2022 SENTRY TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
With the turn of the calendar comes not only the first PGA Tour event of the year, but also the first real tournament of the 2022 season. There may be less than 40 players in the field, but it’s loaded with stars.
And what better place to do it than in Hawaii? The allure of Kapalua was enough to entice Phil Mickelson to play in the event for the first time in 21 years. As will Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa, the top two ranked golfers in the world.
Another highlight of the season starting in Hawaii is that we get to watch in prime time. And there should be plenty of birdies flying around, as Kapalua is known to yield low scores. Combine that with the decadent views and ocean waves, and this is the perfect way to ease into the 2022 PGA Tour season.
The Sentry Tournament of Champions participants will play the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort. The only Par-73 track on TOUR, this lengthy course will play up to 7596 yards this week.
Featuring massive elevation changes, huge landing areas and fairways, gorgeous views everywhere the eye can look and a relaxed atmosphere, make this an appealing event to start the season. The typically easy scoring conditions help as well. Only 12 rounds over-par were shot in last years event, and the average winning score is 22-under-par.
38 of 39 winners from last season (Rory McIlroy the lone exception) are ready to start off 2022, including quite a few big names. As mentioned, Phil Mickelson will return after over two decades away from the event, and the two top-ranked players in the world currently in Rahm and Morikawa are in Hawaii as well.
Xander Schauffele was granted an entry despite not winning on TOUR last season. He did win the Gold Medal in Tokyo last summer, and that was deemed enough for entry. Other big names include Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth
Click HERE to see the full field
*Cameron Champ has withdrawn due to COVID
Harris English prevailed over Joaquin Niemann in a playoff in last years event. The two finished regulation tied at 25-under-par, but English would emerge victorious. Justin Thomas finished one shot back of the playoff, and Xander Schauffele finished the event in fifth place.
There are four players in the field this week who have won this event at Kapalua: Schauffele in 2019, Justin Thomas in 2017 and again in 2020, Jordan Spieth in 2016, and Patrick Reed in 2015.
Tiger isn’t in the field this week, but he has made his mark multiple times at Kapalua, including this great battle with Ernie Els:
(Odds, Recent Form, Course Results, Tournament Simulation)
Justin Thomas is not only the odds on favourite (tied with Jon Rahm), he also sits atop my stats rankings for the week by a pretty wide margin.
JT has finished in the top-three here in four of his last five attempts, including two wins. He’s also coming off a third place finish in his last TOUR start and undoubtedly wants to get rid of the bad taste in his mouth from getting beat by Tiger and Charlie in the father/son challenge a few weeks ago.
So although it’s not flashy, I’m riding with Justin Thomas at 9 to 1 odds to get the win
For head-to-head matchups (over 72 holes) I like Talor Gooch over Kevin Na. Gooch is coming off a win in his last start, adding a 5th and 11th in starts shortly before that. He has yet to play in this event, but Kevin Na is not in very good form at the moment. Na has also played very poorly in his last two starts at Kapalua, finishing 38th and 32nd (nearly last place with the small fields).
I’m also going to take a flyer on Sam Burns over Bryson DeChambeau. In theory, Bryson should do well here given how far he hits the ball and how wide the fairways are, but that hasn’t been the case in the past. Burns also comes in playing very well, with a 5th and 7th in his last two starts. At 2.4 to 1 odds, I’ll take Burns and hope Bryson is a little rusty out of the gates.
A few other bets that intrigue me are Jordan Spieth (2.6 to 1 Odds) and Talor Gooch (3.6 to 1 Odds) to finish in the Top-Ten