There are two events to focus on this week: the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, and the Hero World Challenge in Albany in the Bahamas, featuring the return of Tiger Woods.

Ryan Fox, Michael Hendry and Co are up against Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and others in the PGA, which should provide fascinating afternoon viewing over the next few days, but the golfing world at large will no doubt be following Tiger’s every move in the Hero Challenge after a 10 month absence from competitive golf.

A fascinating weekend before things start to settle down for the Christmas break.

Australian PGA Championship

This tournament is co-sanctioned with the European Tour, so if Michael Hendry (or another New Zealander) wins at Royal Pines over the weekend, we could have three players on the European Tour in 2018.

However, they will have to get past the likes of Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Harold Varner III (defending champion), Mike Weir, Jonas Blixt, Marc Leishman etc, plus a host of the usual Australian suspects and some New Zealanders in very good form.  Overall, the field looks stronger than the Australian Open last week, and the course – depending on the weather – will offer plenty of challenges as well.

Ten of our players are in the field: Brad Shilton, Michael Long, David Smail, Daniel Pearce, Ben Campbell, Ryan Fox, Mark Brown, Kieran Muir and Josh Geary.

Ryan Fox plays with Lucas Herbert and Jason Scrivener in the first two rounds; Michael Hendry is alongside Scott Henry and Fiji International winner Jason Norris, and Josh Geary has drawn the last tee time of the day, and will be bringing in the nearest the pin flags….

Recent rain has seen the rough grow at this 6,734 metre Graham Marsh re-designed layout, which proved a tough test two years ago when no player broke par.  Conditions were much more benign last year when Harold Varner III won with -19.  This year’s winning score is likely to be somewhere between these extremes.

Coverage starts on SS 52 from 2.00pm Thursday.

Meanwhile in the Bahamas…

Tiger is back, reportedly with a good back and swinging well enough to knock it past Dustin Johnson on occasions.  If he is physically sorted out, then there is just the matter of the lack of competitive golf and perhaps a few other issues to deal with.

The Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas with its 18 man field is certainly a user friendly way for Tiger to ease his way back onto the Tour, and there will be massive interest in how he performs.

The bookies are cynical about how he will go in 2018, with generous odds against him recording any victories, and even on him making many cuts.

Time will tell, but it would be a major boost to golf if Tiger was to return and show his ability to still be in contention for PGA Tour honours.

And then there is the question of the remaining four Majors he needs to win to equal Jack Nicklaus….