The Tournament of Champions is the traditional curtain-raiser to the PGA Tour year – a low-scoring event in beautiful Hawaii that used to be reserved for all the winners from the previous 12 months.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua, Maui, has become the established venue for the tournament.
Qualification criteria changes increased the field in size – anyone who teed up in the season-ending Tour Championship automatically earned a spot in the Tournament of Champions – and this week there will be 39 players taking part. There is no cut, so 72 holes are guaranteed for everybody.
Jon Rahm headlines the field and tops the betting. The world No 5 ended last year on a high by winning the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and he will be a popular choice for Hawaii punters at 13/2 this week.
Rahm carded a 33-under-par total in last year’s Tournament of Champions, which windless skies turned into a birdie-fest before Rahm lost a thrilling duel with Cameron Smith. The Aussie, who has since departed for LIV Golf, edged the Spaniard by a shot.
Rahm has twice finished runner-up here and has a course experience edge over the second name in the betting – Scottie Scheffler. The 17/2 about Scheffler has been a warm order this week, and the Plantation Course sets up well for him, so the Masters champion should be a factor. He finished 13th in his only previous Tournament of Champions start.
Xander Schauffele (10/1) and Justin Thomas (11/1) are both former winners of the event. Thomas, in fact, has won two of the previous six editions at Kapalua. The American duo are difficult to dismiss for this week’s shootout, while the in-form Tony Finau will also expect to challenge.
Sentry Tournament of Champions golf betting tips
Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change
Backing Dexter King’s tips? You can track every drive, approach and putt from your selections with real-time shot-by-shot data and interactive course visualisations on bet365’s Live Golf Tracker.
Spieth ready to sparkle again
The 2016 Tournament of Champions will live long in the memory of Jordan Spieth fans who watched him romp to an incredible eight-shot victory. That followed a runner-up effort on his Kapalua debut and he was third when defending his title in 2017.
Spieth, 25/1 this week, is perfectly suited to the Plantation Course assignment. The undulating terrain lends itself to those with creativity and shot-making skills, and the enormous greens put a premium on a sharp short game.
The Presidents Cup in September provided a significant injection of confidence for Spieth, who was the top points scorer, and he kept himself ticking over nicely in three different events last month.
Tip: Jordan Spieth to win outright @ 25/1 with bet365
Bride and joy for Im?
Sungjae Im got married just before Christmas and he could have a trophy on Sunday night to take home to his blushing bride. The Korean, an 18/1 chance, has been in super-consistent form from the end of July onwards.
Last season Im was second in the 3M Open, second in the Wyndham Championship and second in the Tour Championship. This year trophies may start to flow and Kapalua, where he has finished fifth and eighth in two starts, could be the start of something special.
Tip: Sungjae Im to win outright @ 18/1 with bet365
Hovland can keep pace with short-price favourite
Rahm has been made an emphatic favourite in the top Continental market, but Viktor Hovland won the Hero World Challenge last time out and 19/10 seems a big price for the cheerful Norwegian.
The Spaniard can be prone to a cold putter and seems a short price to defeat Hovland and Sepp Straka in this market.
Tip: Viktor Hovland top Continental @ 19/10 with bet365