2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Ah yes, the week we’ve all been waiting for is finally here- the start of the 2018 PGA Tour season baby!  Wait, what’s that?  The season started already back in October?  Um, there’s really already been 8 official events this season?  Like those guys that won get to count it as official money, get an invite to the Masters and stuff?  Ok, yeah, this wrap-around season thingamabob still seems a bit wonky to me, but hey, regardless of when the season truly starts one thing remains fantastically awesome—watching live PGA Tour golf in HDTV primetime style in January.

This week is the Mercedes, Hyundai, SBS phew, I mean Sentry Tournament of Champions, which is the winner’s only event from the prior year.  So yeah—the big dogs–DJ, Spieth, Rickie, JT and 30 others are all teeing it up this week.  Side note- props to the new young crop for actually making the trip to the middle of the Pacific in January vs being too cool to do so a la Tiger later in his career (sorry Tiger, you’ve been uninvited since 2013 anyway due to your performance, or lack thereof).

The host venue is The Plantation Course at Kapaula Resort, which is Hawaiian for enormous fairways and beautiful vistas.  Ok, I made that up, but seriously, this course has some of the widest fairways on Tour and some incredible views of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.  Also of note is that it’s the only par 73 on Tour, which rings in at 7,452 yards from the tips.  Oh yeah, and the tourney runs Friday-Monday too, primetime style each night.  #cantwait


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Rickie Fowler
– Poised and primed for a monster 2018 season, I’m all aboard the Rickie train this week.  Only two appearances here thus far in his career for the recently turned 29-year-old, but a t-6th and 5th to show for it.  With much of the attention focused on JT, Spieth and DJ, I’m zagging while others zig and going with Rickie this week.


patrick cantlay
Patrick Cantlay
– It may have gone unnoticed by some simply because of when it occurred (football season), but this budding superstar burst through into the PGA Tour winner’s circle Vegas style in early November.  It was simply an inevitability, as I fully expect Cantlay to be a top 10 player in the OWGR within the next two years and very possibly a Ryder Cupper this fall.  Hasn’t missed a cut on the PGA Tour since August of 2014 (yep, you read that right!) and while that doesn’t matter in this week’s no cut event, it just shows how ultra impressive his talent is (yes, I realize he was injured in 2016).  Look for another week of contention from the 25-year-old this week.


Chris Stroud
Chris Stroud
– A nice story for the 15-year veteran to finally capture his first trophy last August at the Barracuda Championship; however, don’t fall trap to him being a sleeper coming into this week, as since then he’s mostly gone back to being Chris Stroud, with just one top ten finish and multiple MCs.  T-27th out of 34 written all over him this week.


Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau
– After a sluggish start to 2017, the mad scientist found his groove in the summer, ultimately hoisting his first PGA Tour trophy at the John Deere Classic and thus earning an invite to this week.  Obviously no course history to draw from, but coming off a very solid fall stretch where he went t-17th, t-7th, t-14th in three events, along with the fact that he seems to especially relish special invites (like this week’s winner’s only group) and therefore won’t get caught up in the beautiful scenery and nightlife this week, I expect him to continue his solid momentum into this week.


Joel Harrington

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