With the 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions, I begin my second decade as the Fantasy Insider at PGATOUR.COM. So, first and foremost, a New Year's toast to you. Thank you for your loyalty and persistence for quality. Wishing you nothing but wins and boatloads of FedExCup bonus points.
The 12th tournament of the 2019-20 season is the first of 10 in Segment 2 of PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and it's one of two without a cut. The World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship on Feb. 20-23 is the other.
While ShotLink is activated for all 10 events included in the game, it will not apply for fantasy purposes for the three stops on the West Coast Swing because the courses that co-host are not lasered.
In addition to Mike Glasscott's Horses for Courses, almost all of my regular contributions are returning. The exception is the One & Done column that published on Wednesdays. Because the game has been eliminated from FantasyGolf.PGATOUR.COM, I will not be writing a preview. Champions One & Done also won't return.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the Sentry Tournament of Champions (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Patrick Cantlay; Matt Kuchar; Collin Morikawa; Ryan Palmer; J.T. Poston; Xander Schauffele
Driving: Patrick Cantlay; Corey Conners; Sung Kang; Collin Morikawa; Ryan Palmer
Power Rankings Wild Card
16. Kevin Kisner … Arguably better suited for full-season formats in a strong supporting role, he can disappoint in weekly settings when the matchup seems otherwise favorable. No such worry this week, of course. Benefited by large greens to spotlight his strength with the putter. Go get him.
Rest of the Field
17. Kevin Na … After being forced to withdraw prior to last year's edition with a fractured pinky finger, he won twice in 2019 to earn a return trip. Placed T12 in his only previous appearance in 2012. Always a force for fantasy gamers, he's risen as a threat in reality now in his prime at 36 years of age.
18. Cameron Champ … Despite all predictions a year ago, he ranked just third in distance of all drives (310.7 yards) in his debut at Kapalua. In fact, he's exponentially more substance over style. Case in point, he slotted fourth in Strokes Gained: Putting en route to a T11. Still, that highest gear is the primary reason why he's in my lineup in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. It doesn't hurt that he answered his second victory (at the Safeway Open) with four cuts made in five starts worldwide, including a T8 at the Dunlop Phoenix.
19. Matt Kuchar … Went 0-1-3 at the Presidents Cup. Stumbled here and there in the five months prior to it, but he enjoyed a three-month stretch atop the FedExCup standings before that. This is his eighth appearance at Kapalua where he has four top-10s but finished outside the top 15 in his last two (2015, 2019).
20. Chez Reavie … It's been a whopping 11 years since his last appearance at Kapalua (T12), which was his first. For what he lacks in muscle off the tee, no one may get more out of his game in the long-term. And just when you think that he's valuable only on the shortest tracks, he'll surprise.
21. Dylan Frittelli … After a somewhat surprising win at the John Deere Classic, he settled into his new status and added a pair of top-10s and another two top-20s. The 29-year-old already had two European Tour victories on his résumé, so the feels weren't entirely unfamiliar. Still, as a fresh face at Kapalua, a top-15 finish would be impressive.
22. J.T. Poston … Qualified for his first Sentry TOC with a no-bogeys performance at the Wyndham Championship. It was the culmination of numerous raps on the door prior. Since, he's kept his rally rolling with four top-25s. His balanced attack, composure and elevated confidence slot him among the worthy debutants to roster in every format.
23. Adam Long … Proven to be a nice find in full-season formats as half of his 18 cuts made since breaking onto the PGA TOUR last season have gone for a top-25. That's all but a guarantee this week in a small field with no cut. Quality shark repellent in DFS despite his foray on Maui.
24. Sebastián Muñoz … Backpedaled after lifting his first PGA TOUR hardware at the Sanderson Farms Championship, but he finished the fall strong with a solo third at The RSM Classic. The Colombian was trending well in advance of his breakthrough, so he's grown comfortable at this level. Will celebrate his 27th birthday on Saturday.
25. Sung Kang … Arrives with 16 consecutive rounds of par or better this season and continues to profile with a solid but unspectacular overall game. In one sense, his only weakness is inexperience at Kapalua, but he's yet to capitalize on no-cut events. Observation only for the conservative; flier for the contrarian.
26. Keith Mitchell … He's been an enigma since the impressive triumph at The Honda Classic, but that goes with the territory for a talent in just his third year on TOUR. He'll have a ball striping it off the tee in his first go at Kapalua, but count on the learning curve on the greens to interrupt a smooth performance.
27. Joaquin Niemann … Broke through at Greenbrier to punctuate a sparkling summer, but he's cooled since. Got knocked around en route to an 0-3-1 record in his first Presidents Cup, but he'll likely have many more opportunities in the biennial competition. Turned 21 in early November.
28. Nate Lashley … Whatever the reason behind his withdrawal before the second round of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, it didn't deter him from having fun chipping harmless golf balls from a float and into the spectators in America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. Nevertheless, he's a first-timer at Kapalua, so expectations are tempered.
29. Max Homa … After breaking through at the Wells Fargo Championship in the first weekend of May, he went the remainder of 2019 without a top-25 anywhere until recording a T5 at the weather-shortened Dunlop Phoenix on the last Sunday of November. He led the field in greens hit.
30. Lanto Griffin … Curiosity at Kapalua may be greatest with this first-timer. After lighting up September and October, he finally ran out of gas at Mayakoba (T76) and at Sea Island (MC). No doubt the rest was welcome, but default into the no-play as he puts the course under his feet.
31. Tyler Duncan … Last of the 42 qualifiers as the champion of The RSM Classic, his first TOUR title. Profiles as a small-ball performer, but all things being relatively equal at Kapalua, he's still beginning his learning curve on the track. The not-so-insignificant benefit of the timing is that he hasn't played since the win, so the absence of the possibility of a letdown and perhaps the introduction of bad habits were averted. This is to say that he probably arrives with supreme confidence and the focus to pull a Brendon Todd to go back-to-back.
32. Jim Herman … When he debuted at Kapalua in 2017 with a T12, he had closed out the previous fall with a T13 at The RSM Classic. At the time, it reflected a continuation of occasional form, and much more than he's exhibited since connecting for his second PGA TOUR title at the Barbasol Championship last summer. He's an easy guy for whom to root, but the inconsistency demands for a pass.
33. J.B. Holmes … First action since a shoulder injury forced him to withdraw during the third round of THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in mid-October. He has only one top-50 finish in his last 13 starts. And since a T4 in his debut at Kapalua in 2007, he's gone T29-33rd-T24 in 2009, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
34. Martin Trainer … Since May, he's 0-for-17 worldwide. That includes a missed cut at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan in his last start in late November, which was his first action after a five-week break. He battled a neck injury at the beginning of the skid. First-timer at Kapalua.
Returning to Competition
Charl Schwartzel … Ended a seven-month break due to a sore wrist with a T3 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Dec. 1. Equipped with 12 starts on a Major Medical Extension. That may not seem like a significant allotment, but he made just 18-20 starts in each of his previous six seasons. Because he's healthy again, not to mention rested, you have a green light.
Sean O'Hair … After 10 months off to recover from surgery for a completely torn oblique muscle on his left side, he partnered with Lexi Thompson for a last-place finish (of 12 teams) at the QBE Shootout on Dec. 15. Now 37 years of age, O'Hair has 16 starts on a Major Medical Extension in 2019-20. If you're keen on investing in guys in that category, he belongs on your shortest list.
Greg Chalmers … In addition to arthritis in the entirety of his lower spine that sidelined the lefty for all but two starts at home in Australia for 18 months, he dealt with a torn ligament in his back. He medicated in part with platelet-rich plasma injections. Lo and behold, after an entire year without logging an official start anywhere, he finished T5 at the Australian Open earlier this month, and piggybacked it with a T15 at the Australian PGA Championship two weeks later. The one-time winner on the PGA TOUR is armed with seven starts via a Major Medical Extension. He hopes to return to play in the U.S. again at The American Express on Jan 16-19.
Seung-Yul Noh … I'm late to the game here, but it's still noteworthy to mention that he got back inside the ropes at the Shinhan Donghae Open in his native South Korea in the third week of September, and then finished T6 at the Genesis Championship on the same circuit three weeks later. So, as expected in late summer, his military conscription concluded. With a full stock of 26 starts on a Major Medical Extension on the PGA TOUR, the 28-year-old should be rostered in all full-season formats without a floor value.
Tiger Woods … Hasn't appeared at Kapalua since 2005. You never can say never again, but in response to what his body is conveying to him, he's committed to prudent scheduling. Figures to rest for at least another couple of weeks as well.
Brooks Koepka … Entering his third month of competitive rest due to ongoing discomfort in his left knee. He underwent stem-cell treatment but aggravated the injury while slipping on wet pavement at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in October. Also sat out the Presidents Cup. If he's ready, he'll return to competition at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Jan. 16-19.
Rory McIlroy … Didn't debut until the seventh time he qualified and placed T4 a year ago. Scheduled to launch into 2020 at the Farmers Insurance Open (Jan. 23-26).
Justin Rose … Since finishing T12 in his debut at Kapalua in 2011, he's elected not to show in each of the last seven times he's qualified. Committed to defending his title at the Farmers Insurance Open on Jan. 23-26, but don't rule out at least one start in the interim.
Francesco Molinari … Scuffled (for him) in recent months and acknowledged that the letdown of letting a terrific opportunity to win the Masters took a toll. Top-25s in both starts this season. Poised to resume it at The American Express on Jan. 16-19.
Shane Lowry … This is the second time in as many chances that he's skipped the Sentry TOC. (He was eligible in 2016 as well.) Since his win at The Open Championship, he's 8-for-9 worldwide with four top-15s. Plans to open 2020 in defense of his title in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 16-19.
Phil Mickelson … This shouldn't surprise anyone. It's the 14th consecutive time that he's taken a pass as a qualifier. He'll begin a busy West Coast Swing as a first-time host of The American Express in two weeks.
C.T. Pan … The only first-time qualifier to sit it out, but he's been busy. After opening the 2019-20 with a pair of starts stateside, he's competed in South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Mexico and Australia twice, the latter appearance as a rookie in the Presidents Cup.
Power Rankings Recap – The RSM Classic
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Webb Simpson 2nd
2 Harris English MC
3 Billy Horschel MC
4 Charles Howell III MC
5 Brendon Todd 4th
6 Brian Gay MC
7 Kevin Kisner MC
8 Scottie Scheffler T5
9 Matt Kuchar MC
10 Dylan Frittelli T35
11 Zach Johnson T61
12 Vaughn Taylor T10
13 Adam Long T35
14 Brian Harman T14
15 Alex Noren T10
Wild Card Chris Kirk MC
Sleepers Recap – The RSM Classic
Dominic Bozzelli MC
David Hearn T30
Russell Henley MC
Bo Hoag 75th
Henrik Norlander T5
Power Rankings Recap – Hero World Challenge
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Jon Rahm 2nd
2 Xander Schauffele T10
3 Patrick Cantlay 17th
4 Rickie Fowler 9th
5 Webb Simpson T10
6 Justin Thomas T5
7 Tony Finau T10
8 Justin Rose T5
9 Patrick Reed 3rd
10 Bryson DeChambeau 15th
11 Jordan Spieth 16th
12 Henrik Stenson Win
13 Tiger Woods 4th
14 Gary Woodland T7
15 Matt Kuchar 14th
16 Bubba Watson 18th
17 Kevin Kisner T7
18 Chez Reavie 13th
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
December 31 … none
January 1 … none
January 2 … none
January 3 … Charlie Wi (48)
January 4 … Sebastián Muñoz (27)
January 5 … Tom Lewis (29)
January 6 … Corey Conners (28)