The Sentry betting guide: 3 picks we love this week in Maui

Scottie Scheffler competing in Kapalua

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is the favorite this week by a wide margin.

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Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, where we share our favorite bets for the upcoming action. This time around, it’s the Sentry Touranment of Champions, which gets underway Thursday at the Plantation Course, in Kapalua. Along with our recommended plays, you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that features a range of games with enticing prizes, giving fans all kinds of ways to engage in the action without risking any money.

There will be no cut this week. There will be no defending champion, either.

As the PGA Tour kicks back into swing in customary New Year’s fashion, 59 players will take part in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, on the Plantation Course at Kapalua. 

The field features tournament winners from 2023 (along with non-winners who finished inside the top 50 in FedExCup Playoffs) with a notable exception of the man won this tournament last year.

New LIV signee Jon Rahm is not allowed (although he is vacationing in Maui this week!).

Another marquee absentee is Rory McIlroy but for a different reason; as he has in previous years, McIlroy has opted to take this week off. “I’m not a huge Hawaii guy,” he said earlier this year.

With Rory and Rahm out, the Sentry is missing the No. 2- and No. 3-ranked players in the world. But top dog Scottie Scheffler will be in the mix. Same with Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa and…you get the picture. Gang’s mostly all here.

Who will start the year with a W? In keeping with our tournament-week custom, we’ve got three picks: a favorite, a contender and a long shot.

Favorite: Scottie Scheffler +550

Last time we saw Scheffler, at the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge, he was wielding a new putter and rolling it, well, nicely — much better, anyway, than he did for much of 2023, when his Achilles heel, if you want to be dramatic, was on the greens. Even with a subpar flatstick, Scheffler won twice last season, and tacked on another win at Tiger’s tourney. Assuming his putter remains passable or better, he’s the odd-son favorite for good reason. Sometimes, it makes sense to simply play the chalk.

Contender: Tom Kim, +2,500

Last year, in his first appearance in Kapalua, Kim took it deep into the red, finishing T5 with a four-day total of 22-under. There are horses for courses, and though a single tournament is the tiniest of samples, we’ll take Kim at this number with the thinking that the Plantation Course might be the course for him.

Long shot: Tom Hoge, +15,000

If you torture statistics for long enough, they’ll tell you almost anything you want. But no amount of number-twisting indicates that a man with just one win in his Tour career has much chance of pulling through against this field. Then again, that’s why they call them long shots, and with this pick, we’re leaning on two data points: 150 to 1 is a nice payout, and Hoge finished 3rd in this event last year.

Who Chirp users like this week

To make your own Chirp picks and win amazing prizes, download the app here.

chirp user picks for the 2024 Sentry

Josh Sens Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.