Lucas Herbert – an early opportunity to play the Tournament of Champions – file photo PGA of Australia
Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Lucas Herbert and Cameron Davis provide Australia with a strong representation in the opening event of the PGA Tour in 2022, all four having played their way to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua on Maui, Hawaii, courtesy of winning an event on the PGA Tour in 2021.
39 of the eligible 40 tournament winners on the PGA Tour in 2021 are in the field the exception being Rory McIlroy.
For Smith and Leishman, their wins came when combining as a team to win the Zurich Classic in New Orleans but for Jones, Herbert and Smith their individual victories came at the Honda Classic in March for Jones, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship late in the year for Herbert and at the Rocket Mortgage Classic mid-year for Davis.
For Herbert and Davis this will be their first appearance on Kapalua given that their victories were their first on the PGA Tour but for Smith, Leishman and Jones they have been here previously.
Smith is playing the event for the third occasion after finishing 17th in 2018 and 24th in 2021, Leishman has recorded two top tens for a best of 4th in his now four previous appearances and Jones was 11th in his first and only attempt to date in 2015.
Herbert is in the field just four months after earning the right to play the PGA Tour and his rapid rise in the world ranking (now 41st) following wins on the European and PGA Tours in 2021, will have him as a player of interest to Australian fans this week.
Australians have won this event or its equivalent on seven occasions, Steve Elkington with two wins in the early 1990’s, Stuart Appleby three consecutive in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and Geoff Ogilvy with consecutive wins in 2009 and 2010.
This week, the event carries total prizemoney of US$8.2 million with US$1.476 million to the winner, compared to the US$144,000 Elkington won with his first win in 1992.