The PGA Tour is back this week after taking two vacations in Hawaii.
The first kickoff for 2023 is Kapalua’s 39-man field.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Champion’s Sentry Tournament Basics
Plantation Course | Kapalua, Hawaii
Par 73 | 7,596 yards
Wallet: $15 million/$2.7 million
Winner FedExCup Points: 550
betting favorites, Via BetMGM: Jon Rahm (+650)
Last match: Cam Smith won in historic fashion
Cam Smith started a great season last year with a win at Kapalua, one of three tour wins, including the Open Championship, before moving to LIV Golf.
Smith beat Jon Rahm by one shot at 34-under that week, breaking the tour’s scoring record of 72 holes. The victory was his fourth of his career, and both Hawaii tours made him the fourth player ever to win at a stop. He recorded his 65 in the final round and on the 18th green he scored a 3-foot birdie for a narrow win.
A win would normally qualify Smith to return to Kapalua, but he won’t be there this week to defend his title. Smith, who is number three on the official World Golf Rankings, is still suspended from the tour.
Jon Rahm, Scotty Schaeffler Lead Road Field
The event is no longer just for past winners, with some of the world’s top ranked golfers taking a week off, but Kapalua’s fields are packed with some of the tour’s most famous players.
8 of the top 10 and 17 of the top 20 players on the Official World Golf Rankings play in Hawaii. The only exceptions are Rory McIlroy, who is taking a week off, and Smith, who is on suspension due to his ties to LIV Golf. Outside of that crew, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young, Tom Kim, Tony Finau, Colin Morikawa and Hikkei Matsuyama are all on the field as well. Shane Lowry is the only other golfer ranked in the top 20 not playing.
Rahm, who finished second in last year’s event and won the Tour once last season, is a favorite to start the week, and it’s easy to see why. Rahm has been playing great lately and in 2022 he has two wins on the DP World Tour. First he won the Acciona Open de España and then at the end of the season he won the DP World Tour Championship.
“It looks like things got a little better in the fall,” Rahm said on Tuesday. After the season ended, I took some time off and reset, so I was able to play well in the fall.”
Rahm also played great last season for Kapalua. Even though he didn’t win, he recorded his 33 unders for the week and never fell below 66.
“This is the worst I’ve ever played without winning a tournament, that’s for sure,” said Rahm. “I think last year was unique because the defense of this golf course, the wind wasn’t as strong as usual here and it was softer than it has been in the past. Didn’t… it doesn’t happen when you go low like that and can’t win.
Schaeffler can reclaim first place in the world rankings alone this week with a third place or better.
He’s coming off a breakout season with four wins, but it won’t be easy on the field he’s facing this week. he’s excited about it
“There are a lot of players playing well and I think they are at the top of the world rankings. It’s fun to have everyone here,” Schaeffler said Wednesday. “If it’s a good field, it definitely makes things more exciting.