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The Giant Elephant In The Room

A Sentry Tournament of Champions Preview From My PureGolf

Every year up until now, the Tournament of Champions has only invited winners from every PGA golf tournament the prior year.  In essence, it is the only PGA tournament where you actually have to win to be invited.  While every golf tournament in the world would love to feature Tiger Woods—he didn’t receive an invite this year because he didn’t win a single time last year.  Other notable names that didn’t receive an invite? Phil Mickelson.  Dustin Johnson.  Even last year’s winner of this exact tournament—Cam Smith.  


It doesn’t make sense—he won.  Yet, he didn’t receive an invite?  That’s because the LIV Tour came into the picture, stealing multiple golfers from the PGA TOUR.  And the moment those players signed with LIV, they (knowingly) forfeited their right to play in any PGA events for the future--that included Cam Smith.  Is it fair to those golfers?  Each side has their own opinion! However, that’s not the point.


The point is this: The LIV Tour is the giant elephant in the room for the PGA TOUR and especially at this tournament. Like it or not (and why wouldn’t you?), the purse is increasing from over $8 Million to $15 Million this year! That's a direct result of the PGA TOUR doing its best to entice golfers to stay on their Tour, to refuse doing business with the LIV Tour, and extend the invite to far more than just golfers who won PGA tournaments last year—the invites were more than they’ve ever extended their hand to…ever.


Why?  Well, because they had to.  This field actually features 7 golfers who didn’t win a single thing event last year.  Without those 7 golfers, the field would’ve only amounted to 32 golfers in total.  That would be 32 golfers with a purse of $15 Million on the line.  In order to spread the wealth just slightly more, The Tour decided to allow any golfer who finished within the top 30 and qualified for Atlanta FedEx Cup Finals in the previous year.


This is golf now.  And for a sport that has been…let’s just say slow to change over the years, it’s probably a necessary adjustment for the overall good.  More money is on the line.  The old ways of inviting players to this tournament have been broken to allow those who have stayed loyal to the PGA TOUR to earn more money, play more golf, and heck…enjoy some beautiful scenery along the way.  After years and years and...years--the PGA TOUR is finally starting to evolve, which hopefully means taking better care of its players along the way.

About the Course:

The Plantation Course at Kapalua (Maui, Hawaii)

Last year, Cam Smith won with a score…guess.  Just try to guess what he shot after four rounds.  And let me give you some additional information before you take that guess.  The course is over 7,500 yards long—an unbelievable mammoth of a course to take on for golfers of any skill level.  Now, take a second and take your guess as to what he shot.


He shot a score of -34!!!  In 4 days.  Is that even human?  Cam could be sure to thank debatably the easiest weather conditions the course ever featured—virtually no wind and super soft greens, the best technology the game of golf has ever seen, and a pretty dang good swing to go with it all.


So what’s the weather like this year?  It’s looking calm in terms of wind.  And the greens could be soft again as well.  


Are we expecting the score of -34 to be broken? It’s incredibly unlikely! Buuuuut with the way other things have been inflated this year (purse size and field invite list being extended), it would almost be fitting if it were broken.  


Let’s be honest—-the PGA TOUR has their fingers crossed that Cam Smith’s record gets broken.  Come to think of it, maybe that’s another elephant in the room….

Our Picks To Win:

PureGolfers, you already know Zach and Jordan.  However, this week, we are bringing on another member to the Podcast Team to break down this golf tournament with us—Aryon.  Welcome to the team, Brother!  It’s a blast to have an avid golf nerd like yourself join us for this one (and probably multiple more golf breakdowns).  



Aryon’s picks:

Viktor Hovland

Justin Thomas

Cameron Young (His dark horse pick) 


Jordan’s picks:

Sungjae Im

Adam Scott (emotional pick)

Sam Burns


Zach’s picks:

Collin Morikawa


That’s it.  He literally provided no explanation for his pick.  Furthermore, Zach was given the opportunity to choose up to 4 golfers he thought would do well this week, and he only chose one.  He also offered zero explanation on that.  So, we are faced with 1 of 3 options: 1) Zach has absolute, rock hard confidence in Collin, 2) Zach didn’t read the rules and guidelines of picking players properly, or 3) Zach completely despises every other player in the field, has some sort of vendetta against picking them, and is refusing to conform to the rules.  


I respect it, and I kinda dig what he’s doing.  It feels incredibly bold.  To each their own, but all in all, this feels like a horrible strategy to simply decline the option of 3 more golfers in an effort to prove how worthy Collin is of the win.  In the words of Pepper Brooks in the movie Dodgeball, “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.  Let’s see how it works out for him.”

Our Picks To Miss The Cut:

Aryon’s picks:

Will Zalatoris 

Scottie Scheffler


Comments by Aryon: 



Jordan’s picks:

Seamus Power

Chez Reavie


Comments by Jordan: 

“I actually have no idea what Seamus Power looks like.  I have no idea what his golf swing looks like.  All I can picture is Seamus the WWE Wrestler swinging a golf club, and I don’t envision that going well.  I don’t think he’s making the cut for those reasons alone.  For Chez Reavie, I just don’t see him having the length to take on a golf course that’s over 7,500 yards.  Nor do I see him being able to consistently hit the shots that the golf course demands you hit to succeed and pull off the W.”


Zach’s pick:

Russell Henley


Comments by Zach:

“I have no idea who Russell Henry is" (he meant Henley, but we are keeping it because I now love that Zach referred to him as that.  Henceforth, Russell Henley will be referred to as "Russell Henry").


Comments by Jordan on Zach's Comments:

Zach is simply full of bold moves for this tournament, and I’m here for every single one of them.  Part of me hopes he knocks these picks out of the park.  The other part of me hopes he performs terribly, losing all confidence in his future picks, enabling me to win every single time.

May the best golfer win!

This article is sponsored by:

Balanced With Coach Shelby

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