The Sentry Tournament of Champions is the traditional curtain raiser for the New Year. It features winning golfers from the previous 12 months and the nature of qualification means that the standard is always high.
Inevitably, there will always be absentees for various reasons. Rory McIlroy is taking an extended Christmas break while the advent of Liv Golf has taken away some players, including last year’s champion Cameron Smith.
Golf remains split, but a world class field will be descending on Kapalua in Hawaii so let’s see if we can pick out some winners.
Jon Rahm is some way ahead of the field this week and you can currently claim the Spaniard at best industry odds of 13/2. Rahm was the solo runner up to Cam Smith last year and he hasn’t been outside of the top ten in five visits to the Tournament of Champions. Along with the absent McIlroy, Rahm is one of the form players in world golf right now. He has two wins in his last four starts, and those victories sit alongside a tie for second and a tie for fourth.
The chasers are led this week by Scottie Scheffler at 9/1 while the reigning Masters Champion is followed by Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele who are all available at top prices of 11/1.
Scheffler’s touch deserted him midway through the season, but he’s found some form again with three recent top ten finishes. This is only his second visit to the Tournament of Champions and it follows a tie for 13th in 2021.
Justin Thomas actually heads the Power Rankings this week. He’s a two-time winner of this event with victories in 2017 and 2020 and those successes form part of five top five finishes.
Schauffele is another former champion and his victory in 2019 included a 62. Patrick Cantlay has yet to win, but he’s been consistent with four top 15 finishes in his four starts.
Next up is Tony Finau at 16/1, followed by Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im and Viktor Hovland who can all be found at 20/1 in places. Having recorded back-to-back wins at the end of 2022, Tony Finau will attract interest. His power game could suit this lengthy Plantation Course, but windy conditions mean that he’ll need more precision.
Both Im and Morikawa have solid records at the Tournament of Champions without ever lifting the trophy. Hovland has been less successful here, but he should be rested and in good shape after defending his Hero World Challenge title.
There are few real outsiders in a short field of this quality. Behind the main chasers, Cameron Young and the 2022 US Open Champion Matt Fitzpatrick are both on offer at a best of 22/1. Sam Burns is next at 28/1, while there is some interest in 2016 winner Jordan Spieth at 30/1.
While he’s not the same player from seven years ago, Spieth has shown glimpses of his best golf in the last 12 months. He’s been inside the top three on three occasions here and this is a course and tournament that suits his play.
Next up are Tom Kim, Will Zalatoris and Max Homa who are all on offer at 33/1 in places. In the case of Tom Kim, this is an eagerly anticipated debut after a breakthrough season and his attacking play should be rewarded this week.
Zalatoris has been battling injury while Homa has been on hiatus following the birth of his first child in October. All three could be strong contenders in 2023.
Others to mention in the outsiders section include Hideki Matsuyama at 40/1, Brian Harman at 45/1, Seamus Power at 50/1, Keegan Bradley at 55/1, Billy Horschel at 66/1, Tom Hoge at 80/1 and Sepp Straka at 125/1.
It is another world class field, despite those absentees, but what will it take to get over the line?
Our Preview’s Tournament of Champions Course and Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
The Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort in Hawaii offers a rare par 73 with around 7,600 yards in play. Despite its length, low scoring has been seen on a regular basis and, in 2022, Cameron Smith smashed the aggregate record as he came in at 34 under par.
Trade winds should keep that record intact this year, but there should be some low scoring throughout the four days. The par 5s should offer an eagle target while wide fairways and moderate rough will keep the numbers down.
A good mix of power and a touch of accuracy will be required. Jon Rahm is hard to ignore, but we are opting for Justin Thomas who has such an exceptional record in this event. JT turned in a tie for fifth here in similar windy conditions and he has a game built for this course.
Thomas for the win is the main pick. In a small field of 40 players, there won’t be too much scope for longer odds in the Top Ten markets. However, we have included three other Top Five picks as we look to get 2023 off to a profitable start. So these are the betting predictions and picks against the U.S. sports betting sites for this Sentry Tournament of Champions 2023 golf preview:
- Justin Thomas to win at a best of @ +1000 (10/1) with BetOnline or EveryGame.
- JT, Seamus Power, Jordan Spieth and Tom Kim for Top Five Finishes: (Bovada, EveryGame and BetOnline all offer this betting market).
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.