The Hyundai Tournament of Champions kick-starts 2015 on the PGA Tour, and is hosted by the Plantation Course, Kapalua Resort, Maui, Hawaii as it has been since 1999.
It’s a tournament to which only players who’ve won a PGA Event since last year’s tournament are invited; meaning a field of just 34 compete for this year’s trophy.
The last two winners, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson, are polarised in regard to their golfing attributes and, as such, it is impossible to highlight an identikit winner in terms of statistics. Current form and motivation are seemingly much more important, and siding with players who have something to prove will hopefully pay dividends.
Bubba Watson, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar are all trading at single-figure odds this week but, whilst they deserve their place at the head of the market, it is hard to make a case for any of the trio in terms of value.
Watson has tournament figures of 25/18/4, Kuchar 25/3/6/9/6, whilst Day was 9th on his only visit here – and all have already secured their places in the year’s big tournaments courtesy of their world rankings.
Indeed, world rankings may well be the main motivation this week with those players positioned between 51st and 99th having most to gain by winning this event – as the ranking points for doing so would most likely see them jump into the world’s top-50; securing them entry into this year’s majors and World Golf Events.
Three such players are Tim Clark, Geoff Ogilvy and JB Holmes, and all are priced at odds which means that a top-4 finish for any of them would guarantee us a profit.
1 point each-way JB Holmes @ 50/1
Tournament figures of 4/29 highlight the hot and cold nature of the 32-year-old’s golf game but, after returning from a series of injuries that included brain surgery, he showed some great form last year to get himself up to 67 in the world rankings. Sure to be motivated to reach the top-50 echelon and is at an age when many golfers peak, whilst his previous 4th placed finish shows he has what it takes.
1 point each-way Tim Clark @ 40/1
Clark doesn’t possess the length of the tee to overpower courses but, very much like last year’s winner Zach Johnson, he fires his irons in close to the pins and sets up lots of birdie chances. His current ranking of 62 means he needs at least one good performance soon, but his real motivation is the forthcoming ban on anchored-putters which means this will be his last year using his current putting method – and he’s sure to be keen to make the most of it. 2nd and 7th on his two starts before Christmas and, hopefully, he can continue where he left off.
1 point each-way Geoff Ogilvy @ 50/1
The 37-year-old Australian has never quite reached the heights predicted of him after winning the US Open but is still capable of playing some great golf around courses he has played well on previously. Last year’s wins at the Barracuda Championship and 3rd placed finish at the Deutsche Bank highlight this perfectly – and he has won this tournament the last twice he’s played here.