Tour News

Sentry Tournament of Champions gets 2018 underway

Jordan Spieth - a former winner and likely favourite (Photo: Henry Peters )
The traditional opening event of the golfing year, the Tournament of Champions, begins this week at its long-time home at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii with yet another naming rights sponsor involved.

In 2018 the event becomes known as the Sentry Tournament of Champions having been played as the Mercedes, the Mercedes Benz and the SBS Championships followed by the Hyundai and SBS Tournament of Champions in recent years.

This year, insurance giant, Sentry, takes on a new five years deal, Sentry’s involvement in golf extending to golf course ownership given they own and operate the Robert Trent Jones Jr designed SentryWorld Golf Course near its headquarters in Wisconsin.

The tournament brings together the players who have won on the PGA Tour the previous year and as a result 34 of the PGA Tour’s finest get their opportunity at US$6.3 million purse of which US$1,260,000 goes to the winner.

Seven of the world's leading ranked top ten are in the field although the other three, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia were eligible to take their place in the field but will not.  

Justin Thomas returns to defend the title he won by three over Hideki Matsuyama twelve months ago, a victory that set up a year which would see him win five events and move from 21st to 3rd in the World Ranking.

Thomas will play the event for the third occasion having finished 21st on debut two years ago.

Jordan Spieth has played the event on only three occasions for a win, a runner-up finish and a 3rd place behind his good friend Thomas last year. Spieth has finished inside the top three in five of his last ten starts and must surely be the player for everyone to beat despite the presence of world number one and previous winner at Kapalua, Dustin Johnson.

Johnson won in 2013 and has regularly finished inside the top ten in the restricted field event although his most recent form, while good, is not as sharp as that of Spieth and Thomas.

Rickie Fowler is the most recent winner in the field having won the Hero World Challenge in December and has been 5th and 6th in his two previous appearances in the event.

Hideki Matsuyama is another who must be considered given his solid recent form and a 2nd and 3rd place in his two appearances in the event.

Australian hopes rest with Australia’s now highest world ranked player, Marc Leishman, who will be playing the event for just the second occasion and Cameron Smith who, courtesy of his win in New Orleans last year with Jonas Blixt, gets the chance to tee it up in this iconic event for the first occasion.

A month ago, Smith won the Australian PGA Championship while Leishman finished 4th in the same event.



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