photo credit: Kapalua Golf Resort
The PGA Tour kicks off the first event of 2019 this January 3 at the annual Sentry Tournament of Champions, held at Kapalua Resort’s famed Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii. The Tournament of Champions remains a favorite event on the tour due to its particularly strong field. The tournament field is restricted to golfers who have won a PGA Tour event in the previous calendar year.
The dream of an event open only to tournament winners was first realized in 1953 with the inaugural Tournament of Champions, won by Al Besselink. From 1953-1968 the tournament was held in Las Vegas, primarily at the Desert Inn Country Club but also for 2 years at the Stardust Country Club. The tournament then moved to Carlsbad, California’s La Costa Resort and Spa for 30 years before finally relocating to its current home in Maui in 1999. There have been numerous legendary winners including 2-time winners Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Gary Player, while Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson have 3 wins apiece. However, Jack Nicklaus stands alone with his 5 wins accumulated between 1963-1977. The defending 2018 champion, Dustin Johnson, will look for his 3rd Tournament of Champions win this January.
The Sentry Tournament of Champions emphasizes helping local charities and is one of the largest charitable givers on the island of Maui. Since its relocation in 1999, the tournament has provided more than $6.3 million for local charities. Some of the local charities to benefit from the tournament are the local Boy Scouts of America, Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, Hale Makua Health Services, Ka Lima O Maui’s rehabilitation program for disabled adults and the Lahainaluna High School Foundation. The continued support of the tournament helps sustain these and other nonprofits working to improve their communities.
Tickets are still available for fans to see all the action with numerous different options available. Daily grounds tickets are available from $15-$35 or fans can opt for a week-long pass for $85. Grounds tickets give holders access to the course as well as the extensive Fan Zone, Sentry Swing Simulator and the Grey Goose 19th Hole venue. Clubhouse tickets are available from $95-$275 that provides access to the Plantation House Restaurant as well as views of the 1st and 18th hole. Fans can also opt for the Champions Weekly Package that provides 2 Wednesday pro-am grounds tickets, 2 weekly clubhouse tickets and 1 parking pass for on-site parking Wednesday-Sunday for $675. Retired, active duty and reserve military are eligible for complimentary grounds access for themselves and their dependents. Youth 18 and under are eligible for a free ticket as long as they are with a ticketed adult (limite 3 kids per ticketed adult).