2022 is almost over and many sports have wrapped up for the winter. Golf, however, is not one of them.
While amateur players may have hung up their clubs for the colder months, the PGA Tour is just getting started with events like the Presidents Cup, the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, and the Hero World Challenge already completed.
After a short break for Christmas, pro golfers will be back in action before most of us have cleaned away the mess from our New Year celebrations with action continuing throughout the month of January and until the end of the season in the summer.
Naturally, the most attention for the next year will be on the major tournaments like the Ryder Cup, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. These events typically have the largest prize purses, the biggest TV audiences, and carry the most prestige.
The major events attract much more attention too. For example, you can already find golf betting odds for the US Masters which doesn’t tee off until April. At present, Rory Mcllroy is the favourite with Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith very close behind.
However, smaller events that are taking place before then are yet to have their odds released.
That doesn’t mean these tournaments aren’t worth watching. In fact, they’re often great opportunities to see top players more relaxed while they play and fresh talent show off their skills as they work to climb the greasy pole of golf.
Throughout January, there will be plenty of these exciting competitions to keep fans entertained.
Tournament of Champions
The Tournament of Champions will be one of the first competitions to get underway in the New Year. Held at The Plantation Course at Kapula, in Hawaii, this event has been the traditional calendar-year-opening tournament in the PGA Tour since 1953.
As its name suggests, it is a competition that’s open only to champions. This used to mean only players who had won a tournament in the previous year, but it now also includes players that qualified for the previous Tour Championship too.
This means the par-73 course on the island of Maui will see many of the world’s best golfers go for glory across its 18 holes.
The Tournament of Champions will take place on from the 5th to the 8th of January 2023.
The American Express (Desert Classic)
The Desert Classic is a golf tournament that’s been taking place each January since 1960. Over the years, it’s had a few different names but is currently referred to as The American Express, as it has been since the credit card company took over the title sponsorship deal in 2020.
It will be played at the La Quinta Country Club in California, using the PGA West course, as has been the case for the Desert Classic since 2016. In the past, it was common to see celebrity players taking part in the event, but this tradition has slowly faded away to become a more typical PGA Tour event.
There does remain a pro-am element, however, with 156 professional players being selected using the standard rankings system plus winners of the event before 1999 and in the last decade, winners of The Players Championship before 1996, and golfers who competed in the last Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
Last year, Hudson Swafford picked up his second win in the tournament with a score of 265, 23 under par and two strokes ahead of fellow American Tom Hoge.
He’ll be hoping to claim a third victory again this year when it tees off again on 16th January.
Abu Dhabi Championship
The Abu Dhabi Championship is not part of the PGA Tour, instead making up part of the European Tour.
The event will take place as the stunning Yas Links course, on Yas Island, near the Yas Marina racing circuit, Etihad Arena, and Ferrari World theme park. It is, therefore, a popular destination for golf fans who also want to use the opportunity to explore some of the other attractions on offer in the Emirate.
It’s one of the biggest events on the European Tour, thanks, in part, to the large prize purse and other fees paid to top golfers.
Last year’s tournament was won by Belgian Thomas Pieters who led from Rafa Cabera-Bello and Shubhankar Sharma by a single stroke to go 10 under par. This year’s event will run from the 19th to the 22nd January.