It’s only the first tournament of 2022 and it is not even a full field, but each year when the Sentry Tournament of Champions rolls around, it is always one of my favorite events.
There are a few reasons.
1) Prime time golf on the West Coast during the winter. There’s not much better in sports viewing that sitting warm inside your house when it is dark and cold outside, watching professional golf taking place in Hawaii. Thursday-Saturday the event will be on the Golf Channel from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday’s final round is on NBC from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., and Golf Channel from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
2) The field. The tournament is for any golfer that won a tournament the previous year leading to one talented group. This year 39 of the 40 eligible golfers are playing with the lone golfer missing being Rory McIlroy.
3) The course. Kapalua on the island of Maui is as good as it gets for aesthetics. Next week the golfers play the Sony Open at Waialae C.C. in Honolulu and with a few exceptions, it translates as a course in an urban area. Not so this week. There is little doubt the golfers are in paradise as wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean are featured throughout the round. It is also a par 73, with only three par 3’s on the course. It has long holes and short holes. In all, a great test for the golfers and an enjoyable watch for the fans.
4) The 18th hole. Okay, technically this is part of the course, but you just love to sit there four hours a day and watch the best players in the world take their turn playing the downhill, down-wind 677-yard hole. The fairway is wide enough to land airplanes and watching the big hitters let it out down the right side to catch the ridge and make going for it in two possible.
5) The players are more laid back. It’s a no cut event and is really a stop where the players bring their significant other for a week of fun and relaxation. Oh, they want to win, but there does seem to be just a more relaxed approach to the tournament, which in turns for more exciting shots.
So, who wins this week?
In my fantasy league this week, the task at hand is to spend $5 on three golfers and for every dollar, you get their prize money. In other words, spend $2 and you get twice their prize money.
I spent my money like this – $2 on Justin Thomas, $2 on Xander Schauffele, and $1 on Jordan Spieth. All three are horses for the course.
JT won the tournament in 2017 and 2020 and has a pair of third place finishes. Schauffele won in 2019, lost in a playoff in 2020 and was fifth last year. Spieth was the 2016 winner and had three top 3 finishes in the four times he has played the event.
Enjoy the tournament and the visuals that come with it this week!
By Dennis Miller