Sentry Tournament of Champions Odds: Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are Betting Favorites
Sentry Tournament of Champions Odds: Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are Betting Favorites
The Sentry Tournament of Champions field brings together all of last year’s winners, and true to its name, pits them against one another, in order to anoint a new champion.
For years, this event has been won by the elites of the game, and in the last ten years alone, seven of the renewals have been won by players who have either already won a major or gone on to do so.
Of the 40 players invited, only Rory McIlroy has declined to make the trip, giving an illustrious 39-man field. Headlining will be World No.1 Jon Rahm, along with two-time Tournament of Champions winner, Justin Thomas and World No.2, Collin Morikawa.
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One star name that does miss out is Dustin Johnson, who is a two-time winner here. Johnson failed to add to his exceptional win tally in 2021, leaving his last win as the 2020 Masters. Not qualifying for this event, somewhere he loves to play may add extra motivation as he heads into another year.
Those making maiden trips to Maui are Sam Burns, Cameron Davis, Joel Dahmen, Talor Gooch, Lucas Herbert, Garrick Higgo, K.H. Lee, Seamus Power and Erik Van Rooyen.
One other point to note. Collin Morikawa can overtake Jon Rahm as World No.1 this week.
How to watch the Sentry Tournament of Champions
Television: Thursday-Friday, 6-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, 6-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Sunday, 4-6 p.m. ET (NBC), 6-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
PGA Tour Live: Thursday-Saturday, 3:15 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Groups). 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Featured Holes). Sunday, 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m. (Featured Groups), 4 p.m.-8 p.m. (Featured Holes).
Sentry Tournament of Champions Odds
Qualifying criteria for the Sentry Tournament of Champions
To qualify for this event, you must have won an official PGA Tour event from the previous Tournament of Champions renewal, through to this year’s edition.
Last year, all those that made their way to the Tour Championship (top-30 in the FedEx Cup) were invited, due to the impact of COVID-19. This is no longer the case, and we are back to the original criteria above, albeit one exception. Olympic Champion, Xander Schauffele has been extended an invite this year courtesy of gold medal in Japan.
Harris English won this event in a playoff here last year, defeating Chilean, Joaquin Niemann as both got to 25-under after 72 holes.
English had an eagle putt on the final hole to put the event to bed but missed that and instead holed a six-foot birdie putt to emerge victorious after the playoff.
Despite not winning on Tour since 2013, English managed to get into the event based on his FedEx Cup efforts the previous season which saw him make the Tour Championship. Due to COVID, all players that made it that far were extended invites and English parlayed that into victory.
Closely behind Niemann (who shot a final-round 64) and English who contested the playoff was two-time winner, Justin Thomas who missed out on extra holes by one stroke, while another invitee who hadn’t won on Tour the previous season, Ryan Palmer finished in fourth.
Jon Rahm (+850)
Rahm will be looking to fend off not only the challenge of the 39-man field, but one man in particular, Collin Morikawa. Morikawa is gunning for the World No.1 spot and Rahm will be looking to take this opportunity to assert his dominance once more.
Rahm was 2nd here to Dustin Johnson on debut in 2018, and he’s finished 8th, 10th and 7th since. Clearly, the Spaniard likes this course, as evidenced by his runner-up finish first time out, but it’s not been as inspiring as you’d have hoped since.
A different proposition this time around, than in past efforts, it’s hard to rule him out, but at +850 you can probably go elsewhere. Rahm’s last three events read MC, (Fortinet Championship), T17 (Open de Espana) and MC (Andalucia Masters) so he’ll hope to be rejuvenated after an extended break and hopefully not rusty come Thursday.
Justin Thomas (+850)
Justin Thomas, like Dustin Johnson, is a bit of a course-horse when it comes to the Plantation Course, and he will be looking for a good time in Maui once again.
Thomas’ results in this event read: 21-1-22-3-1-3 a simply sublime record. The 21st could be put down to it being his debut and the 22nd down to having to defend or just generally not having his game this week, but in four of his six visits here, he’s won twice and finished 3rd on the other two occasions.
Thomas has started the new season with finishes of 18th and 3rd, before finishing 5th at the Hero World Challenge, so clearly he’s in good enough shape to win an event he clearly loves.
Collin Morikawa (+1000)
Playing for the win and World No.1 in a limited-field event again, Morikawa will be looking for redemption, after a final-round 76 saw him lose a five-stroke lead at the Hero World Challenge.
Whether it had anything to do with the World No.1 push remains to be seen, but Morikawa certainly showed a major chink in his armour that final day in the Bahamas.
After a rough end to the 2020/21 season, battling injury and form, Morikawa came back into the fold with a renewed confidence as he always seems to do. In his last four starts he’s finished T4 at the Hero World Challenge, after holding that 5-shot, 54-hole lead, he won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, finished T7 at the ZOZO Championship and before that 2nd at the CJ Cup. If he can kick off 2022 in similar fashion, we should be in for another huge year for arguably the best player in the world.
In his first two laps around the Plantation Course, Morikawa has finished 7th both times, but in different circumstances. On his debut it was a tougher year for scoring overall, and he himself failed to break 70, going 71-71-70-71, to never be higher than the 4th he was after 54 holes. Last year was different though. He opened with rounds of 69 and 65 to sit 2nd after 36 holes, and another 65 on Saturday left him in 2nd place going into Sunday as well. He had made just two bogeys up until that point and was just one shot behind Harris English and Ryan Palmer going into the final day, but a final round 73 put a stop to his winning chances.
Was the pressure too much last year on a player who was returning close to the home of his fraternal grandparents who hail from the nearby Lahaina, or was it the winds that picked up on the final day that threw him? It may even be the fact he wasn’t in the greatest of form at the end of 2020, as he last two events on the PGA Tour saw him finish T50 at the ZOZO and T44 at the CJ Cup, before going to Dubai and finishing 10th at the DP World. Even there, where he finished in the top-10, he broke 70 just once, so he wasn’t at this best.
Either way Morikawa grew up playing this course an awful lot when visiting from Los Angeles and while a long, wide-open test doesn’t seem to give him an advantage like it would the longest of hitters, Morikawa is capable of getting a hot putter which is required here, and you know his iron play will set up a multitude of chances. He has a great chance to stamp his authority and claim the coveted World No.1 spot.
Bryson DeChambeau (+1200)
Bryson DeChambeau is best described as an enigma, and his quotes from this event last year highlight that so very clearly. The first was talking about the central nervous system, as he waxed lyrical about his new best friend, Kyle Berkshire. Bryson spoke about a new technique Berkshire was helping with and stated “I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a runner’s high or something like that, where you get these extra endorphins and that’s kind of what breaks your neurological CNS, which is a great thing,”
That was bizarre enough for the journalists there that week, but Bryson also stated this was not a suitable golf course for him to hone in his 48-inch driver, despite it being one of the wider setups he’ll see, and the only Par 73 he will play. He said he needed something a little more open, which was strange.
Onto his actual past results here though, and like Morikawa, Bryson has finished 7th in his last two starts. He was 26th on debut which was poor, but his 7th in 2019 and 2021 show he can get round this wide-open layout and he was even 2nd after 36 holes three years ago.
Like many courses, this looks like somewhere DeChambeau could completely tear apart, should he get his strategy right, but we never know what we are going to get with him until he starts playing an event on Thursday.
The last three times we’ve seen him, DeChambeau has finished T14 in a 20-man field in the Bahamas, T11 out of 29 players at the Tour Championship and 2nd at the BMW Championship, so it’s really hard to tell how he’s going to come into this new season.
Like most times he tees it up though, expect some excitement and something gnarly to happen at some point during the week.
Viktor Hovland (+1200)
Current Tour darling, Viktor Hovland has got the general public salivating over his recent play, and this is another chance for him to win on a coastal course in a limited field.
He was the beneficiary of Morikawa’s meltdown in the Bahamas, as a final round 66 when others were struggling, gave him the spoils, but he won’t want to rely on another man’s collapse this week.
That was Hovland’s second win in a row, as he had just successfully defended his title in Mexico a month prior, and he’ll be hoping for a fast start to the new year as well.
Hovland finished 31st out of 42 players here last year, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He opened with rounds of 69-68-68 to sit 10th after 54 holes, and while he probably had no shot of catching the leaders on Sunday, you’d have hoped for better than a final round 76.
Hovland had been in similar form to now heading into this event last year, after winning in Mexico and finishing 3rd at the DP World Tour Championship, so he’ll be hoping for a faster start here, given himself a bit less to do this time on Sunday.
Patrick Cantlay (+1600)
The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year and current World No.4, Patrick Cantlay will be making his first appearance since the season-ending Tour Championship back in September.
While question marks will be raised based on his inactivity so far this season, Cantlay was named Player of the Year for a reason and his 2022 was extraordinary.
Four wins in total last season, Cantlay really had his breakthrough, if he hadn’t already. He’s now ready to mature as a player and contend more regularly for majors, but first he will hope to improve on his record here.
Cantlay finished 4th in 2019, but either side of that finished outside the top-10 and it’s in this arena where Cantlay can learn to hold off the world’s best.
Course: The Plantation Course, Kapalua Resort, Maui, Hawaii
Designer: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (Original 1992 and renovation 2019)
Length: 7,596 Yards
Correlating courses and events
Justin Thomas, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson have all won both events.
Jimmy Walker won the Sony Open in 2014 and also defended that title in 2015 a week after losing out to Patrick Reed in a playoff here.
Brandt Snedeker was 3rd here in 2016 and 2nd a week later at the Sony Open.
Harris English was the winner here last year and 3rd and 4th previously in the Sony Open.
The two events being staged in Hawaii one week apart makes this a very obvious connection, and while the courses are far from similar, Zach Johnson has been quoted as saying that although the courses have few similarities, the winds are pretty consistent at the Sony and the Tournament of Champions which may help those that have played the Sony but not here.
Hero World Challenge
With a similar style of course, a limited field, the time of year they’re played, and the potential for wind to interrupt scoring, it is no great surprise that results have crossed over at these two events.
Jordan Spieth has won both events as has Tiger Woods, but these two of the very best to play the game, so they alone do not give us much indication. Vijay Singh also fits in this same category, as does Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson. Again all of these players here have played at an elite level for a long time, and it’s the reason they consistently play in both events, so proceed with caution.
Tom Lehman won the Hero World Challenge and finished runner-up at the then named Mercedes Championship held here.
Patrick Reed has won this event and finished 2nd in the Hero World Challenge.
This is where it gets to the point where we are looking at elite players only for comparison.
Five of the last six winners of this event have either won or finished inside the top-5 at Augusta. While it is hard to compare any event to the Masters, the creativity required to play that famed course in Georgia due to all the undulations is somewhat comparable to here.
Both events also lean towards length off the tee and a requirement to score on the longer holes.
Dustin Johnson, Harris English and Jordan Spieth have all won both events in recent history, and if you go back further there are multiple cases of crossover. Again, this suggests it’s just when elite players drop into that event, they win it.
Honda Classic & FedEx St Jude Invitational
I’ve paired these together as I think it’s the potential for gusts/winds that ties these events together.
Dustin Johnson has won both this event and the St Jude twice.
Harris English has won here and at the St Jude.
Fabian Gomez has won the St Jude, the Sony Open and finished 6th here, suggesting the three correlate nicely.
Ernie Els, Justin Thomas, Stuart Appleby and Vijay Singh all won the Honda Classic as well as this event.
Rory Sabbatini has won the Honda Classic and twice been second here.
SG Putting - Any winner will simply have to make a huge amount putts to get north of 20-under par here, which is usually required to get the job done.
Scrambling and SG Around-the-Green - Everyone is going to hit the majority of these wide fairways and large greens, so it’s those that perform the best when the odd green is missed, that tend to go well here. In order to go as low as you need to here, you’re going need to keep momentum going, and those that can get up and down and keep their scoring runs on track could prove victorious.
Par-5 Scoring - With it being a Par 73, there are four par-5’s on this course and just three par-3’s, so players will need to take advantage of that to make the required number of birdies/eagles. Even the par-5 18th that stretches over 650 yards can be reached in two with the right shots, thanks to the elevation changes.
Par 4’s - It is always worth nothing there are multiple par-4’s that can be driven here also, so those with the required firepower have an opportunity to pick this course apart.
Incoming form (Last 12 weeks excluding PNC and QBE Shootout)
Top-10 for adjusted scoring average over the past eight weeks.
Viktor Hovland - 44-18-1
Justin Thomas - 18-3
Sam Burns - 1-14-5-7
Collin Morikawa - 2-7-1
Cameron Smith - 9-15-4
Jason Kokrak - MC-54-1
Talor Gooch - 11-5-11-60-1
Sungjae Im - 31-1-9-19
Marc Leishman - 5-38-19
Jordan Spieth - 18
Course form (Last 10 Years)
Top-10 for adjusted scoring average over the past eight weeks.
Jordan Spieth - 2-1-3-9
Xander Schauffele - 22-1-2-5
Justin Thomas - 21-1-22-3-1-3
Jon Rahm - 2-8-10-7
Harris English - 11-1
Sungjae Im - 5
Collin Morikawa - 7-7
Patrick Cantlay - 15-4-13
Bryson DeChambeau - 26-7-7
Patrick Reed - 16-1-2-6-25-2-21
Past Champions (10 Years)
2021 - Harris English
2020 - Justin Thomas
2019 - Xander Schauffele
2018 - Dustin Johnson
2017 - Justin Thomas
2016 - Jordan Spieth
2015 - Patrick Reed
2014 - Zach Johnson
2013 - Dustin Johnson
2012 - Steve Stricker
Justin Thomas (+850)
This is a layup. Twice a winner and twice 3rd here, Thomas clearly loves this course and it lends itself to multiple victories. With Stuart Appleby winning three times in a row, I see no reason why Thomas can’t make it a hat-trick of wins here as well.
His last two starts to finish 2021 were a 3rd in Mexico and a T5 at the Hero, and while he was only T18 at the CJ Cup, he shot a final round 64 there as well, so momentum is clearly on his side.
It feels like Thomas has a point to prove despite 14 wins on Tour, including a major championship and this is a great place for him to start what he hopes will be a big 2022.
All that’s going to hold him back is his putting, but he seems to have corrected that somewhat in recent starts, and there’s not many obstacles in his way at this course.
Hopefully, the incident from 12 months where he was caught using a foul slur does not haunt him here this week.
Daniel Berger (+2200)
Twice a winner at the St Jude Invitational, a runner-up since it’s been a WGC and 2nd at the Honda Classic, Daniel Berger fits my correlating courses nicely, especially when you add in three top-14’s at the Sony Open including a T7 last year.
His course form doesn’t jump off the page with finishes of 14th, 11th and 10th, but last year he was 2nd after 36 holes, and just three back in 4th place after 54 holes. A final-round 72 cost him on Sunday, but I think he can return and record a better result.
Daniel Berger shut it down for a couple of months after the Ryder Cup, so when he arrived at the Hero World Challenge little was expected.
He however shared the first-round lead, and was 3rd going into the final round. While it didn’t work out for him in the end, as a final-round 71 saw him drop to a tie for 7th, it was an impressive effort given the layoff and a perfect warmup for here.
At +2200 I think Daniel Berger is a great bet this week.
Marc Leishman (+3500)
Marc Leishman bolted out of the gates this season with a T4 finish at the Fortinet Championship and a T3 at the Shriners before being halted at the CJ Cup, where he finished T38. He finished that week with a round of 64, which like Justin Thomas, seemed to springboard him into his next start.
Leishman led after an opening 65 and was in 10th place after 54 holes at the Houston Open last time out, but just three strokes behind. He made three bogeys on the back-nine on moving day to take him out of the lead, but he still had a good chance going into Sunday.
He shot a 72 on Sunday, meaning he got progressively worse as the week went on (65-70-71-72) and maybe he’s cooled off after a hot start, but I’m willing to bet he’s got another good run at this course ahead of him.
The Aussie finished 4th here in 2019, his best effort yet, but it was the year before when 7th where he really found himself in contention.
Leishman led after rounds 1 and 2 here in 2018, but a third round 76 saw him drop to 12th place before he finished strong with a 67 to climb back into the top-7.
The wide fairways will suit Leishman who can get a bit wayward off the tee, and I like his win at the Travelers, his 3rd at the St Jude in 2019 and that effort here in 2018 as pointers to future success at this golf course.
- Abraham Ancer
- Daniel Berger
- Sam Burns
- Patrick Cantlay
- Cameron Champ
- Stewart Cink
- Joel Dahmen
- Cameron Davis
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Harris English
- Tony Finau
- Lucas Glover
- Talor Gooch
- Branden Grace
- Lucas Herbert
- Garrick Higgo
- Max Homa
- Billy Horschel
- Viktor Hovland
- Sungjae Im
- Matt Jones
- Si Woo Kim
- Kevin Kisner
- Brooks Koepka
- Jason Kokrak
- Kyoung-hoon Lee
- Marc Leishman
- Hideki Matsuyama
Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-host the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on the tours on both sides of the pond. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, but his main passion remains golf, and every year he holds onto the hope of Lee Westwood winning his first major championship.