The one to be on: Jordan Spieth
For all the talk of swing issues, Jordan Spieth still won twice on the PGA Tour in 2016 and added the Australian Open title at the back end of the year.
12 months ago, he hosed up at the Tournament of Champions – setting a 30-under-par total on his way to an 8 shot demolition.
The Plantation Course is a place where winning can become a habit.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson’s names both grace the trophy more than once but so too do the likes of Stuart Appleby and Geoff Ogilvy.
The latter was the last to successfully defend, back in 2010. Given the winning score has been at least 20 under in 6 of the last 8 years, you are looking for a hot putter.
Spieth is still deadly with the flatstick in his hands – 2nd last season in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour, 1st in putting average, 1st in putts per round and 1st from 25 feet and more.
At 11/2 in this 32 runner field, he could get 2017 off to a fast start for punters.
The each-way back: Patrick Reed
Second last year and the victor in 2015 following a playoff, there’s something about Hawaii that gets Reed’s juices flowing.
He’s 43 under par for his last eight rounds at Kapalua. Even though the track is a birdie fest if the wind doesn’t get up, those numbers are good enough for me to have a play at 14/1.
A winner in January in 2014 (at the Humana Challenge), fast starts aren’t uncommon for the Ryder Cup hero and I’ll be surprised if he’s not in the mix.
The dark horse: Jason Dufner
I’m surprised to see the Dufman at an easily backable 50/1 given he’s got out of the blocks quickly in the last couple of years.
The former PGA champion won the CareerBuilder Challenge in January last year and was 5th at the Tournament of Champions in 2014.
He hasn’t teed it up since finishing tied 8th at the Tour Championship last September.
But this is his usual pattern, so don’t let that put you off should the price prove attractive.