleetwood who, despite a glorious Race to Dubai win, isn't playing to his impressive best. We can also rule out the current world number one Dustin Johnson, though with sizeably less confidence.

There are two stand-out candidates in our eyes:

Justin Thomas

The current PGA Champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year, Thomas has been in impressive form of late. Three wins in his last seven starts see him occupying a career-high position of world number three.

It wouldn't take much imagination to envisage the young Kentuckian accepting the tournament trophy from Woods come Sunday - he is, without doubt, the 'in-form' man on Tour.

Justin Rose

It was almost, but not quite for Rose with his dash to the line during the Race to Dubai climax. Tommy Fleetwood held a colossal points advantage over his compatriot, so for it to come down to a final putt on the final green of the final tournament speaks for Rose's competitive spirit.

Two wins in his last four tournaments, and finishing inside the top-ten in the last eight events is the sort of form that suggests he could be there or thereabouts this week

Are you looking forward to Tiger Woods' return at the Hero World Challenge? Who will take the win? Let us know below.


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