NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas — It wasn’t the Masters, nor the Zozo Championship, nor even the Hero World Challenge. But Tiger Woods lifted a trophy on Monday in the Bahamas nonetheless. Woods throttled the competition in a six-man exhibition at a local resort, holding off Jordan Spieth in the final of the inaugural “Hero Shot” competition.
Woods, who hosts this week’s Hero World Challenge at nearby Albany Golf Club, spent the afternoon practicing before heading some 25 minutes down the road to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, an upscale resort and casino with a number of amenities including one very long pool. That “Reflections Pool” served as the centerpiece of Monday afternoon’s competition, where Woods and five competitors — Spieth, Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm and Henrik Stenson — fired wedge shots at a target 132 yards away, complete with bullseye-style target and corresponding points. Music blared while a cheering crowd looked on and took in the play-by-play commentary of Mike Antolini, VP of Championships for Woods’ TGR brand.
In the first round, there were three head-to-head matchups: Stenson took down Rahm, Spieth beat Woodland and Woods beat DeChambeau. Woods and Spieth then edged out Stenson to advance to the finale, a head-to-head matchup with six shots to each player. Before Spieth hit his first shot, he proposed they add a wrinkle: the first shot would have to draw over the trees on the right, and the second shot would have to cut over the left trees in order to count.
Then he realized what he’d done. “Great, just challenged the best ball-striker this game has ever seen,” he said with regret.
Sure enough, after Spieth posted a respectable 900-point round (the outer ring was 100, then 200, then 500 closest to the bullseye) Woods went to work. He got to 900 points in five shots, needing a final shot anywhere in the target to claim the win. Using a 50-degree wedge, he nearly holed it, earning 500 points (with a final ball multiplier) to win 1900-900.
Woods noted in his post-round interview that he’d have plenty of bragging rights for the group’s 20-hour flight to Australia for next week’s Presidents Cup — but Spieth didn’t qualify for this year’s team. Woods will have to gloat in his absence.
Taking anything predictive away from a swimming pool exhibition seems unwise, except to say that Woods looked healthy, comfortable and in full control of his golf ball — all good signs in a strange environment.
“Does this count as 83?” he asked in a victorious Twitter post.
Thank you to @b_dechambeau, @JordanSpieth, @GaryWoodland, @henrikstenson and @JonRahmpga for coming out to the #HeroShot, and to @HeroMotoCorp for making all of this possible. Does this count as 83? pic.twitter.com/rNbfL8LdzB
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) December 3, 2019
No, Tiger. 83 isn’t coming this week. But the sight of Woods lifting a trophy is becoming all the more common again.
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