Golf in 2017 is an exciting prospect. With the likes of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy all beginning to embrace the rivalry amongst each other, and the return of Tiger Woods to a full season of play, golf fans have lots to look forward to.
The first taste of golf in 2017 is the Tournament of Champions, open to winners from last year’s PGA Tour season. The elitist nature of the tournament means we’re in for a highly competitive field and top-notch golf. Let’s take a look at the course and the players that are likely to be there or thereabouts on Sunday.
The Plantation course at Kapalua is the number one ranked course in Hawaii. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore it plays 7,411 yards and is a par 73 layout. Big fairways and big greens make for easy tee to green statistics, but undulating greens may make up for it. The course features massive changes in elevation offering plenty of downhill tee shots; tailor made for the big hitting pros.
Jordan Spieth was a comfortable winner last year over Patrick Reed (2nd), Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka (T3). It was, at a time when Spieth was winning everything though (Majors, Hero World Challenge) so it came as no surprise. Spieth’s 30-under total showed just how manageable the Kapalua course is if the wind doesn’t blow. Spieth’s at $6.50 to go back-to-back.
Bubba Watson $17
The two-time Masters champion has now won on the PGA Tour at least once in six of the last seven seasons after winning the Northern Trust Open. Desperately hard to predict but on his day an absolute showman that is tough to beat. Though, can his day last for four.
Dustin Johnson $6.50
2016 was the year of the DJ. He took out his first major, the U.S. Open at Oakmont and had two other high-profile wins, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the BMW Championship during the FedExCup Playoffs. Those three victories and 15 top 10s in 22 starts earned him Player of the Year honours for the first time. He should hit the ground running like he never left. Massive chance.
Jason Day $7.50
Australian Jason Day will make his 2016-17 PGA TOUR season debut at the SBS Tournament of Champions after being sidelined in the fall while rehabilitating a back injury. He’s never finished outside the top 10 here, but the injury is a major worry.
Hideki Matsuyama $6
Matsuyama leads the FedExCup standings on the strength of a second place finish at the CIMB Classic and a win at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He also won the HERO World Challenge just to further underpin his potential to win here. Seriously consider for the win or each way.
Patrick Reed $12
Reed won this event in 2015 and finished second here last year so if you use course form as your guide, he’s as good a tip as you’ll find. Caution though could be exercised on his recent form – a pretty poor showing at the HERO World Challenge.
Brandt Snedeker $21
2012 FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker qualified to play in his fifth SBS Tournament of Champions with a brilliant final round at the Farmers Insurance Open, which saw some of the worst weather – and worst scoring – of the year. Performed well here last year – as he does in almost every single tournament he plays in.
*Odds from Bet365
A strong field is always tricky to predict, so we’ll bank on course history and recent form to suggest Reed or Matsuyama will prevail in Hawaii.
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