Viktor Hovland survived a nervy finish on his way to back-to-back Hero World Challenge titles as he finished at 16 under for a two-stroke victory.

Hovland defeated Scottie Scheffler by one stroke in last year's edition, and by defending his crown, he joined Tiger Woods (2006 and 2007) as the only other player to win this event in consecutive seasons.

He entered Sunday's play at the Bahamas' Albany Golf Course with a three-stroke buffer, but was made to sweat in the middle stages as playing partner Scheffler eagled the par-five sixth hole to cut the margin to just one.

Scheffler could not keep it up, posting a bogey and a double-bogey to close the front-nine and give Hovland some breathing room. However, he came roaring back down the stretch, with three consecutive birdies on 14, 15 and 16 to pull to within two.

The Norwegian opened the door on the 18th and final hole, with his tee shot finding the rough, before his next shot went in the water, but he was able to pitch and one-putt to save a bogey, meaning Scheffler had to birdie the hole to force a play-off.

Scheffler could not hit the green in regulation to give himself a birdie putt, and lipped out with his chip, finishing with a par to claim the runner-up spot yet again as the world number two shot a 68 while Hovland finished with a 69.

Speaking to NBC after stepping off the final green, Hovland did not hide his relief after surviving his late blunder.

"It's freaking nerve-wracking," he said. "I mean I was leading by five I think after the turn, but still, you're never that comfortable.

"I didn't play all that great on the back-nine, but it was good enough.

"We're at an amazing resort, there's only 20 guys – but it's the best 20 guys in the world, basically."

Cameron Young finished outright third at 12 under, with Xander Schauffele in fifth at 11 under and Justin Thomas rounded out the top five at 10 under.

Rory McIlroy decided to become "a pain in the a**e" for Greg Norman after the LIV Golf chief executive accused him of having been "brainwashed" by the PGA Tour.

The Northern Irishman has been a fierce critic of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed circuit, and was recently joined by Tiger Woods in calling for Norman to leave his role.

McIlroy said last month that Norman must "exit stage left" and that the bitter civil war engulfing the sport would not end "unless there's an adult in the room".

Norman recently opted to continue the duo's war of words when speaking to Today's Golfer, saying he paid "zero attention" to the three-time FedEx Cup champion's opinion.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, McIlroy recalled a positive exchange he had with Norman after watching a documentary focused on the Australian's collapse at the 1986 Masters, where Jack Nicklaus edged him out for a one-shot victory.

"It was a bit of an olive branch," McIlroy said. "He came back to me straight away, [saying] 'I really think golf can be a force for good around the world... I know our opinions are not aligned but I'm just trying to create more opportunities for every golfer around the world.'

"Fine. Really nice. Then, a couple of weeks later, he does an interview with The Washington Post and says I've been brainwashed by the PGA Tour.

"We've had this really nice back-and-forth and he says that about me.

"I thought: 'You know what? I'm going to make it my business now to be as much of a pain in his a**e as possible'."

Home favourite Thriston Lawrence fought back to win the South African Open Championship despite surrendering a five-shot lead with two holes remaining in Sunday's final round.

Lawrence began Sunday with a two-shot advantage at 18-under-par, with Clement Sordet hot on his heels after carding consecutive rounds of 66.

The South African looked to be cruising after moving five shots clear of the Frenchman on the 10th hole, but had to wait until the penultimate hole to secure the win after a series of slip-ups.

Sordet drew level with his rival before dropping a shot by missing a short putt on the 17th, allowing Lawrence to seal the title despite missing the green off the tee in a tense finish.

Lawrence's relief was clear when he spoke after the win, saying: "It's not over until the fat lady sings and I got a little conservative over the closing stretch and it cost me. I managed to hang in there. 

"It's what you strive for and play for every day. Being a kid you dream of this moment. I'm just so pleased, words can't describe it."

The victory represents Lawrence's third on the European Tour, with the 26-year-old having followed up 2021's Joburg Open win by claiming the Omega European Masters title in August.

Jens Fahrbring finished one shot behind Sordet in third, with Matti Schmid three shots further back in fourth. 

Adrian Meronk overhauled Adam Scott to win his second DP World Tour title in five months with victory at the Australian Open.

Meronk trailed Scott by a shot going into the final round at Victoria Golf Course.

But the Pole, who won the Irish Open in July, was superb for the third successive round in Melbourne, his four-under 66 propelling him to triumph.

He made the turn three under for the round and on the back nine bogeys at 13 and 17 were sandwiched by a birdie at 15.

Meronk finished it in style with a stunning eagle putt from the edge of the green that saw him finish 14 under for the tournament.

Scott, who could only manage a level-par 72, was five shots back at nine under.

"To finish like that on the 18th hole, it's unreal," said Meronk. 

"[I] kept doing what I done last two days and just worked pretty well so I'm just super proud of me, proud of my team."

Greg Norman says he pays "zero attention" to Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy after they called for him to be ousted as LIV Golf CEO and commissioner.

Woods this week echoed McIlroy's sentiments that Norman "has to go" in order for the PGA Tour and breakaway series LIV Golf to hold constructive talks, with the two organisations having filed lawsuits against each other.

The legendary American stated: "There is an opportunity out there if both organisations put a stay on their litigation. That's the problem.

"There is no willingness to negotiate if you have litigation against you. I think Greg has to go first of all. It has to start with leadership on their side, understanding that what is happening right now is not the best future for the whole game of golf.

"You need to have the two bodies come together and if one side has so much animosity, trying to destroy our tour, then how do you work with that?"

World number one McIlroy said last month: "I think he [Norman] just needs to exit stage left. He's made his mark but I think now is the right time to sort of say, look, you've got this thing off the ground but no one is going to talk unless there's an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences."

Yet Australian Norman is adamant he will be going nowhere.

"I pay zero attention to McIlroy and Woods, right?" he told Today's Golfer. "They have their agenda for whatever reason. They're saying whatever they want to say.

"It has no bearing or effect on me. I'm going to be with LIV for a long, long period of time."

Norman says he can heal the rifts and is doing a good job.

He said: "Of course it can happen under my leadership. I mean, Tiger might be a messenger, right? Who knows. All I know is we are going to keep doing what we're doing with LIV, and we are just going to keep moving forward."

Norman added: "No matter where I go in the world, nobody - not one person - has said what I'm doing is stupid or wrong."

Reigning champion Viktor Hovland carded a round-of-the-day eight-under-par 64 to pull three shots clear at the Hero World Challenge on Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas on Saturday.

The Norwegian, who was the joint leader after day one and outright leader by one shot at halfway, shot 10 birdies in his stunning third round to open up a three-shot gap on Scottie Scheffler.

Hovland could have been further ahead if not for a bogey on the par-four 18th hole, having managed six birdies in the previous seven holes to card 31 on his back nine. He also bogeyed on the sixth hole.

The reigning champion, who managed eagles in both of his first two days, fired in a dart over the water off the tee on the par-three 17th hole to set up a routine birdie putt.

Hovland leads from world number two Scheffler, who hit 66 on day three, to move up to 10-under overall.

Scheffler buried an eagle putt on the par-five 15th hole to move into solo second, having five birdies for his round, along with a bogey.

Justin Thomas is a further two shots behind Scheffler at eight-under overall, alongside Cameron Young who had been in the four-player pack one stroke behind Hovland at halfway.

Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele are tied at seven under, rounding out those in contention with a big gap to the next best, Jon Rahm who is four-under overall.

Kevin Kisner landed a hole-in-one on the par-three 12th hole to produce the first ace on that hole since the event moved to Albany in 2015.

Cameron Smith revealed he was "a few too many beers deep" on Friday evening when he realised he would have to get up early for the third round of the Australian Open.

Smith thought he had missed the cut at Kingston Heath Golf Club on home soil after signing for a one-over second round of 73.

The Open champion made a trip to the pub for some post-round refreshments, thinking his participation in the DP World Tour event in Melbourne was over.

But with the competition cut to 60 players for Saturday and halved after the third round, the world number three discovered he did not have a full weekend off.

Smith returned to go round in 69 in what proved to be his third round.

The Brisbane native said: "I was pretty quick to the pub [after his round on Friday] and, yeah, was probably a few too many beers deep, and then I realised we had an early tee time, so I got back on the waters and was a good boy the rest of the night."

Smith, who won the PGA Championship last week, added: "I thought I had it in me today and hit lots of good golf shots, and just couldn't really capitalise. Just not my week."

Adam Scott holds a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Australian Open in his homeland.

Viktor Hovland is alone atop the Hero World Challenge leaderboard after Friday's second round, following his opening 69 with a two-under 70 to enter the weekend at five under.

Hovland, who was the joint-leader entering the day, is the reigning champion at the event after edging Scottie Scheffler by one stroke at Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas last year.

In an action-packed second round, the Norwegian posted an eagle with four birdies and four bogeys, with his slam-dunk shot of the day on the par-five sixth hole making it back-to-back rounds with an eagle.

He is one stroke clear of a four-man group consisting of Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa, with playing partners Scheffler and Schauffele posting four-under 68s to tie for the round of the day.

South Korean 20-year-old Tom Kim is the only player in sixth at three under, Justin Thomas is alone at two-under, and Billy Horschel is tied with Tiger Woods' late replacement Sepp Straka for eighth at one under.

It leaves 11 of the 20-player field at least five strokes off Hovland's lead, with Matt Fitzpatrick, Tony Finau and Jon Rahm at even par.

It was a day to forget for Tommy Fleetwood, Corey Conners, Max Homa and Shane Lowry, with all four shooting their way out of contention with rounds of four over or worse.

Tiger Woods will not pursue surgery on the foot injury that saw him withdraw from this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

The 15-time major champion was due to play his first competitive event since missing the cut at The Open back in July but has been suffering with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Woods had been scheduled to play three events in December, though it remains to be seen if he will play at all. 

The legendary American had been aiming to up his workload having played only three times last season due to the broken leg he sustained in a car accident in February 2021.

He explained that his latest issue will be treated with a "stretch and relax" method rather than going under the knife.

"You don’t want to go down the surgical route," Woods told the Golf Channel. "Injections, surgical, or just stretch and relax, and I chose to stretch and relax.

"Get off your feet, which I have done and continue to do. Also sleep at night with a boot on; try to stretch it out."

The injury, according to the PGA Tour's official website, affects around two million people in the United States and causes a stabbing pain near the heel as a result of an inflammation of a thick band of tissue.

Woods explained how playing full 18-hole rounds is tricky with the injury.

"When you first step out of bed, it's like, 'Oh my God'," he added.

"It's just a long haul. I just can't walk for too long a period of time."

Viktor Hovland is looking to win back-to-back Hero World Challenge titles and started his week on the right track, finishing Thursday's opening round in a four-way tie for the lead at three under.

The small field boasts 20 of the PGA Tour's top talents, with Tiger Woods hosting the event at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

Winner of the 2021 edition, Hovland posted an impressive eagle on the par-four 14th hole to go with his two birdies and one bogey to share the lead through 18 holes.

Norway's top golfer is joined by 20-year-old South Korean phenom Tom Kim, America's Collin Morikawa, and Austria's Sepp Straka, with the latter coming in as the late replacement for Woods following his withdrawal due to plantar fasciitis.

Kim, who already has two PGA Tour wins under his belt, was the only of the foursome to not make a single bogey.

They are one stroke clear of Sam Burns alone in fifth at two under, with Cameron Young, Max Homa and Tommy Fleetwood tied for sixth at one under.

World number two Scottie Scheffler is joined by two-time major champion Justin Thomas as part of the group at even par, while Jon Rahm is at one over, and Matt Fitzpatrick is at two over.

Corey Conners is alone in 19th at three over, and Jordan Spieth is dead last and the only player at four over.

It's officially Tony Finau's world. The rest of us are just living in it.

The 33-year-old continued his winning ways last month at the Cadence Bank Houston Open, steam rolling the competition en-route to a four-shot victory. It was his third PGA Tour victory over his last 30 starts after the Utah native won just once in his first 185 tournaments.

"This is definitely the most all parts of my game have been clicking, but I would say I've played a lot of good golf for a while," Finau said afterward. "I didn't have a lot of wins to show for it, but I've pieced together a game and that's what you have to do out here.

"I feel like I've been a very solid player for a long time, but it's exciting for me that I'm getting better and that's all I can ask of myself is try and get better in the areas that I really need to.

"And then remember why you are where you are. I think I don't go too far away from the DNA of my game and how I see the game and I think I'm kind of bearing the fruits of how I see the game now and I'm able to hit the shots that I can see, which is pretty cool."

The DNA of Finau's game has been easy to identify – putting and driving. Simple enough, right?

At the Houston Open, Finau finished with a 75 percent driving accuracy for the week, the fourth time in his five TOUR wins he's accomplished that feat.

Amazingly, it was the worst percentage among all his recent victories – he finished with a 76.8 percent accuracy at this year's 3M Open, a 78.6 percent accuracy at the 2021 FedEx St. Jude Championship, and a career-best 82.1 percent accuracy at the Rocket Mortgage Classic earlier this summer.

"Probably the best driving week I've had in my career, at least that's how I felt,” Finau said. "For the first time in my career I hit all 13 fairways, 100 percent of fairways in regulation. I've never done that in my career, so definitely drove the ball.

Tiger Woods has hailed Rory McIlroy's leadership on the PGA Tour, after a busy year that saw the Northern Irishman impress on and off the course.

McIlroy has led the fight against the LIV Golf breakaway across 2022, while he has also returned to number one in the world rankings.

Woods echoed McIlroy's calls for LIV chief Greg Norman to step down earlier this week, in order to help heal golf's bitter civil war.

Now though, the 15-time major winner has expressed his wholehearted admiration for his fellow tour favourite, highlighting the respect he commands among his fellow players.

"What Rory has said and done are what leaders do," Woods said.

"Rory is a true leader out here on tour.

"The fact he's able to get things in the public eye, be so clear-minded and eloquent with it, [and then] go out there and win tournaments on top of that, people have no idea how hard that is, to be able to separate those two things.

"He's been fantastic. He's a great leader in our calls we make, and he's a great leader with all the players out here.

"Everyone respects him, and they respect him because not just his ball-striking, his driving, but the person he is."

Woods also assuaged McIlroy's earlier fears that he had given him COVID-19 on the eve of the Open Championship earlier this year, after the latter made the disclosure in an interview.

"I got tested," he added. "I was always negative. I was feeling under the weather, yes, but I never got a positive test."

Woods and McIlroy are set to partner each other in The Match later this month, with the former hoping to be fit after his withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge this week with a foot problem.

Tiger Woods has become the latest major figure on the PGA Tour to say LIV Golf's Greg Norman must leave to allow peace to break out as the sport's civil war persists.

The 15-time major winner has backed up world number one Rory McIlroy's comments for the Australian to stand down in order to help heal the divide.

Norman, the CEO and face of the Saudi-funded breakaway tour, has been a prominent figure amid a bitter split in golf, with several of the world's leading players defecting to the rival series and with lawsuits between both parties.

McIlroy already said the chance of a compromise between both tours was unlikely as long as Norman remained in place, and now Woods has echoed his words.

"I see that there's an opportunity out there if both organisations put a stay on their litigation, but that's the problem, they've got to put a stay on it," Woods stated ahead of the Hero World Challenge.

"Whether or not they do that or not, there's no willingness to negotiate if you have a litigation against you.

"So if they both have a stay and then have a break, and then they can meet and figure something out, then maybe there is something to be had.

"But I think Greg has to go, first of all, and then obviously litigation against us and then our counter-suit against them, those would then have to be at a stay as well. Then we can talk, we can all talk freely."

Woods was set to play in the Hero World Challenge this week, but he withdrew after developing a foot problem.

He is still set to partner McIlroy at The Match later this month and then play with son Charlie at the PNC Championship.

Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf has been delayed after he announced on Monday that he has withdrawn from this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Woods, 46, is also the host of the highly anticipated event, which features a small field consisting of 20 elite players, including world number two Scottie Scheffler, as well as major champions Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

Arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Woods was scheduled to take part in three events in December, but the announcement of his foot injury on social media has put all three in jeopardy.

His statement says: "In my preparation and practice for this week's Hero World Challenge, I've developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, which is making it difficult to walk.

"After consulting with my doctors and trainers, I have decided to withdraw this week and focus on my hosting duties.

"My plan is to still compete in The Match and PNC Championship."

Woods, who has not played competitively since failing to make the cut at The Masters in July, will not have long to recover.

He is scheduled to partner up with Rory McIlroy to take on the pair of Thomas and Spieth on December 10 for The Match, and just five days later he hopes to team up with his son, Charlie, in the PNC Championship.

With his withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge, Austria's Sepp Straka will take his place.

Rory McIlroy thinks he may have given Tiger Woods COVID-19 on the eve of the Open Championship after the pair played at a charity event beforehand.

The Northern Irishman, who claimed a third FedEx Cup this year, has forged a close bond over the years with the American, one strengthened by their shared views on the LIV Golf breakaway this season.

While several of their rivals warmed up at the Scottish Open for this year's Open, McIlroy and Woods played at a fundraising event hosted by JP McManus at Adare Manor.

Now, four-time major winner McIlroy has revealed he played at St Andrews while battling COVID-19 – and that he fears he gave it to Woods after the two dined together.

"I woke up feeling a bit achy but didn't really think anything of it," he told the Irish Independent. "[But] as I'm getting up from the table, I'm sore and stiff and super tired.

"I slept for maybe two hours, and the sweat was just pouring off me. Erica [McIlory's wife] took my temperature, and it was sky-high.

"[Tiger] texted me that night with chills and fever. I'm like 'f****** hell, I've just given Tiger COVID. This is horrendous!'. So we both had COVID going into the Open.

"The whole week of the Open, I didn't have any taste, and everything [was] like vinegar to me. Everything. It was really strange."

Woods went on to miss the cut at the Open, while McIlroy was edged out by Cameron Smith on the final day at St Andrews.

McIlroy did end the season on a high, topping the DP World Tour rankings and returning to number one in the world.

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