Alright class, pay attention for a second. I would like everyone who thinks they can predict the winner of a PGA Tour event to raise their hand.
Okay, you guys are more confident than I thought.
It’s not the Tiger Woods era anymore. Or is it?
Alright, for those of you who still have their hands raised, keep them up if you think you can pick the winner of this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions which features a field of PGA tournament winners from 2018 and nobody else.
Okay, now we are being a bit more realistic. Even though this week’s field of golfers won’t include Tiger Woods, Lefty Mickelson or Justin Rose, nearly every other big name in golf will be vying for that winner’s first sip in the clubhouse on Sunday.
There are a few guys I have in mind I think will play the Kapalua Course in Maui at the highest level this week. I’m going to give you a quick buzz clip article, if you will, each week of 3 or 4 golfer picks to win.
One slightly-lucky, as well as highly-skilled PGA Tour golfer, is going to emerge victorious this weekend. Let’s go ahead and narrow the field to 3.
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The level of Dustin Johnson’s play declined as the 2018 season reached mid-Summer and he remained at a mediocre level through the end of the year.
We know how skillful, strong-bodied, and focused DJ has been throughout his successful career on the PGA Tour.
Could the decline in his play be due to the serious low back injury he received from a nasty fall down a staircase almost two years ago?
Maybe there was another time he got banged up that he just kept to himself and attempted to play through it.
It’s quite possible the health of his marriage to Wayne Gretzky’s daughter, Paulina, was in sharp decline after each of them addressed divorce rumors and Dustin was seen several times with another woman.
Wait, maybe she pushed him down the stairs…
What does this TMZ bullcrap have to do with golf, you ask?
Quite a bit, actually.
Just look at what happened to DJ’s year. He was leading the PGA Tour in almost every major statistical category when things suddenly turned south.
Golf is, of course, a physical game. There’s no better example of that than Dustin, but the mental component of the game is clearly stronger.
With all of that being said, Dustin Johnson is still the best golfer in the world.
He is a combined 39 under par in the last two years at this tournament which is better than any other golfer by over a dozen strokes. Only 2017 winner Justin Thomas comes close.
Even with the lowest payout of any golfer on the board, DJ holds serious value at this week’s Tournament of Champions.
If you’re a die-hard golf fan, you may have already heard about this kid.
The world of sports, though, is soon about to learn his name. Seemingly every golf camp coach Cameron has ever had praised his play at a higher level than they had seen before.
It’s his driving distance that has everyone talking.
In 20 rounds of golf played in the PGA Tour’s Fall Series, Champ has driven the ball 40 times for over 13,000 yards. That’s good enough for 1st place so far at nearly 330 yards/drive.
The Kapalua Course in Maui this week lends itself to the longer players and you can’t do much better than a 330-yard average drive.
Averaging better than 14 under par in those first six tourneys of the season is a great start for the 23-year-old Texas A&M Aggie.
Can he get in there with the big boys, maintain composure, and continue his smoking hot play?
I think he’s got a good chance, and plus it can be a lot of fun rooting for the new guy.
The phenom from Northern Ireland is getting started on the PGA Tour early in 2019. He usually waits until the end of the month to play his first tournament, but the highly-competitive field this week in Maui must have changed his mind.
As I said before, this is a course that caters to the heavy hitters off the tee. Statistically, last year, there was no heavier a hitter than McIlroy. At nearly 320 yards a pop, Rory ranked #1 for the season on the Tour.
It usually takes golfers a couple times through this course to get the hang of it, but McIlroy could buck that trend this weekend.
I think the man is much more calculated than people give him credit. I wouldn’t doubt that he treated the wife to holiday in Hawaii as he found time to scout the course over on Maui.
Watch out for Rory on Sunday.
The Sentry Tournament of Champions hopefully gets more press and build up next year. Fans don’t have to wait all winter for a tourney packed so tight with superstars. Per capita, this weekend packs as much star power as any Major.
Because of that, picking a winner is that much more difficult. I picked 3 golfers for you today that can get it done this weekend.
Rory was your driving distance leader in 2018 and Cameron Champ is your early leader this season.
Dustin Johnson, despite a drop-off in his play for the second half of the year, still managed to finish near or atop several statistical categories.
These are three of the most talented golfers on the PGA Tour. Get those bets in early!