Adam Scott plays Kapalua for the 7th occasion.
Three Australians won on the PGA Tour in 2020 and all three will take their place in the field for an event which offers winners the chance to test their games and readiness so early in the New Year.
In 2021 eligibility has been extended as a result of Covid 19 issues and the field expanded as a result, with not every player in the field a winner, additional players being added from world ranking and FedEx Cup tables.
The Sentry Tournament of Champions brings together 42 of the 45 players eligible, only Rory McIlroy, Jim Herman and Tyrell Hatton not playing, despite being eligible.
Adam Scott, Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman have earned the right to tee it up at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort, Scott making his 7th appearance although he has been eligible on several other occasions, choosing instead to extend his end of season break instead in those instances.
Scott has slipped outside the top 20 in the world ranking for the first occasion in 18 months but he played only nine events in 2020, making the cut in eight and winning one when successful at the Genesis Invitational in his first start in 2020.
Scott enjoys a good record at this venue recording four top tens in six previous starts including a runner-up finish in 2007.
“It’s nice to be back,” said Scott when asked about being back at the event. “It has been an event I’ve loved coming to for so many years. But then for awhile it was a tricky one to get back to and every time I missed it, I regretted it, but it was off the back of playing in Australia and it being the first week of the year made it a very short holiday season for me.
“So once I won in Genesis last year, though, it was definitely a priority for me to put this event on the schedule. It’s a great way to start the year. Even under these circumstances it’s nice to be here. And for me, at this moment, I need to kind of start putting some good results on the board and get my FedExCup campaign going a bit.”
Cameron Smith gets to play the event for the second time having finished 17th here on debut in 2018. This time he gets to play the event courtesy of his stand alone win at the Sony last year and in his most recent starts he has been particularly impressive having finished runner-up at the Masters and 4th at the Zozo Championship. If he could find a way to replicate either of those two efforts, then his chances of victory appear reasonable.
Cameron Smith – can he continue his current form? – file photo Bruce Young
Marc Leishman had a horror run for much of 2020 after winning the Torrey Pines event early in the year and finishing runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Championship just a few weeks later.
Leishman finished 4th in this event in his last start at Kapalua and will play the event for the 3rd occasion. He was also 7th in 2018 but his most recent form is a long way from that we know the Victorian capable of.
March Leishman – on a previous visit to the event – Getty Images
Tournament favourite is the two time winner, Dustin Johnson, who not only brings the world number one title to the event but outstanding form including his last start victory at the Masters.
Johnson has been only once outside the top 3 in his last seven starts so the combination of his record at the venue and his stunning form at present leaves him the warmest of favourites to win his third Tournament of Champions title.