The PGA Tour returns from its Christmas break with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, a select invitational open only to players that won a tournament on the PGA Tour during 2018.
The tournament’s history dates back to 1953, and it has been played on the Plantation Course, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii since 1999. The course is a Par 73 measuring in excess of 7,400 yards and it provides a stunning setting for golfers and spectators alike. Huge elevation changes and wide sloping fairways are the main features of the course, whilst the Bermuda greens are bigger than many on the PGA Tour. The wind can make it difficult to hit the greens in the right places but, unless the wind is severe, expect scoring to be low. Ernie Els once shot 31 under for four rounds here, whilst Jordan Spieth was just one shot shy of that in 2016.
Sentry Tournament Of Champions 2018 Past Winners
- 2014 – Zach Johnson –19
- 2015 – Patrick Reed –21
- 2016 – Jordan Spieth –30
- 2017 – Justin Thomas -22
- 2018 – Dustin Johnson –24
Players To Note In The Sentry Tournament Of Champions 2019
Major winners or major-winners waiting to happen have a good record here, with the last five winners being Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, and Zach Johnson, though two major winners that won’t be winning this year are Tiger Woods and Justin Rose, as both declined their invitation.
There are plenty of major winners in contention though, with Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickleson, and Keegan Bradley all being winners in 2018.
Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Reed have also all shown they can win here before, but none of them went into the festive period in the sort of form that suggests they’ll be at their best first time out. Meantime, I’m not convinced that McIlroy, Day, Molinari, Watson, Mickleson, or Bradley are the types to have been practicing hard over the festive period.
One former major champion that might have been practicing hard is Webb Simpson, who posted finishes of 3/11/3 here between 2012 and 2014. He endured four winless seasons after that, when he struggled to come to terms with new putting regulations, but he could come good at a course he’s proven he likes, whilst he looks sure to be motivated after not being here for four seasons. He also handles fast conditions well and has an excellent short game.
The other player that could be worth siding with this week is John Rahm, who falls into the major winner waiting to happen category. The Spaniard won on his final start of 2018 and also showed last year that he has the game for this course when finishing second on debut. He’s still young enough and hungry enough to want to start the season with a bang, whilst he has the power to take advantage of the four par-5s as well as the touch around the greens to recover from any wayward shots. He’s no mug in the wind either, as he showed when winning the Irish Open.
Sentry Tournament Of Champions 2019 Tips
- John Rahm (Each-Way)
- Webb Simpson (Each-Way)