December 28 2013
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
• FULL FIELD: Hyundai Tournament of Champions
• COURSE: Plantation Course at Kapalua, 7,452 yards, par 73. Perched along the seaside slopes of the West Maui mountains, the Plantation Course is known for both its breathtaking views and – as evidenced last year – its exposure to the wind. More often than not, though, the trade winds stay gentle enough for the winner to reach at least 20 under over four days. Before last year’s weather-shortened event, the previous four editions all produced winners at no worse than 22 under. Opened in 1991, the course is one of the first Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw collaborations.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: Six primary beneficiaries, ranging from elderly care facilities to environmental watchdog groups to youth after-school programs. Since the event moved to Hawaii in 1999, more than $4.4 million has been raised to benefit Maui charities.
• FIELD WATCH: Masters champion Adam Scott and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner join defending champ Dustin Johnson atop the list of 30 tournament winners from the 2013 calendar year. … Scott, at No. 2 after winning two legs of Australia’s triple crown, heads a list of six players among the top 16 in the world rankings. … Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth (John Deere Classic) highlights a group of 13 first-timers, along with double winner Harris English (FedEx St. Jude Classic, OHL Classic at Mayakoba). … Woody Austin (Sanderson Farms Championship) tees it up 3½ weeks shy of his 50th birthday.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Ernie Els (2003).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 62, K.J. Choi (3rd round, 2003), Graeme McDowell (4th round, 2011).
• LAST YEAR: After high winds wiped out play for three days, Dustin Johnson proved best in a three-round sprint as the only man to post three rounds in the 60s. A second-round 66 lifted him to a three-shot advantage, and the result seemed hardly in doubt until a double bogey cut Johnson’s lead to one over Steve Stricker with five holes left. Undaunted, Johnson blasted driver at the par-4 14th that rolled off the front of the green – then chipped in for eagle to restore a three-shot cushion. Victory gave Johnson a win in six straight seasons since leaving college – a streak now at seven after winning the WGC-HSBC Champions to start his 2013-14.
• STORYLINES: Though no longer the season opener, Kapalua marks the restart to the new wraparound season that began last October. Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore and Chris Kirk are in the field from current-season wins. … Not only is Johnson the defending champion, he’s the only former winner in the field. … The Hyundai Tournament of Champions could see its youngest winner since Sergio Garcia’s 2002 victory came three days before turning 22. Five entrants this week are under age 25 – Spieth (20), Patrick Reed (23), Derek Ernst (23), Russell Henley (24) and English (24).
• SHORT CHIPS: Fans have the chance to vote on who will be paired with Johnson in the opening round, choosing between Scott, Matt Kuchar or 2012 FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker. Balloting continues through Monday at PGATOUR.COM/socialhub. … Kapalua is scheduled for a Monday finish for the third straight year, timed to end less than an hour before college football’s BCS National Championship Game kicks off at the Rose Bowl in California. … Four players in their 40s will tee it up at Kapalua – three more than last year, when Stricker was the only player in his 40s.
• TELEVISION: Friday, 5:30-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 2:30-7 p.m. (GC). Sunday, 3-4 p.m. (NBC), 4-10 p.m. (GC). Monday, 4-8 p.m. (GC).