Record 42 starters set for US PGA Tournament of Champions

Miami (AFP) –


Top-ranked Dustin Johnson, third-ranked defending champion Justin Thomas and US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau will lead a record 42 starters when the US PGA Tournament of Champions tees off Thursday.

The traditional first tour event of a calendar year at Kapalua, Hawaii, opened its field to players who reached last season's Tour Championship as well as event winners after a season disrupted by a two-month Covid-19 layoff.

PGA Player of the Year Johnson captured his second major title in November at the Masters after winning the Tour Championship in September. The 36-year-old American also won the Hawaii champions event in 2013 and 2018.

Thomas won the WGC St. Jude Invitational as well as the Tournament of Champions last year while fifth-ranked US compatriot DeChambeau won in Detroit last July before taking his first major crown at Winged Foot.

Fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Britain's 10th-ranked Tyrrell Hatton are skipping the Hawaii event after qualifying, while American Jim Herman, ranked 96th, announced he will not play after contracting Covid-19.

"Some lousy news to end the year - I've had CV19 for the last couple of days and therefore will not be playing Kapalua," Herman tweeted.