Expect a birdie fest in Hawaii while Fitzpatrick, Kim and fit-again Zalatoris make their bow in Tournament of Champions

Home > News > The Tours > Expect a birdie fest in Hawaii while Fitzpatrick, Kim and fit-again Zalatoris make their bow in Tournament of Champions
39 players do battle at Kapalua with elevated prize money on offer
Posted on
January 5, 2023
by
Mark Flanagan in
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Be prepared for lots of birdies as the PGA Tour opens the year in Hawaii where 39 players will be battling out for a newly-enlarged first prize at the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Open to all the PGA Tour’s 2022 winners plus the top 30 in the FedExCup from last season, a third of the field will be making their debut in an event which now boasts a first prize of $2.7m.

The Tournament of Champions is one of 17 PGA events with ‘elevated’ status as the most prestigious golf tour in the world attempts to hold back the LIV Golf tide.

The Phoenix Open, RBC Heritage Wells and Travelers Championship were also added to the ‘elevated’ list back in October.

Poignantly last year’s champion Cameron Smith won’t be back to defend a title he won with a record-breaking 34 under par. Jon Rahm (-33) and Matt Jones (-31) also feasted on the par 73 track.

Smith was the most under par in PGA Tour history, breaking the record of -31 previously held by Ernie Els, also at Kapalua, in 2003.

One of those making his debut is US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who partners Rahm in the second-to-last group out. With a ten-hour time difference, the European heavyweights will tee off at 10.35pm our time.

 

RELATED: Rahm and Schauffele set to debut new Callaway Paradym driver in Hawaii

 

Twenty-year-old South Korean sensation Tom Kim will go out alongside 2016 champion Jordan Spieth in the group ahead. If Kim wins again in the next two months he will become the youngest to earn three PGA Tour victories, breaking the record held by Gene Sarazen (1922).

Will Zalatoris also makes his return from a long-term injury problem. The big-hitting American, who is also making his first appearance at the Tournament of Champions, has not been seen since the BMW Championship in August.

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About Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan has spent 25 years as a sports journalist. He has written for multiple golf magazines and can often be found missing putts from inside gimme range.

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