PGA Tour Season Starts New Year with Same Favorites

Posted on: January 4, 2018, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: January 4, 2018, 03:34h.

While Tiger Woods waits to make his comeback the last week of January, the PGA Tour kicks off its first event of the year for golfers that won an event last year.

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth is favored not only at this week’s PGA Tour event but also for the Masters in April. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Maui features 34 golfers including three of the four major championship winners.

Not surprisingly they are among the favorites to win the four-day to competition that begins Thursday. Justin Thomas, winner of the PGA Championship, and Jordan Spieth, who captured the British Open, are at 6-1. Brooks Koepka, who won the US Open is at 11-1. Masters winner Sergio Garcia chose not to play. Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler are at 7-1.

Spieth has become one of the top players on the tour and the three time major winner, who was victorious three times last season, is ready for another successful year.

“I’ll just set my goals like we do all the time and try and get out there and accomplish them year after year,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday. “And that’s when I sit here every single year, I’ve got my goals for the year that by this time that I’m certainly set out to tackle.”

Masters Favorite

The 24 year old is also one of the top picks to win the first major championship of the year on the PGA Tour. He is at 7-1 to capture the Masters, along with Dustin Johnson, who is the No. 1 player according to the World Golf Rankings.

Spieth won the green jacket in 2015, his first major, while Johnson has two top 10 finishes at Augusta National. The 33 year old injured his back two days before last year’s event, but said his game is ready for this year.

“I feel like the game’s starting to get back to close to the form it was when I was playing so well there at the beginning of last year,” he said Wednesday in Maui. “I’m seeing signs of I’m hitting the shots, they’ve got the right patterns, and I’m hitting the shots that I’m seeing.”

Tiger Factor Large

Woods is planning on playing the Masters in April and is an 18-1 pick to win his fifth. Gamblers will have a chance to see the 14-time major winner January 25 when he plays his first event of the year at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.

The 42 year old came back from his fourth back surgery in December when he played in the Hero World Challenge, which benefits his charitable foundation. He finished tied for ninth in the 18-golfer field.

Still those that played with him were impressed and said he will be a factor in the upcoming season. Thomas played in the Hero World Challenge and was impressed with what he saw.

“If he stays healthy, I really do think he’ll have a great year,” he said.