With the gates at Albany closed to the public Wednesday, Nov. 30, groups of professional and amateur golfers took the course. The pro-am at Albany is golf's most exclusive round, with 18 of the world's best players comprising the Hero World Challenge field.
Walking side by side with the likes of tournament host Tiger Woods, defending Hero World Challenge champion Bubba Watson, reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year Dustin Johnson and the rest of the 2016 Hero World Challenge professionals, offers a special and unique experience.
"We've had the opportunity to play with Dustin Johnson, with Steve Stricker, with Patrick Reed, and then Zach Johnson this year," Hal Jacobs said of playing in the Hero World Challenge Pro-Am. "You're guaranteed to play with a great professional and a great person. The people that come down here for this event, they know what they are involved in. It's not just about the golf. It's about the foundation and giving back."
The PGA TOUR pros in the field also recognize how special the Hero World Challenge truly is. Playing week in and week out in pro-am events, the intimate nature of the Wednesday outing at Albany isn't lost on the pros.
"I think it's a great pro-am because its small and select, so it's a cool experience for everyone," Rickie Fowler said. "This week is definitely different than the other events we play. It's laid-back, relaxed, has a small field, great sponsors, and some fun people involved."
The who's who list of golfers doesn't stop with the PGA TOUR pros playing in the Hero World Challenge. In addition to the multitude of executives from many of the top international businesses, this year former New York Yankees and World Series champions Derek Jeter and Tino Martinez played alongside Fowler.
"It's just fun getting the opportunity to meet a lot of these guys that you admire from a far," Jeter said after his pro-am round with Fowler. "Some of the guys I had met before, but others for the first time. It's always fun when you get an opportunity to see these guys that are the best in the world at what they do. You always play rounds of golf, and everyone tries to tell you how good they are. Come see these guys and see how really good players play."
The perfect day on-course is just the kick-off to the week at Albany, Bahamas. The Wednesday night pro-am dinner caps off the pre-competition action on-course as Round 1 tees off Thursday.