Sentry Tournament of Champions Preview
The PGA Tour, where professional golfers seldom sleep.
The rat race is back on in Hawaii this weekend, when the best golfers on the PGA Tour take on the beautiful but physically daunting Plantation Course. Designed by Coore and Crenshaw in 1991 the Coastal Resort course plays at 7452 yards.
The Par 73 layout does not come with any water hazards and the fairways are pretty wide. It is not the hardest course to play on the PGA Tour, by any stretch of the imagination.
It really is heavily reliant on the wind to determine difficulty and the terrain will probably test those golfers who are not physically fit at the weekend. Quite frankly, there are not many of those around on the tour anymore either.
By all accounts, the weather will be good for most of the weekend, so we honestly should expect some seriously low scoring. It is often said fortune favours the brave…that is particularly applicable this weekend.
The bombers, of which there are so many on the PGA Tour now, are expected to flourish in these conditions.
That said, no golf course on the PGA Tour should ever be trifled with. The vast elevation changes throughout the course make it very easy to misread, while approaching, on and around the greens.
In addition to that, it can be quite easy to fall behind the eight ball quickly at this event. If you are no carding birdies regularly, you will become an afterthought before anybody can say mashed potatoes.
Beyond Jonathan Byrd, the recent champions here have always been expected to win. Bombers Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas have won the last two events. Johnson was second in driving distance on both occasions he won and Thomas was third in driving distance when he won.
When Patrick Reed won in 2015, he was fourth in driving distance. However, the one figure where almost every winner of this event has totally dominated was greens-in-regulation. That will be the key again this weekend.
Recent form also counts for little to nothing at this event. When Johnson won, he had finished among the top ten just once in his previous four events.
The fact the players have been on a break means there will either be a touch of rust to negotiate, while others might hit the ground running primarily because they got the break they needed.
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