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Golf Glance: PGA Tour opens ’23 with ‘elevated’ TOC

January 8, 2022; Maui, Hawaii, USA; Jon Rahm lines up his putt on the 10th hole during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort - The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Field Level Media’s Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.

PGA TOUR
LAST TOURNAMENT: Hero World Challenge (Viktor Hovland)
THIS WEEK: Sentry Tournament of Champions, Maui, Hawaii, Jan. 5-8
Course: Plantation Course at Kapalua (Par 73, 7,596 yards)
Purse: $15M (Winner: $2.7M)
Defending Champion: Cameron Smith
FedEx Cup leader: Seamus Power
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Friday, 6-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 4-6 p.m. (NBC), 6-8 p.m. (GC)
Streaming on ESPN+: Thursday, 2:15-10 p.m.; Friday, 2:30-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 12:45-8 p.m.
Twitter: @Sentry_TOC
NOTES: This is the 10th tournament of the FedEx Cup season and the first of 17 designated events with elevated purses. The tournament of champions will award 550 Cup points for the first time. The other four tournaments with elevated status are The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Memorial Tournament. … Smith, who won with a record score of 34-under 258 last year, will not defend his title after joining LIV Golf, while top-ranked Rory McIlroy chose to make this the one elevated tournament he will not enter in 2023. …The field has been expanded to included players who did not win in the previous year but did qualify for the Tour Championship. Of the 39 players competing, 13 will be making their tournament debuts. … Will Zalatoris will make his first start since withdrawing from the BMW Championship with a herniated disc in his back. … The Plantation Course was the easiest on Tour last season relative to par with a scoring average of 4.783-under.
BEST BETS: Jon Rahm (+650 at BetMGM) tied the record for the most birdies in a 72-hole event with 32 in finishing a stroke behind Smith last year. He has seven top-10s in his past eight worldwide starts, including consecutive wins on the DP World Tour. … Scottie Scheffler (+900) is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 2 and is coming off a runner-up at the Hero World Challenge. … Patrick Cantlay (+1000) has a win and a pair of runner-ups among his past five starts but has teed it up just once in a stroke-play event since the Tour Championship. … Justin Thomas (+1100) is a two-time event winner (2017, ’20) and recorded a 61 in the third round last year along with Rahm. Only Jack Nicklaus (5), Stuart Appleby (3) and Tom Watson (3) have won the event three times. … Tony Finau (+1400) has three wins among six top-10s in his past eight events. … Tom Kim (+2500) is the youngest player in the field by more than four years as he makes his debut. The 20-year-old is also the first player since Tiger Woods to win twice on tour before turning 21.
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Sony Open, Oahu, Jan. 12-15

LPGA Tour
LAST TOURNAMENT: CME Group Tour Championship (Lydia Ko)
THIS WEEK: OFF.
NEXT Tournament: Tournament of Champions, Orlando, Fla., Jan. 19-22

Champions Tour
LAST TOURNAMENT: Charles Schwab Championship (Padraig Harrington)
THIS WEEK: OFF.
NEXT Tournament: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, Ka’upulehu-Kona, Ha., Jan. 19-21

–Field Level Media