2017 SBS Tournament of Champions preview
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2017 SBS Tournament of Champions preview


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The first PGA Tour event of the year is upon us with the SBS Tournament of Champions taking place at the stunning Kapaula Resort on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

SBS struck a deal with the PGA Tour to sponsor the event for ten years back in 2009, with Hyundai taking over official title sponsorship between the years of 2011 and 2016 through a sub-license.



A total purse of $6.1 million is in play, and the usual 500 FedEx Cup points are on offer to this week’s victor, as well the $1.22 million winner's share.

Course: Kapaula Resort (Plantation Course), Maui, Hawaii

Recognised as one of the top golfing resorts in the world, the Kapaula Resort is built around the natural wonders of the West Maui Mountains in Hawaii.

The Plantation Course is the only course on the PGA Tour which plays to a par 73. It has seven holes over 500 yards in length and has severe elevation changes throughout. Play can become wind-affected and extended delays have stretched out (or shortened) the event in previous years.

It is a long golf course, but expect low scoring despite its defensive features, especially if the breeze doesn’t get up. Jordan Spieth reached 30 under par here last year.


Field

This is a competition which is open to all of the winners on the PGA Tour in 2016; 32 of those who meet that criterion have accepted the challenge.

As last year’s comfortable winner, Jordan Spieth has every right to be in confident mood come Thursday’s tee time. The young Texan recorded an eight-shot victory on his way to posting a 30-under-par total – one short of the record set by Ernie Els in 2003.

Jason Day makes his first competitive start since withdrawing from the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake in September of last year. The Aussie’s recurring back injury has been given time to heal and he will be aiming to get 2017 off to a positive start in a bid to cement his status as world number one.

Hideki Matsuyama is the man who should be most feared with two wins and a second place in his last three starts. His exemplary early season form has the Japanese sitting atop the early FedEx Cup standings.

Predictions

As the tournament name suggests, we are awash with men who know how to get the job done. A prediction may be somewhat futile – let’s give it a try though.

The safest angle in may be to side with the in-form player, Hideki Matsuyama. There are very few chinks in his armour at present and his place at the head of the betting for this one seems warranted.

Looking for a little more value, it is important to note that debutantes have a poor record around the Kapaula Resort. With that in mind, Brandt Snedeker could provide an alternative as he is a player who has early-season form in previous seasons and finished T-3 at this event last year.

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Robin Hamilton