PGA Tour: The best betting props for the Sentry Tournament of Champions
After a short break for Christmas, the PGA Tour returns this week with the Sentry Tournament of Champions — or as it should be called this year, the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a Few Other Tagalongs. The problem is, that name isn’t as catchy.
Traditionally, this event saw all the winners from the previous year do battle, but because of last year’s COVID-19 disruption, anyone who qualified for last year’s Tour Championship is eligible to enter the 2021 renewal.
This means a field of 42, and a high-class group at that, with eight of the world’s top 10 players in action this week in Hawaii.
Sentry Tournament of Champions 2021
Mon, January 11 2021, 2:00 AM
Kapalua's Plantation Course on Maui is a 7,600-yard, par 73, with sloping fairways and plenty of wind. But it shouldn’t be too taxing for golfing’s elite.
The fairways are wide, and the greens are large, which means driving distance nor driving accuracy is too critical. Scrambling and a red-hot putter is what will prevail in Hawaii, so keep your eyes peeled for anyone who can get up and down.
Here are the best prop bets for this week’s PGA Tour action.
This tournament trio pits Dustin Johnson against Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm, and I’m more than happy to side with the 2020 Masters winner. Johnson has won this event twice, and the last time we saw him, he was breaking records with a sublime performance at Augusta.
The break away from the golf course is no concern, given he had a lengthy absence before he won at Kapalua in 2013 and 2018.
Thomas is the defending champ but has finished outside the top 30 for scrambling in three of his five visits to Kapalua, so that makes me lean to DJ.
Rahm has three top 10s at the course but this week has made the decision to switch from TaylorMade to Callaway. While he will use his old wedge and putter this weekend, Rahm will have a new driver, irons, and balls for the first time, and that’s enough of a flag for me to stay away.
That negative feeling toward Rahm also points me in the direction of the Spaniard market, where his only rival is Sergio Garcia.
Rahm is the favorite, but despite his praise of the Callaway equipment, it is hard to be confident that the transition will be completely smooth.
Garcia hasn’t played this course since 2006 but won there on debut in 2002, after he put up a 64 in his final round.
Garcia found some nice patches of form toward the end of 2020, when he won the Sanderson Farms Championship and found himself in contention in the CJ Cup, where he eventually finished 21st.
Going back to 2010, there is plenty of evidence to suggest Garcia plays well after the Christmas break. He has five top 10 finishes and nine top 20s in 11 tournaments immediately after the break.
Garcia ranked fourth in strokes gained tee to green in 2020 and, with the question mark over Rahm’s clubs, that makes him a solid bet.
Patrick Reed won this event in 2015 and was a runner-up in 2016 and last year, when he lost in a playoff to Thomas.
Reed loves Kapalua. He has four finishes in the top six at this event and that's enough to fill me with confidence as the American arrives back in Hawaii.
He has also been playing some really nice golf of late. He hasn't fallen outside the top 15 in his six tournaments since September. A top three finish in the BMW Championship came before a top 10 finish in the Masters. Then he headed to Dubai and came in third in the DP World Tour Championship.
Reed has plenty of form on his side and loves the course, so there is no reason to think he can’t bag another top 10 finish.
You could back Cameron Smith to be the top Australian at +130, but there is more value in this prop bet.
Smith finished last year with a flourish, thanks to an 11th-place finish at the CJ Cup, followed by a fourth-place tie in the Zozo Championship and a runner-up spot at the Masters.
His Augusta form lines up well at this course, as five of the last eight winners at Kapalua already had a green jacket.
Smith is also the reigning Sony Open Champ in Hawaii, which is a huge plus, as Thomas, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, and Zach Johnson have all won both events.
Although Smith's debut on the Plantation Course resulted in a 17th-place finish, I’m hopeful he can carry last year’s good form into this competition.