UG Tips: SBS Tournament of Champions
It may be bleak outside and the thought of dusting off your sticks for a knock may be the last thing on your mind, but for the PGA Tour’s elite (at least last year’s winners) the golfing year starts this week in Hawaii.
The SBS Tournament of Champions is exactly what you might imagine – a tournament for all of last season’s PGA Tour winners – and as such brings together a small but highly capable field. With only 32 players teeing it up, the odds are understandably a little stingy among the top few.
The Kapalua Plantation Course has a tradition of super-low scoring and also throwing up repeat winners. Jordan Spieth certainly enjoyed himself last year on his way to 30 under par and a real romp to victory. With this in mind, you may think it somewhat ridiculous that we’ve left Spieth out this week, but while the quality of both himself and Hideki Matsuyama can’t be questioned their odds are somewhat miserly.
Dustin Johnson 6/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £95
DJ was victorious here back in 2013 when he started the season seriously hot. Having secured his 1st Major last summer and had a decent break, the expectation is for him to come out with even more confidence this season. Tee-to-green there really was nobody to match him last year, and it’s that advantage that he should be able to use to his advantage this week. He’s got the most course experience in the field and we are fully expecting him to eat up the course and be right up there once more. With conditions softer than usual, DJ’s prodigious length and accuracy will be hugely advantageous.
Patrick Reed 14/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £195
The feisty Reed had a quiet finish to the season following on from his Ryder Cup heroics. He too is a former winner here having lifted the trophy in 2015 and finished a distant 2nd last year and his scoring average of a touch over 67 reflects his form on the course. He is certainly becoming more consistent as he understands his swing more and is ready to join the top table of golfers on the planet.
Brandt Snedeker 18/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £245
Sneds may not have played much in the states since Ryder Cup but he has been popping up across the globe showing some scintillating form. Nowhere more so than in Fiji when he romped to victory on the Natadola Course – which incidentally bears an uncanny resemblance to the Plantation Course. The ever present trade winds shouldn’t trouble Snedeker who made a mockery of brutal conditions at Torrey Pines last year on his way to victory with one of the great rounds in PGA Tour history.
Pat Perez 66/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £845
Perez spent most of last season recovering from shoulder surgery and he defied the odds to comeback and win on just his 4th start. He’s certainly matured of late and looks to be at home in Hawaii where he is talking a great game for this week. With his new outlook, I am expecting him to enjoy his best year yet. While he may not be the most popular player on tour, he will certainly be well backed this season.