(Above) Bubba Watson takes flight on the par-4 12th at Kapalua in 2012. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
• COURSE: Plantation Course at Kapalua, 7,411 yards, par 73. Perched along the seaside slopes of the West Maui mountains, the Plantation Course is known for both its breathtaking views and susceptibility to wind. More often than not, though, the trade winds stay gentle enough for the winner to reach 20 under and lower. Opened in 1991, the course is one of the first Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw collaborations.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: Six beneficiaries, ranging from youth after-school programs to elderly care facilities. For more on how this event gives back, click here.
• FIELD WATCH: FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, Masters winner Bubba Watson and U.S. Open titleholder Webb Simpson headline the list of 30 tournament winners from 2012. Snedeker is among four multiple winners from last year who will tee it up, along with Hunter Mahan, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. This week’s lineup features eight men among the top 20 in this week’s Official World Golf Rankings.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Ernie Els (2003).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 62, K.J. Choi (3rd round, 2003), Graeme McDowell (4th round, 2011).
• LAST YEAR: Steve Stricker, who ended 2011 with concerns over tingling in his left fingers, made a strong start to 2012 with a three-shot win over Martin Laird. Opting for offseason therapy and cortisone instead of surgery on a herniated disc, Stricker used a second-round 63 to establish himself at the front of the pack. Early struggles whittled his lead to one in the final round, but birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 restored enough cushion to cruise the back nine.
• STORYLINES: Kapalua begins the truncated 2013 season, with seven fewer stops as the PGA TOUR transitions to a wraparound schedule starting next October. The old “Fall Series” will launch the 2013-14 docket ... Entrants would be wise to take it easy around the water this weekend, as freak injuries led to WDs in each of the past two years. Geoff Ogilvy cut a finger on some coral before the 2011 event; Lucas Glover sprained his right knee in a paddleboard mishap last year.
• SHORT CHIPS: Kapalua will feature a Monday finish for the second consecutive year, scheduled to end less than an hour before football’s BCS National Championship kickoff ... Stricker, now the Hyundai Tournament of Champions' oldest winner, won’t lose that designation this year. He’s the only entrant this week in his 40s ... Not only is Stricker the only former Kapalua champion in the field, he’s also the only former runner-up entered.
• TELEVISION: Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10 p.m. EST (Golf Channel). Sunday, 3-6 p.m. (NBC), 6-10 p.m. (Golf Channel). Monday, 4-8 p.m. (Golf Channel).