The 2022 calendar year on the PGA Tour begins with its traditional Hawaii swing, opening with the Sentry Tournament of Champions (TOC) that is restricted to event winners in the past year, including those on the PGA Tour and the Olympic Games.
The only par 73 layout on Tour, the Plantation Course at Kapalua on the island of Maui, serves as a 7,596-yard host that offers dramatic elevation changes and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Harris English is the defending champion, defeating Joaquin Niemann in a sudden-death playoff in 2021 after the pair tied at 25 under par following 72 holes of regulation play. Of the 40 players eligible for the Sentry TOC, 39 will tee it up at Kapalua, including two-time winner Phil Mickelson. He will be making his first appearance in 21 years, with only Rory McIlroy choosing to skip the tournament.
The last five winners of the TOC are on hand with a purse of $8.4 million up for grabs in the limited-field event that doesn’t have a 36 hole cut, so all participants will pick up a nice paycheck to start the new year.
Although the tournament marks the first official event of 2022, it’s the tenth tournament of the wraparound 2021-2022 season that awards FedEx Cup points to the winner.
Jon Rahm, the top player in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), leads the wagering odds at +600, despite recording just one victory in the 2020-2021 season with his U.S. Open win at Torrey Pines in June. His consistency was outstanding, however, as the Spaniard recorded 15 top ten finishes in 22 Tour starts.
With odds of +850, two-time TOC winner and last year’s third-place finisher Justin Thomas is in second on the list as he revisits the site of his homophobic comment that disrupted his career until he rebounded with a victory in The Players Championship.
Collin Morikawa, with a chance to overtake Rahm in the OWGR, is at +1000, followed by Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, and Viktor Hovland with odds of +1200.]
Underdog Betting Picks
Since every participant in the tournament has at least one victory in the past 12 months, it’s difficult to find any true underdogs in a 39 player field packed with talent. Although Jordan Spieth snapped an extended slump with a win at the Valero Texas Open that qualified him for the TOC for the first time since a ninth-place finish in 2018, he has yet to follow it up with another victory and at +2200 is a good bet to win for the second time at Kapalua.
Patrick Reed, the 2015 TOC champion, has two other top seven finishes since 2017, including as a runner up to Thomas in 2020 and qualified with his win in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. At odds of +2800, the nine-time winner on the PGA Tour can go low, and he has a good history in the event.
Australian Marc Leishman, who now resides in Virginia Beach, gained entry into the TOC by partnering with Cameron Smith to win the WGC- Dell Technologies Match Play. Still, on his own, he has a solid record of performance in the Sentry TOC.
Leishman has odds of +3000, and although he struggled to a 24th place finish in 2021, he placed fifth in 2019 and seventh in 2018.