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It's an exciting time to dive into the pool

 

 
 
 

Everybody into the pool, the PG Golf pool, which includes members of Lost Golf Balls.

This is the fourth year of the pool, the second for me. I was one of the few Canadians in the pool last year. I think there were only two, but I am sworn to secrecy who the other one is because he’s my cousin and he likes his anonymity. But the Canadian contingent could be much bigger this year because I put the word out to many people who regularly participate in my golf pools. I do it for the four majors and it’s a labour (that’s how we spell labor in Canada) of love.

In Canada, check is spelled cheque. Okay, enough with the Canadian references.

That said, I have yet to cash in on any of my pools. For the people who have won, I always say, “the cheque is in the mail," although in reality it’s direct deposit. Does anybody mail money anymore?

This week’s Sentry Of Champions tournament begins the 2022 PG Golf pool. You pick two players each week and hope they cash. By the end of the PGA Tour season, which is the Tour Championship, the team with the most money wins the lion’s share of the entry fees, which is $100 U.S. There are also other prizes for finishing second and accumulating the most money in the four majors.

Because of the devalued Canadian currency, which currently stands at about 79 cents relative to the American buck, it actually costs more for people north of the border such as me to dive into the pool. And because you can’t do direct deposit from Canada to the U.S. – and vice versa – the other option is doing a money order, which involves a surcharge. Like I said, I prefer not to mail money.

But, as usual I digress.

I wish all the pool players good luck. Some have really cool team names, but none call themselves Minnesota Fats. Was there a better pool player than Fats? This reference will go over many people’s heads if you didn’t watch the movie The Hustler with Paul Newman. It was not a flick about a golfer who hustles for money playing golf, but is very much about pool.

Okay, I digress again with what may be too cryptic of a reference.

The Sentry Of Champions is restricted to the winners of last year’s PGA Tour tournaments, and everyone entered is guaranteed prize money. On Tuesday night, I called last year’s PG Golf pool overall winner, Patrick Davis, because I was trying to coyly glean some inside information from him leading into the tournament. He said because every player in the Sentry Of Champions is guaranteed money because there is no cut, some of the best players may not be cranking it up this early.

Great point, Patrick.

So that left me wondering do I pick Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) because he finished off last season as the best player in the planet? He is the 7-1 favorite this year. He finished tied for seventh last year. And what of Bryson DeChambeau (Bridgestone Tour B X)? He also tied for seventh. Bryson uses his initials B.A.D. on his yardage books. Like musician George Thorogood he’s Bad To The Bone. And please don’t tell me you don’t know who George Thorogood is.

Colin Morikawa (TaylorMade TP5) also tied for seventh with Rahm and DeChambeau. The winner was Harris English (TaylorMade TP5x), who went on to have a good season. He beat Joaquin Niemann (Titleist Pro V1x) in a playoff, ending a seven-year winless drought on the PGA Tour. Niemann didn’t qualify this year having failed to win a tournament in 27 events last year, though he placed second three times. But I’m tabbing him for a win later in the season.

Justin Thomas (Titleist Pro V1x) finished third and I’m giving him serious consideration because he’s a multiple winner in this tournament. He loves the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort in Hawaii, where personally I’d like to be right about now. Thomas could be what horse racing bettors call a “horse for the course.” He is the 11-1 second betting choice with Patrick Cantlay (Titleist Pro V1x), who finished tied for 13th last year. Cantlay finished strongly last year, showing amazing cool, and if he flashes the same form early this year watch out!

I’m also liking Viktor Hovland (Titleist Pro V1). He finished tied for 31st last year. He won the Hero World Challenge in December. To reiterate what I’ve been writing for weeks and months, Hovland is good enough, in my opinion, to win a major this season.

Three other players who have started off the 2021-22 season strongly are Talor Gooch (TaylorMade TP5x), Sam Burns (Callaway Chrome Soft X) and Sung-Jae Im (Titleist Pro V1x). Of the trio, only Im played in the tournament last year and he tied for fifth.

Did I give you any idea whom I’m picking? I’m on the fence as I write this and I have until the start of the tournament Thursday to get off the fence, but let’s just say I’m not doubting Thomas.

 

Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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