PGA Picks: Sentry Tournament of Champions Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Welcome to another year of PGA Tour betting coverage here at Doc's! I usually accurately predict a handful of winners every year, but want to reaffirm my belief that wagering much money on a player to win a tournament is a fool's errand. A better option is a Top-10 finish, and the best of them value-wise are head-to-head matchups in this writer's opinion. I usually do throw a few bucks each week on the potential winner.
A quick primer on this year.
The Masters is in April at Augusta National like always. That tees off on April 9. The PGA Championship is May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. The U.S. Open is at the very tough Winged Foot in New York from June 18-21 and the British Open is at Royal St. George's in England from July 16-19. You can already wager on if a certain player wins any major this year. World No. 1 Brooks Koepka is +200. Tiger Woods, who so memorably won the 2018 Masters, is +400. Phil Mickelson is +2000 to win his first major since the 2013 British Open.
There was a bit of finagling for this year's schedule because it's an Olympic year. The golf competition is July 30-Aug. 2 at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, Japan. That field is limited to just 60 players. The Top 15 players in the world rankings as of June 22 are eligible for the Games with a limit of four players from a given country. After that, players will be eligible based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the Top 15. Got all that?
It's also a Ryder Cup year and players will accumulate points to qualify for Team USA and Team Europe all year. That competition is Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin. You may remember the 2015 PGA Championship was held there and won by Aussie Jason Day. Steve Stricker is the American captain and Padraig Harrington for Europe.
The New Year tees off Thursday with the Sentry Tournament of Champions from the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii. Doesn't matter if you are the biggest name in golf, if you didn't win a tournament the previous year (or earlier this wraparound season), then you aren't eligible for this event. Tiger qualified but isn't playing. Probably see him next at the Farmers Insurance Open on Jan. 23 in San Diego. Phil Mickelson also is taking a pass. Probably see him next in San Diego too.
The Plantation Course, which has hosted since 1999, is a par 73 that plays to around 7,500 yards. Barring crazy trade winds, it's going to take at least 20 under par to win. The 72-hole record was 261 set by Ernie Els in 2003. The 18-hole mark is a 62 by a few guys. Xander Schauffele won a year ago at 23 under, beating Gary Woodland by a shot. Schauffele shot a final-round 62. It was the ninth straight year an American won; many top Europeans, like Rory McIlroy, for example, stay overseas until later in the year.
There is no cut in this event with a field of just 34. There are 15 first-time winners making their tournament debut: Corey Conners, Tyler Duncan, Dylan Frittelli, Lanto Griffin, Max Homa, Sung Kang, Nate Lashley, Adam Long, Keith Mitchell, Collin Morikawa, Sebastian Munoz, Joaquin Niemann, J.T. Poston, Martin Trainer, and Matthew Wolff.
Golf Odds: Sentry Tournament of Champions Favorites
Spain's Jon Rahm is a +404 favorite. He was named European Tour Golfer of the Year, claiming that Tour's Race to Dubai title in the season-ending tournament. Rahm is the top-ranked European in the world and won three times on that Tour. Rahm has played this tournament twice and was eighth and runner-up.
Justin Thomas is +505 with Schauffele at +706. They are two of four former winners of this event in the field. Thomas won in 2017 at 22 under. Patrick Cantlay and Dustin Johnson are each +1000. DJ won here in 2018 (by eight shots) and 2013. Cantlay has played here once and was 15th in 2018. Patrick Reed is another former champ and is +1100.
Golf Odds: Sentry Tournament of Champions Picks
Like Johnson (-150) and Thomas (-300) for Top 10s. DJ has been Top 10 here seven straight times. Thomas also has a third-place finish in Maui to go with that victory. We'll go with Rickie Fowler at +1100 to win. He hasn't been worse than sixth in three trips.
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