The PGA Tour is back, and while the season may have kicked off a couple of months ago, this is when it really starts. The Sentry Tournament of Champions sees just the champions from 2021 compete for the first title of the calendar year.
The field is incredibly strong with eight of the world’s top ten in attendance. There is a very real chance that we will see a new world number one though, with Jon Rahm needing a big finish to keep Collin Morikawa from the top spot.
The build to the Masters in April begins here. Most of the field for the year’s first major is set with those on the outside looking in mostly needing a win in the coming months to secure their spots at Augusta.
.@collin_morikawa on 18 tee.
What a sight 🤙 pic.twitter.com/16qAt0YaHD
— Sentry Tournament of Champions (@Sentry_TOC) January 5, 2022
The Plantation Course at Kapalua is a great looking course with its huge, sloping fairways and excellent views. It is very open and it can often get very windy, so a player that can handle those sorts of conditions is a must. With some slower greens, the Open Championship — despite being played halfway around the world — could be a good indicator.
Justin Thomas is something of a course specialist with four top threes, including two wins, in his six appearances. 2021 was the first year since 2016 that he had failed to win multiple times on tour and he will want to fix that in ‘22. He is a prolific winner though with 16 wins since joining the PGA Tour in 2015 and it would be no shock to see him add to that tally on Sunday night.
There has not been a tournament in over a month now, but Thomas went into the break on a run of good form and is rightfully the market leader at 8/1 in most places. If he has struggled anywhere, it has been his driving but that should not matter too much at this wide-open course. Only Jordan Spieth betters his scoring average at Kapalua over the past six seasons. It is hard to look past Thomas for the win, even at the fairly short price. It is a quality field though and you may want to find some bigger prices to take a chance elsewhere.
— Nosferatu (@VC606) January 4, 2022
With his record at the tournament, Patrick Reed is perhaps being a little disrespected in the market. He has played here more than almost anybody in the field and boasts a great record, with two runners-up finishes to go with his win in 2015. He has two top threes in his past five starts, including a third in the year-ending Hero Challenge last time out. He missed the cut in just one start in 2021 and has shown time and time again that when he gets in contention, he can finish the job off. 28/1 is way too big of a price for somebody that does not have too many negatives against his name going into the week.
At 18/1, Sam Burns is a bit of a wildcard as he is making his first appearance here. Last year proved that course knowledge is not a necessity as Harris English and Joaquin Niemann, the top two finishers, had just one appearance each. Burns was no doubt the breakout star of 2021 and he looks like a player that has the game to compete at any course he turns up at. Since the start of August he has just one finish outside the top 20 and that was a 21st. This time last year he was around 160th in the world. This week sees him compete for the first time as a top-10 player after reaching the impressive milestone in the last update. He had nine top-10s in 2021 as a relative unknown but nobody would be surprised to see the 25-year-old add to his two wins and perhaps even join the list of major winners in 2022.
This field is as strong as any we will see throughout the year and should be an incredible start to the year. The Plantation Course offers up lots of low scoring, even in often tricky conditions. So we should see lots of birdies and eagles. With lots up for grabs, including the label of best player in the world, this could go down as must watch.