January 8 2013
Bubba Watson battled through the flu in the final round of the Hyundai TOC. (Petersen/Getty Images)
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Maui -- Dustin Johnson led the tournament in driving distance at 307.8 yards. He hit 23 of 45 fairways and 48 of 54 greens in regulation -- but Johnson also had two big misses with his with his driver. He missed the ninth fairway and lost his ball, and almost lost another golf ball after a bad drive on the 13th. Johnson must have been a little leery hitting driver on the 14th hole, but he never hesitated. Johnson drove it to within 52 feet of the cup on the 292-yard par 4, then chipped in for eagle. People will remember the hole-out, but it was his commitment to the driver that made the eagle possible.
Green speed: Players struggled with three-putts the entire tournament. The field averaged over seven three-putts for the week. Kyle Stanley had an unseemly 14 three-putts in 54 holes, including 11 on Monday. Players struggled with the greens because of high wind, slope and undulation, but also because of speed. Three-putting frequently happens when greens are hard and fast but at Kapalua the putting surfaces were unusually slow and golfers had a very hard time adjusting. TOUR Officials kept the greens at 8.5 on the Stimpmeter because of the high winds.
Injury: Several players competed with injuries and illness this week. Steve Stricker had leg pain. J.J. Henry arrived in Hawaii with a cold and was slow to recover, but nobody appeared worse than Bubba Watson, who had the flu. He looked like a man trying to digest a sour lunch for most of the final round, and was a ghostly shade of white. Watson constantly drank electrolytes but moved uncharacteristically slow around the course. Still, he managed a tie for fourth.
Scoreboards: There were no scoreboards for the final round. The equipment was shipped ahead to Oahu for the Sony Open, which led to come confusion for Dustin Johnson. Caddie Bobby Brown raced up to the 18th green and asked the media how his man stood in the tournament. Of course, when you begin the day with a three-shot lead and shoot five under par, you have a pretty good idea where you stand in relation to the field.
Driving: The Hyundai Tournament of Champions always leads the PGA TOUR in number of 400-yard drives. The combination of wind and elevation change leads to some huge hits. Kyle Stanley led the way with a 429-yard drive on the seventh hole in the second round. For the week, there were 15 drives in excess of 400 yards. Johnson still had the best drive of the tournament. He was driven to the 18th green in a 2013 Hyundai Equus for the award ceremony.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.