Steady Kuchar’s experience counts at Tournament of Champions

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The PGA Tour eases back into action in 2015 after their winter break with a celebration of the winners of the previous year, at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Only the victors during 2014’s calendar year are eligible to shake off the rust at the Kapalua Resort and of the 38 qualifiers, 34 have decided that they would quite like to take up that opportunity.

Since 1999 the Plantation Course has hosted this tournament, once the season’s opener but now the first act after the intermission following the Tour’s decision to switch to an October-September season.

Stretching out at 7400 yards, the par 73 course can be a wild beast to tame, not least because of the prevailing winds the area attracts.

Unsurprisingly then it takes players with plenty of previous experience to come out on top in this tournament, which holds no cut and has the second-smallest field of the season.

The last debutant to lift this trophy was the unheralded Swede Daniel Chopra in 2008, while all of the last four winners had made at least three appearances at the event before finally claiming it.

On that basis, looking at the skinny end of the betting market is for once advised on these pages, with Matt Kuchar the pick to claim the spoils at 8/1 odds.

“Kooch”, who was the model of consistency last year with 11 top 10s, has the valuable knowledge of four previous outings at Kapalua to fall back on this week and has never finished lower than T9 in those appearances.

Although his form hasn’t been great to start the season, his wisdom of the course and general consistent play makes him the firm choice here.

As an each-way chance, look at Sang-Moon Bae to secure a return on any investment at 33s. The South Korean won the Frys.com Open to start the season off and was T5 at the CIMB Classic last time out. He made his debut at the tournament last year.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.