Sentry Tournament of Champions odds, preview, and course notes
The PGA Tour will kick off the new calendar year in electrifying fashion at the exclusive Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui.
The no-cut event at Kapalua Resort will welcome golf’s cream of the crop, including recent Masters champion and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, as well as defending Tournament of Champions winner Justin Thomas.
Johnson will head in as a +650 favorite, while Thomas is close behind on the odds board at +750.
Sentry Tournament of Champions 2021
Mon, January 11 2021, 2:00 AM
The Louisville native won last year’s tournament in a playoff with Xander Schauffele (+1000) and Patrick Reed (+1600). He also finished first in 2017 by three strokes over runner-up Hideki Matsuyama (+1800).
Added competition in 2021 Tournament of Champions
Typically, this event is limited to winners from the previous PGA Tour season. Because of the cancellation of 10 PGA tournaments during the 2019-20 season, this year’s Tournament of Champions will allow anyone who qualified for last season’s event to compete, as well. That will extend the field to 42 players, the largest in tournament history.
Eight of the top 10 players in the world will be present at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, a par-73, 7,596-yard layout.
World No. 4 Rory McIlroy opted not to participate, as did No. 10 Tyrrell Hatton, and last year’s Wyndham Championship winner, Jim Herman.
Plantation Course layout and relevant statistics
Expect low scores on this fairly easy Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design.
With wide fairways and no water in play, golfers can bomb it off the tee with little risk. Wedge play will be especially important to set up scoring opportunities on the soft Bermuda greens.
Coastal wind could present a challenge, as it did last year, after heavy wind and rain enveloped the course.
In addition to inclement weather, a course redesign in 2019 likely contributed to higher scores than normal last season. Thomas finished at 14-under, the highest winning score since 2007.
From 2008 to 2019, the average winning score was 22-under. Ernie Els set the course record, 31-under, back in 2003.
Strokes gained off the tee, approaching the green, and on par 5s are key statistics to consider.
The Plantation Course features four par 5s, ranging from 526 yards to 677, plus three difficult par 3s (161 yards to 219 yards), and 11 par 4s.
Golfers who excel on Bermuda grass will also hold an advantage.
Reed is one such player who is particularly good on the surface. He won this event in 2015 and has since finished second, sixth, 25th, and second in his last four appearances.
Webb Simpson (+1800) is another solid Bermuda putter. He landed first at last season’s RBC Heritage and Phoenix Open, both on Bermuda, and finished eighth the last time he played the Tournament of Champions in 2019.
Best bets for Tournament of Champions
It’s difficult not to back two-time Tournament of Champions winner Johnson, after his recent tear on Tour.
Not only did he collect a green jacket at Augusta, but he landed sixth at September’s U.S. Open, second in November’s Houston Open, and closed out the 2019-20 season with four consecutive top-two finishes (two of those wins).
Thomas is also a worthy shot to join Gene Littler, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, and Stuart Appleby as the tournament’s only three-time winners, but you can find better value elsewhere.
Schauffele won this event in 2019 and posted two top-5s in his most recent appearances on Tour.
Bryson DeChambeau (+1000) is also capable of making a run this weekend. The recent U.S. Open champ ranks first in strokes gained off the tee, sixth in strokes gained approaching the green, and is tied for 14th in par-5 scoring.
He finished seventh the last time he played the Tournament of Champions in 2019.
How to watch the Sentry Tournament of Champions
The winner of the Tournament of Champions will receive $1.34 million of the $6.7 million prize pool, plus 500 FedEx Cup points.
You can catch all the action Thursday through Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m. ET, and Sunday 6 to 8 p.m. ET, on the Golf Channel. NBC will carry the first two hours of the final round on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. ET.