Woods meets new star, Tom Kim as he loses to Fitzpatrick in Hero Shot final
Khel Today Bureau
ALBANY, Bahamas: Tiger Woods did manage a ‘competitive’ swing’ even if it was only in the fun event, “Hero Shot’ ahead of the 2022 Hero World Challenge at the Hero Shot at Albany championship. Woods, however, was eliminated in the early stages of the competition that saw Matt Fitzpatrick beat young debutant Tom Kim, and take the title.
Fitzpatrick, who found a bullseye hit on the tricky, 87-yard shot into the wind, beat Tom ‘Joohyung’ Kim, about whom Woods was gushing while talking about new heroes in world golf.
Woods said, “To be honest, I’ve never met him. I’m curious, because I wasn’t at the President’s cup when he played and I didn’t. I didn’t play anything, where he was playing except at the British Open this year, but we’re (playing at) different times on opposite sides of the wave (draw). So I’ve never got a chance to see him in person or meet him or shake his hand. I’m looking forward to this year welcoming to the Hero World Challenge. And thank him for playing.”
After the Hero Shot, he met Tom Kim, shook hands with him finally and got to see a few shots at the exhibition event.
At the Hero Shot, a popular fun event before the main Championship, Fitzpatrick beat a star-studded field competing. The event also featured tournament host Woods. The others were Justin Thomas, Max Homa, Tommy Fleetwood, Billy Horschel and Kim as they took aim at a floating target in the pond between the ninth and 18th greens.
The first round of the Hero Shot featured each player taking six shots at the target, with balls landing in an outer ring worth 250 points; those coming to rest in the inner circle worth 500 and any ball splashing down in the two-foot-diameter cup worth 1,000. The sixth ball in each round – the “Hero ball” – was worth double points.
Fitzpatrick (1,500 points), Kim (1,250) and Homa (1,000) advanced through the first round. In the second round, Fitzpatrick and Kim were the toppers and made the Championship round. In the Championship round, Fitzpatrick again made a big splash with his second dunk of the day to secure the title, presented by Dr Pawan Munjal, Chairman and CEO of Hero MotoCorp.
Woods wants Rankings system ‘fixed’; praises McIlroy, Rahm
Woods welcomed the 20 players to his tournament and while speaking to the media, he said there was a need to re-look at the Official World Golf Rankings, which has been under fire for the last few weeks.
He said, “Yeah, OWGR, it’s a flawed system. That’s something we all here recognize. The field at Dubai (DP World Tour Championship) got less points than Sea Island (RSM Classic on the PGA Tour) and more of the top players were there in Dubai, so obviously there’s a flawed system. How do you fix it? Those are the meetings we’re going to have to have.
“I remember when I had a big lead in my career. I didn’t have to play a single tournament the next year and I still would be ranked No. 1. We changed that system then. So it has been changed in the past and I’m sure this will be changed hopefully soon.”
Dr Pawan Munjal, a keen golfer added, “India’s young star, Yuvraj Sandhu has won some five events on the Indian Tour, but has barely got any points. That’s kind of flaws that need to be changed in the system.”
Woods was also all praise for Rory McIlroy and other players. Talking about McIlroy, he added, “I think what Rory has done, as you know, what he’s done as a leader off the golf course has been exceptional. People don’t see him in the boardrooms, like I have and see what he’s doing behind closed doors.
“The respect level that he’s earned through his play, but now on a higher level, because of what he’s shown us in the boardrooms and FaceTime; the type of leader is and then also some other players are now starting to find their way.”
“You know, Jon Rahm just had a second child. (He was) Getting used to the first one (and) got a second one while trying to figure out sleep. He is also getting better as a player and getting to his prime.
“JT (Justin Thomas) showed a few things; it was neat to see Jordan win this year. And then new young players like Tom (Kim) can basically come out of nowhere and that’s what’s going to happen to you with the fields getting so much younger guys understand that they can win right away. We need to provide them access to our tour so that they can display that because they can do it at an early age.”