The Sentry Tournament of Champions is the PGA Tour’s only winners-only event on the schedule. The only way to earn a spot in the field is to win a PGA Tour-sanctioned official event since the previous Tournament of Champions was played.
The Tournament of Champions concept goes back to 1953, when it first hit the schedule. The original idea was to have the tournament be a showcase of winners. However, in 1986, the PGA Tour moved the Tournament of Champions to the very front of the schedule, showcasing it as the season-opening tournament.
After the 2013 season, the PGA Tour moved to a wrap-around schedule, meaning the Tournament of Champions was no longer the first event on a schedule that now ran from September (or October) through August (or September). The Sentry Tournament of Champions has remained in its same calendar spot — the first tournament of the year — as part of the Hawaii Swing with the Sony Open in Hawaii, which is the first full-field event of the year.
Jack Nicklaus has won the tournament the most times, earning five wins in his career, with his last in 1977. Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer have three wins, tying for the second-most wins in the event with Stuart Appleby, who won three years in a row from 2004-2006, and Gene Littler, who won three in a row from 1955-1957. Tiger Woods has won the tournament twice, along with Steve Elkington, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Gary Player, Don January, Frank Beard, Geoff Ogilvy and Tom Kite.
Sentry Tournament of Champions format
The Sentry Tournament of Champions is played over four days, and there is no cut for the qualifying field — part of the reward for getting in the event and earning the opportunity to compete. At the end of the 72-hole event, the lowest score wins.
From 2012-2015, the tournament was played from Friday to Monday in hopes of the final round serving as a pre-game of sorts for the college football national championship game.
Sentry Tournament of Champions host courses
- Desert Inn Country Club, Las Vegas, Nev.: 1953-1966
- Stardust Country Club, Las Vegas, Nev.: 1967-1968
- La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, Calif.: 1969-1998
- Kapalua Resort (Plantation Course), Maui, Hawaii: 1999-present
Sentry Tournament of Champions past sponsors
The Tournament of Champions has seen a variety of title sponsors over the years:
- Mutual of New York (MONY): 1975-1990
- Infinite: 1991-1993
- Mercedes-Benz: 1994-2009
- Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS): 2010, 2017
- Hyundai (sublet from SBS): 2011-2016
- Sentry Insurance: 2018-present
In 2010, SBS signed a 10-year deal to sponsor the tournament. However, after the first year, they sublet out the sponsorship to Hyundai, who was title sponsor until their Genesis brand took over the sponsorship of the Los Angeles Open.
In 2020, Sentry signed a 10-year deal to sponsor the tournament through the end of the 2020s.
Sentry Tournament of Champions history & results
|2018||Dustin Johnson (2)||268||−24||8||$1,260,000|
|2010||Geoff Ogilvy (2)||270||−22||1||$1,120,000|
|2006||Stuart Appleby (3)||284||−8||PO||$1,080,000|
|2005||Stuart Appleby (2)||271||−21||1||$1,060,000|
|2000||Tiger Woods (2)||276||−16||PO||$522,000|
|1998||Phil Mickelson (2)||271||−17||1||$306,000|
|1995||Steve Elkington (2)||278||−10||PO||$180,000|
|1993||Davis Love III||272||−16||1||$144,000|
|1991||Tom Kite (2)||272||−16||1||$144,000|
|1984||Tom Watson (3)||274||−14||5||$72,000|
|1983||Lanny Wadkins (2)||280||−8||1||$72,000|
|1980||Tom Watson (2)||276||−12||3||$54,000|
|1978||Gary Player (2)||281||−7||2||$45,000|
|1977||Jack Nicklaus (5)||281||−7||PO||$45,000|
|1976||Don January (2)||277||−11||5||$45,000|
|1973||Jack Nicklaus (4)||276||−12||1||$40,000|
|1971||Jack Nicklaus (3)||279||−9||8||$33,000|
|1970||Frank Beard (2)||273||−15||7||$30,000|
|1966||Arnold Palmer (3)||283||−5||PO||$20,000|
|1965||Arnold Palmer (2)||277||−11||2||$14,000|
|1964||Jack Nicklaus (2)||279||−9||2||$12,000|
|1957||Gene Littler (3)||285||−3||3||$10,000|
|1956||Gene Littler (2)||281||−7||4||$10,000|
|1954||Art Wall, Jr.||278||−10||6||$10,000|