Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's Hyundai Tournament Of Champions Tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions is traditionally the first PGA Tour event of the New Year with a high quality field of winners from the previous year. Played on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the tournament is played in the first week of January on the stunning Plantation Course at Kapalua, which overlooks the Pacific. A short field means plenty of short prices on the betting front and 4 Places Each Way; but with this being a real eagle and birdie fest, identifying likely contenders isn't mission impossible.
Tournament Scheduling - The West Coast Swing
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions always used to be the first tournament of the PGA Tour season, but the wrap-around schedule that was introduced in 2013 now sees the tournament kick off the New Year's action. The trip to Kapalua still starts the Tour's west coast swing which takes in stroke play tournaments namely; the Sony Open (Waialae CC), Humana Challenge (PGA West), Farmers Insurance Open (Torrey Pines), Waste Management Phoenix Open (TPC Scottsdale), AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (Pebble Beach) and the Northern Trust Open (Rivera CC).
Plantation Course, Kapalua Details
The Plantation Course at Kapalua: Designer: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw 1990/1991; Par: 73; Length: 7,452 yards, Course Type: Coastal Resort; Bunkers: 97; Fairways: 34 acres; Bermudagrass; Rough: Bermudagrass 2.0"; Greens: 7,120 sq.ft Bermudagrass; Stimpmeter: 10; Ranked 32 of 42 courses for difficulty on the 2013 PGA Tour.
Previous Champions: 2014: Zach Johnson; 2013: Dustin Johnson; 2012: Steve Stricker; 2011: Jonathan Byrd; 2010: Geoff Ogilvy; 2009: Geoff Ogilvy; 2008 Daniel Chopra.
Winners Prices: 2014: Zach Johnson 14-1 2013: Dustin Johnson 14-1 2012: Steve Stricker 17/2 2011: Jonathan Byrd 50-1 2010: Geoff Ogilvy 9-1
Pre-Tournament Key Summary
What are the keys to find the winner at Kapalua? Well there was a misnomer that only long hitters could compete around the Plantation Course, but Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson have well and truly blown that theory out of the water since 2012. Instead we need to be looking for players that have a track record of being able to shoot low scores on resort formats. The green complexes at Kapalua are renowned for being extremely grainy and undulating, so course knowledge certainly plays a part but course debutants with a 'hot putter' like Jordan Spieth, Robert Garrigus and Webb Simpson in recent renewals have contended. However the key for me is that winners here have course knowledge, can shoot low scores plus have had a recent schedule that's included tournament play in November/December.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. You can also follow him on Twitter @bamfordgolf.