It has been exactly one month since Viktor Hovland won the Mayakoba Classic (+212%) and PGA Tour golf is finally back! This monster of a season will feature at least one tournament every week until September with just one exception — the Olympics — and it all starts tomorrow with the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
The first venue of the new year is the Plantation Course at Kapalua, a 7,600-yard par-73 (3 par-3s, 11 par-4s, 4 par-5s) that rewards players for driving distance as much as, if not more, than any other course on Tour and yes, Bryson Dechambeau is playing. Though the venue has been the same since 1999, this year’s 42 man field will be the largest ever for the TOC since golfers who qualified for the 2020 Tour Championship were invited along with every champion from the 2020 season.
The fact that this is a Tournament of Champions means that even the cheapest players are proven winners and still some of the best golfers on Tour. This is likely the main reason that the Fair Value Rankings are so tight. In a conventional week the top players cost about 5x more than the lowest ranked players. This week the top players aren’t even 2x as expensive which means they carry much less risk than they usually do relative to the rest of the field. To me, that is a green light to hammer the elite names and spread large investments among the top players in the world. At the same time, the popular players at the top of the board will distract many investors from the lower end of a field that is still overflowing with talent. There should be a chance to invest in players like Collin Morikawa for all-time lows.
However you choose to invest your bankroll, the most beneficial action you can take for any JockMKT slate is to take a look at the fair value rankings and see who looks like they will outperform their IPO pricing. Let’s go!
Sometimes it is riskier not to hold an asset than it is to hold it (see: Bitcoin). Also see: Dustin Johnson. We made a big deal about DJ’s insane run last year and there is little reason to predict that he will finish outside the top-6 for the first time in seven starts this week. (He can’t even pull a Brooks Koepka and miss the cut to start an early vacation because this is a no-cut event). DJ has won this tournament twice (2013, 2018) and his worst finish in the last five years is a T10 in 2016. Since the markets reset every week, it’s never too late to start compounding your $10 into $13k thanks to the #1 golfer in the world.
Niemann finished 5th in this tournament last year and he has just one finish outside of the top-25 in six events this season. He has the 10th best scoring average in the field and seven rounds of 66 or better this year which is important as the winner has surpassed 20-under par in eight of the last eleven years.
Reed probably enjoys this event almost as much as the average golf fan hates him. He won in 2015 and has two runner up finishes in the last five years (2017, 2020). We are coming off of a month long break so I am valuing course history and consistency over recent statistics, but if you need cold hard stats to justify an investment, Reed is top-5 in strokes gained putting among the field which will be extra valuable on Kapalua’s massive greens.
- Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele finished in the top-3 in 2019 and 2020, but JT won last year so his name goes first. If you are in fact hammering the top-10, save some room for them.
- As a rule of thumb, don’t fade Bryson Dechambeau on courses that reward distance off the tee especially when they have large fairways. His mathematical approach will also help him dial in his distance on Kapalua’s notoriously hilly layout.
Now seems like a good time for a disclaimer. I just recommended four of the top six players in the Official World Golf Rankings. This is not my most groundbreaking analysis, but they are the best in the world for a reason. If you prefer to take a more contrarian approach then I’ve got you covered below (once I stop choking on all this chalk).
Matsuyama has played in this tournament three times and has finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. If my math is correct, that means that he will finish either 1st or 5th and either way we make money. To throw some more numbers at you, he ranks in the top-50 on Tour in every strokes gained category except putting, a stat he shares with Dustin Johnson that neither Justin Thomas nor Jon Rahm can claim.
As the second longest driver in the field, Champ is primed for another good showing at Kapalua. He placed 11th and 14th in 2019 and 2020 respectively and a similar performance will lock in profits if he does not eclipse his $5.63 fair value which is likely given the strength of this week’s field.
Leishman is dead last in our Fair Value Rankings and he probably deserves it. He has two missed cuts and has one top-50 finish this season while managing to lose strokes in every category of strokes gained. However, Leishman has 7th and 4th place finishes in 2018 and 2019 at Kapalua and his one top-50 finish was at The Masters. Now, no one in their right mind should buy shares in Leishman this week, but the beauty of JockMKT is that you may be able to nab him for scraps as the IPO closes tomorrow.
- Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay, and Colin Morikawa are three players who spend more time in the top-10 of the Fair Value rankings than outside of them. Keep them on your list this week to take advantage of a rare discount.
- In 2003 Ernie Els shot -31 in four rounds at Kapalua, a record that still stands today. As long as the weather holds, and the report says 80º and sunny, this week should feature plenty of low scores. Ryan Palmer, Brian Gay, and Stewart Cink all average more birdies per round than Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, and Sebastian Munoz.