January 3 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions is the first of six PGA TOUR events with no cut in the 2013 season. When it comes to strategizing no-cut competitions in one-and-done games, there are two common schools of thought.
The conservative side of the aisle will invest in the guaranteed payday, saving an otherwise no-brainer for another week. Meanwhile, more aggressive strategies favor going for the home run since there are only 40 events, relying in the confidence that there is always value on the table at the conclusion of the season.
Now, it's not wise to simplify either philosophy. Consider browsing somewhere other than on the top shelf in tournaments like the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and THE PLAYERS Championship as both have proven track records of parity. But go ahead and indulge at Kapalua.
If your provisions don't prevent burning defending champions, then Steve Stricker is a fine selection. In his last four appearances, he finished no lower than T10 (2010). Last year's title was a mild surprise given he entered as a question mark following concern over a herniated disc. He's fifth in all-time earnings at this tournament and the only golfer inside the top 26 in this year's edition.
Since I subscribe to the theory that defending champions are off-limits (save one mulligan, and I prefer Stricker at the John Deere Classic anyway), I'm going with Matt Kuchar. He's 27th on the all-time money list at the season-opener -- second-highest in this field -- and he's achieved that rank in just two starts, finishing third in 2010 and T6 in 2011.