Tournament of Champions Preview 2021

Preview of the first PGA Tour tournament of the year

Tournament of Champions

The Tournament of Champions kicks off the PGA Tour action in 2021 when it takes place at Kapalua in Hawaii from January 7-10.

Justin Thomas is the defending champion of the Sentry-sponsored event, having won it for a second time in 2020. He won a play-off against Patrick Reed and defending champion Xander Schauffele last year.

The Tournament of Champions sees the winners of PGA Tour events from the previous calendar year usher in the new year by going head-to-head at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort.

This year, in addition to the PGA Tour winners from the previous season, the top 30 players in the FedExCup standings who played in the 2020 Tour Championship were also eligible as a result of the Covid-19 interuptions to the schedule.

PGA TOUR 2020/21 SCHEDULE | EUROPEAN TOUR 2021 SCHEDULE

Tournament of Champions History

The Tournament of Champions was first held in 1953 and has always started the golf action at the beginning of each year.

It previously started each PGA Tour season before the schedule was changed to run from October to September each year in 2013.

Now the Tournament of Champions begins the calendar year and is restricted to only those golfers who won a tournament on the PGA Tour the previous year.

It has been won by some of golf’s biggest names with Jack Nicklaus the most successful with five victories.

The names of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele are also on the roll of honour.

Kapalua Plantation Course Guide

The Tournament of Champions has been held at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on the island Maui in Hawaii since 1999. Previously it was staged in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Carlsbad, California.

Sitting in the West Maui Mountains, the Plantation Course is a par-73 measuring 7,452 yards favoured by big hitters thanks to the wide fairways on offer. The contenders face five par-5s and three par-3s to create the unusual par-73.

The course record is 62, an 11-under total achieved by four golfers in history, the most recent being Jason Day and Chris Kirk.

Tournament of Champions Contenders

Rory McIlroy has opted not to travel to Hawaii for the first event of the year and will miss the $6.7 million Tournament of Champions along with Tyrrell Hatton and Jim Herman.

That leaves a field of 42 headed by world number one Dustin Johnson, who will be playing his first tournament since winning the US Masters at Augusta in November.

Johnson is a two-time winner of the Tournament of Champions having won at Kapalua in 2013 and 2018.

Fellow two-time winner Justin Thomas is the defending champion having added to his victory in 2017 with a second success in the event 12 months ago.

A stacked field also includes last year’s US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and USPGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa.

Top-10 ranked players Jon Rahm, who was runner-up in 2018, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson have also committed to tee it up.

Schauffele, the 2019 Tournament of Champions winner, is one of a number of ex-champions. Johnson, Thomas, Patrick Reed (2015) and Sergio Garcia (2002) will all know how to win the season-opening event.

Tournament of Champions Selections

Schauffele and Reed both know how to win the tournament, and have also finished runner-up too – twice in Reed’s case. They can both enjoy solid starts to the year.

  • Xander Schauffele (Each-Way)
  • Patrick Reed (Each-Way)