Is This The PGA Tour's New Best Putter? 5 Things We Learnt From The Sentry Tournament Of Champions

As far as year openers go, the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions was an eventful one. Here are five things we learnt

5 Things We Learnt From The Sentry Tournament Of Champions
(Image credit: GETTY)

PGA Tour golf in 2022 is officially underway. While conditions at the Sentry Tournament of Champions were admittedly soft, the scoring was nothing short of ridiculous as 38 of the world’s best returned from their winter breaks. 

Kapalua’s Plantation course provided the ideal environment for players to shake off any rust and put some new equipment to the test in a tournament setting. The two big gear stories ahead of the event were the driver launches of Callaway and TaylorMade but that wasn’t all that was going on. While most made a seamless transition, one major champion set a new career record - and not the good kind.

All that plus more as we recap the top five things we learnt from the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions.

1. TaylorMade left red-faced as Callaway tops driver count

Two giants of the game went head-to-head on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. No, not Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa battling it out for the World No. 1 spot. This was driver vs driver as the new Callaway Rogue ST went up against the red-faced TaylorMade Stealth. And it was Callaway that claimed the early bragging rights, topping the driver count with 13. It is, of course, worth reiterating that the field was limited to 38, but still, there had to be a winner. 

5 Things We Learnt From The Sentry Tournament Of Champions

In case you've been living under a rock, the new TaylorMade driver has a red face which is made of carbon. Glad we could clear that up

(Image credit: GETTY)

And not only that, Callaway also led the fairway wood count (23), the iron count (12) and the putter count, with 14 players putting their trust in Odyssey. With much of the buzz in the build-up dominated by TaylorMade’s unique colour scheme and construction method, this will have gone down a treat at Callaway HQ.

2. No green reading books…

…No problem for Cam Smith. The use of the highly detailed green maps was long a hot topic among golf aficionados, with many arguing it took an element of feel out of the game. Now they’re gone, will they be missed? Nope. Will the ban have an impact? Yes, according to Collin Morikawa - “huge,” in fact. So did anyone emerge from the putting wilderness in Hawaii? Not exactly. 

Two Aussies led the field in strokes gained: putting, with Smith topping the list ahead of Matt Jones. The tournament champion gained, on average, 1.62 strokes per day against the field. He’s never set the world alight with the flat stick but has slowly improved throughout his career, finishing ninth in 2021’s season-long standings. So, with no more green-reading books, is he the PGA Tour’s new best putter? Watch this space…

3. Records tumble 

It’s safe to say players hit the ground running last week. On Saturday Justin Thomas posted a 12-under 61 to set a new course record that he held on his own for all of 90 minutes. Navigating the last 12 holes in 11-under, Rahm matched Thomas’s effort as scoring bordered on ridiculous. To exemplify, with his joint-course record, Thomas gained just three shots on the leader.

By the time all was said and done, three players had broken the PGA Tour’s previous 72-hole scoring record set by Ernie Els at the same venue in 2003 at the Mercedes Championship: Smith, Rahm and Jones. However, with preferred lies in operation for the first two rounds, the question remains: should it stand?

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4. Reed signs with PXG, has worst driving round of his career

Amid the customary early-year equipment buzz, Patrick Reed was announced as the newest member of the PXG "troops", joining the likes of Pat Perez, Zach Johnson and Lydia Ko. And what a start the 2018 Masters champ made with his new driver. Reed lost 3.98 strokes off the tee on Thursday in Hawaii, the worst measured driving round of his career (971 rounds), which was more than two full shots worse than anyone else. Ouch. 

At least the only way was up. 

5. ESPN+’s PGA Tour Live debut receives mixed reviews

Billed as more golf for less money, fans rejoiced when it was announced that ESPN+ won the rights to stream the PGA Tour Live coverage. With four feeds and more options to choose from, this will undoubtedly prove to be a hit in the long run. But that’s not to say there won’t be more than a few hiccups along the way. 

“A bad, bad first impression” was how No Laying Up summarised the big debut, while others were less critical, probably in light of the fact that it couldn't have been any worse. It’s worth mentioning that the four feeds won’t be fully operational until the American Express in 10 days’ time. There were also some questionable graphics that eagle-eyed viewers were quick to post to Twitter. See case in point below...

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Notable mentions...

With the amount of money in the men's game nowadays, this doesn't mean as much as it would in a bygone era, but it's still quite the feat to accomplish so early on in his career. Finishing second to Smith and pocketing $180,000 for his troubles took World No. 1 Rahm passed the $30 million mark in career earnings. In just 109 starts, that equates to more then $275,000 per event, which is just obscene.

Anyway, that's all for this week. Let us know what you made of the first instalment of PGA Tour golf in 2022 and if you have any bold predictions for the season ahead. 

Andrew Wright
Andrew Wright

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform covering football, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1, but he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing. He now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a handicap of 1. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.