The Sentry

PGA Tour set to start 2024 season with loaded field (minus two familiar names) at its first signature event

December 30, 2023
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Viktor Hovland, the FedEx Cup champion in 2023, is set to begin his 2024 season this coming week at The Sentry in Hawaii.

Andrew Redington

Big money, big names and a bigger field highlight the PGA Tour’s first event of the 2024 season, which begins next week in Maui. On Friday, the tour released the commitment list for The Sentry, with 59 of the 60 eligible players set to compete at Kapalua Resort in a tournament that also doubles as the tour’s first signature event of the year.

The lone eligible golfer missing is Rory McIlroy, who in previous years has skipped the event despite having qualified, in order to begin his season in the Middle East on the DP World Tour. He intends to do the same in 2024.

This year, eligibility for The Sentry, being played Jan. 4-7, has expanded beyond the traditional requirement that players have won a PGA Tour event in the 12 months prior (hence the Tournament of Champions being officially dropped from the name). Winners gain automatic entry into the field, but also any player who finished inside the top 50 of the FedEx Cup rankings in 2023.

Twenty-one of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will competing in the no-cut event with an overall prize money payout of $20 million.

In addition to McIlroy, the tournament will also be missing its defending champion, Jon Rahm, who rallied from eight strokes back with 17 holes to play in the final round a year ago to win the title by two over Collin Morikawa. The Spaniard, of course, made waves last month when he signed with the LIV Golf League in 2024.

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Harry How

Given that the first LIV event wasn’t until February, questions arose as to whether Rahm might still be able to compete at The Sentry and the American Express later in January, another tournament in which he claimed the title. PGA Tour officials quickly squashed that notion, suspending Rahm from the tour and updating the FedEx Cup rankings from 2023 to take him out of his No. 18 spot and move all others up accordingly. That allowed Mackenzie Hughes to move from 51st to 50th and gain entry into this coming week’s event and all other 2024 signature events.

Here's the complete field playing in Maui:

PGA Tour winners in 2023

Ludvig Åberg

Akshay Bhatia

Keegan Bradley

Sam Burns

Wyndham Clark

Corey Conners

Jason Day

Nico Echavarria

Tony Finau

Matt Fitzpatrick

Rickie Fowler

Lucas Glover

Emiliano Grillo

Nick Hardy

Brian Harman

Lee Hodges

Max Homa

Viktor Hovland

Si Woo Kim

Tom Kim

Chris Kirk

Kurt Kitayama

Luke List

Taylor Moore

Collin Morikawa

Vincent Norrman

Davis Riley

Justin Rose

Scottie Scheffler

Sepp Straka

Nick Taylor

Sahith Theegala

Erik van Rooyen

Camilo Villegas

Matt Wallace

Kapalua: Plantation
Public
Kapalua: Plantation
Lahaina, HI
From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:Most golf fans are familiar with Kapalua Golf Club’s Plantation Course, home of the PGA Tour's opening event each year. Located on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Plantation was built from open, windswept pineapple fields on the pronounced slope of a volcano and is irrigated by sprinklers pressured solely by gravity. As the first design collaboration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, it unveiled their joint admiration for old-style courses. The blind drive on the fourth, the cut-the-corner drives on the fifth and sixth are all based on tee shots found at National Golf Links. So, too, are its punchbowl green and strings of diagonal bunkers. It's also a massive course, built on a huge scale, Coore says, to accommodate the wind and the slope and the fact that it gets mostly resort play.So it's a big course. But what sets it apart in my mind are the little things. When I played the course years ago with Coore, it took only one hole for me to appreciate one of its subtleties. We were on the tee of the par-3 second, an OK hole but nothing riveting, nothing like the canyon-carry par-3 eighth or the ocean-backdropped par-3 11th. The second sits on a rare flat portion of the property. The green sits at a diagonal, angling left to right, and there's a string of bunkers staggering up the right side of the green. The first bunker appears to be directly in front of the green but is actually 40 yards short of it. When pointed out to me, I called it Gingerbread. Bill disagreed."The wind quarters off your left shoulder from behind you," he pointed out. "The green goes ever so slightly away from you from front to back and left to right. It is a very obvious situation, given the wind condition and the angle of this green; you know you should hit a shot left-to-right to fit the shot with the green. "But if the flag is at the front, there’s no way to fly that ball all the way to the hole and stop it close. You may stop it somewhere on the green, but nowhere within a reasonable putt. So you have to aim short of the green. They maintain the approaches so beautifully over here—firm approaches mowed at probably a quarter of an inch; you can literally putt from out there if you chose to do so. "But that brings that first bunker in play," Coore continued. "When the flag is up front, you are absolutely required to land your ball just over that first bunker in order to get it to bounce and run to that front pin position."Kapalua's second is a simple-looking hole with a great deal of thought behind it. I suppose a lot of present-day architects would not have placed that forwardmost bunker on the hole, in the interests of playability for high-handicap resort golfers. But most of the old-time architects probably would have used such carry bunkers, especially in the days before irrigation, when greens were hard as a rock and every approach shot had to be bounced aboard.Another reason why studying the history of architecture might just help your score.
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Top 50 on prior season's FedEx Cup

Patrick Cantlay

Tommy Fleetwood

Russell Henley

Xander Schauffele

Sungjae Im

Adam Schenk

Tyrrell Hatton

Jordan Spieth

Denny McCarthy

Andrew Putnam

Adam Svensson

Harris English

J.T. Poston

Seamus Power

Cameron Young

Eric Cole

Byeong Hun An

Adam Hadwin

Tom Hoge

Brendon Todd

Cam Davis

Patrick Rodgers

Mackenzie Hughes

Hideki Matsuyama