Skip to main content

Power Rankings: Sentry Tournament of Champions

Jordan Spieth during the third round at the 2017 Australian Open.
Getty Images

The PGA Tour kicks off 2018 with a trip to Maui for the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions. A field of 34 players will tackle Kapalua Golf Club, where the winner will earn an invite back next year.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Justin Thomas won this event last year by three shots over Hideki Matsuyama. Here are 10 names to watch in Hawaii:

1. Jordan Spieth: Spieth doesn't hide the fact that Kapalua remains one of his favorite tracks, and his record here reflects it. A runaway winner in 2016, he also finished third last year and was a runner-up in 2014 during his tournament debut. Expect more of the same from the Champion Golfer of the Year this week.

2. Justin Thomas: This is where Thomas got a banner year jumpstarted, as he won the first leg of his Hawaiian double in impressive fashion. He returns to Maui on an entirely different player, having won five times last year including a major and Player of the Year honors.

3. Dustin Johnson: The world No. 1 claimed the title here in 2013, the highlight of a run since 2011 that has included five straight top-10 finishes. Johnson's length is an asset at nearly every Tour track, but it's especially handy at Kapalua where 400-plus yard drives can become commonplace on the hilly terrain.

4. Rickie Fowler: Fowler has only played this event once since 2014, but he's back thanks to a Honda Classic win in February and his record includes a pair of top-6 finishes. Fowler had a remarkably consistent campaign in 2017, and in his last competitive start he rallied to win the Hero World Challenge with a final-round 61.

5. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama nearly chased down Thomas at this event last year, and he finished third in 2015. The Japanese sensation would be higher on this list were it not for a wobbly close to his 2017 campaign, where he seemed to show signs of fatigue and frustration. Given a few weeks to rest, it wouldn't come as a surprise for him to contend this week.

6. Brooks Koepka: The reigning U.S. Open champ showed signs of promise at this event two years ago, when he tied for third. Like Johnson, he has the length to bend Kapalua to his will and also bagged a late-season trophy in Japan. After a one-year hiatus, he's likely eager for a return to the scenic vistas of Maui.

7. Jon Rahm: After a year that exceeded every expectation, Rahm will now make his tournament debut at the winners-only event thanks to his triumph at Torrey Pines nearly a year ago. A winner in Ireland over the summer and Dubai in the fall, Rahm has the game to challenge at any venue and will likely prove it again this week.

8. Pat Perez: Perez doesn't fit the mold of a typical bomber who thrives at Kapalua, but he finished T-10 back in 2010 and tied for third in his return last year. Having booked another flight to Hawaii with a win in Malaysia in October, Perez will look to continue a career resurgence that took him from No. 118 to No. 19 in the world rankings over the past 12 months.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman enters 2018 in unfamiliar territory as the world's top-ranked Aussie, having passed both Jason Day and Adam Scott with a year that included wins at both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and BMW Championship. While he finished T-23 in his lone prior Maui appearance, that came back in 2013 and Leishman is likely to exceed that result this time around.

10. Cameron Smith: Smith got in with a team victory alongside Jonas Blixt in New Orleans, and while he's making his tournament debut he's a name to watch given the torrid stretch with which he closed out 2017. Smith finished the year with five straight top-5 finishes, including a win on home soil at the Australian PGA last month.