photo courtesy Hawaii Department of Tourism
The 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions, an annual competition featuring tournament winners from the previous calendar year, kicks off in beautiful Kapalua, Hawaii this weekend, January 2-5. The setting for the competition is the famous and idyllic Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore in 1991. The golf world is waiting to see how major renovations to the course by Coore and Crenshaw in 2019 will affect the course. Fans are expecting a tight affair as the world's best compete for the title of champion.
The tournament has roots back to 1953, when the inaugural event was held at Las Vegas’ Desert Inn Country Club. The tournament moved from Vegas to Carlsbad, California’s La Costa Resort and Spa in 1969, staying there before the jump to its current location in Hawaii in 1999. Since 1986, the tournament has been the first event of the new year and also served as the PGA Tour opener from 1986 to 2013. Since only tournament winners are allowed to play the event, the list of winners reads like a roll call from the Hall of Fame. Multiple winners include Jack Nicklaus with 5, Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, Tom Watson, and Stuart Appleby with 3, and numerous 2-time champions including Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Phil Mickelson, and Dustin Johnson. The defending champion is Xander Schauffele.
2019 Champion Xander Schauffele. Getty Images
The field features a strong mix of veterans and relative newcomers, with 15 of the 34 man field competing in their first Sentry Tournament of Champions. Dustin Johnson will look to pick up his 3rd title following a confident Presidents Cup performance. Teammates Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, and Rickie Fowler will similarly look to build momentum in Hawaii, while Xander Schauffele also returns from the Presidents Cup looking for a repeat performance. First time competitors looking for their second PGA Tour win include Joaquin Niemann, Adam Long and Collin Morikawa. The competition should be tight, and consistency will be key to conquering this stacked field.