Defending champion Viktor Hovland of Norway took the challenge and made like tournament host Tiger Woods.
The 25-year-old Hovland closed with a 3-under-par 69 and held off second-ranked Scottie Scheffler for the second straight year, this time by two strokes, to capture the 23rd Hero World Challenge at Albany Resort in New Providence, The Bahamas.
Hovland joined Woods as the only players to win the tournament in back-to-back years.
“It was a lot more stressful than it should have been,” said Hovland, who took a five-shot lead to the back nine in the final round. “Leading by five after the turn, you’re just never that comfortable. It was frickin’ nerve-wracking. I didn’t play all that great on the back nine but it was good enough.
“That’s pretty bad ass (to match Woods). I’m just happy he didn’t play the last two years. It’s an amazing event and to win his event obviously is very special. The short career that I’ve had, I’ve tended to play very well later in the year and earlier in the year. The next goal is to try keep playing like this throughout the year.
“It’s fun to end the year with a win and kind of sit on the couch for a couple weeks with a smile on your face.”
Hovland, who claimed his seventh victory as a professional, made three birdies on the back nine and sank a clutch 20-foot bogey putt on the last hole while Scheffler was still looking at a par putt that could have forced a playoff but missed, and Hovland finished with a score of 16-under 272.
Scheffler, who could have taken the No. 1 world ranking from Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland with a victory, eagled the sixth hole but fell five down with a double-bogey 7 on the ninth, before he rallied with four of his six birdies on the back nine in a 68.
“Yeah, it was definitely a fun year,” said Scheffler, the reigning Masters champion who won four times during the 2022 season while also finishing second three times and holding the No. 1 ranking for 30 weeks. “I accomplished a lot, and it was definitely a lot of fun for my family, my coach and everybody who has been a part of my golf career.
“I said earlier in the week that I don’t like finishing second. It’s not a good feeling right now, but I’m proud of the fight.”
Cameron Young, the 2021-22 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, had five birdies and a bogey in a 68 and was four shots behind in third, followed another stroke back by sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who birdied five of the first 11 holes in another 68, eighth-ranked Justin Thomas, who rattled off five birdied on the back nine in a 70 to wind up six behind, and 10th-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who was seven down in sixth after three birdies on each nine in another 70.
Tony Finau wound up 10 down in seventh after making five birdies and a bogey in a 68, while fifth-ranked Jon Ram of Spain birdied four of the first seven holes in a 71 to wind up 11 behind in a tie for eight with Sungjae Im of South Korea, who birdied the last hole for a 68, and 20-year-old Tom Kim of South Korea, who birdied the last hole for a 69 to finish 12 strokes down in a tie for 10th with Sepp Straka of Austria, who eagled No. 15 in a 71.
Tenth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England tied for 13th after making six birdies and a bogey in a 67.
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