Sentry Tournament of Champions Tips and Preview

Gary Emmerson:
Dustin Johnson Golf

The first PGA Tour event of 2020 sees a small field head to Kapalua Plantation Course from January 2 for the Tournament of Champions and picks out the best value bets.

Only winners from the previous PGA Tour season are eligible and it is a high-class field set to tee it up in Hawaii – even allowing for the fact Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have opted not to play.

Defending champion Xander Schauffele is one of four former winners who will line-up along with two-time winner Dustin Johnson (2013 and 2018), Justin Thomas (2017) and Patrick Reed (2015). The 2017 runner-up Jon Rahm, last year’s second place finisher Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar all add to the quality on show.

It is hard to know who will begin the year firing on all cylinders, but the Americans may well have an advantage having played competitive golf in the Presidents Cup victory over the International Team in Australian in December prior to the Christmas break.

With past course form at Kapalua, that makes Johnson, Thomas and Reed in particular of interest from a betting point of view. Thomas lies only behind Rahm in the betting markets, but is a touch on the short side to be of interest.

It is Johnson and Reed who are both each-way propositions worth backing in the Tournament of Champions.

Johnson enjoyed a break after undergoing surgery at the end of the PGA Tour season. Fully refreshed from some time on the sidelines, he successively came through the Presidents Cup from a fitness point of view, and at double figure odds represents exceptional value to make it three wins in the Tournament of Champions.

Reed is the other one I want to back. He had a tough time of things at the Presidents Cup after courting controversy for his rules infringement at the Hero World Challenge in December.

Despite the two-shot penalty he was hit with for improving his lie in the bunker, Reed finished third in the Bahamas and as a past winner and runner-up at Kapalua, he’s an each-way shout to be on.