HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy 564 (900)
The USPGA Tour is back! The traditional Hawiian swing gets under way with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions played at the Plantation course at Kapalua. This is a restricted field limited to winners of USPGA tour events in 2015. Given this is the 17th event in a row played at Kapalua allied to the restricted field it should make life a lot easier when trying to find the winner.
The action kicks off on Thursday with mild weather forecast. 32 of the 36 eligible players tee it up with absentees being Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry and Jimmy the Fuck.
Kapalua is a big wide-open monster at 7,400 +. A par 73 with only three par 3’s the course offers lots of scoring opportunites unless the wind howls.
Horses for courses? Course experience counts around here with only 2 debutants wining over the 16 events. Does that rule out the 14 first time starters here? Perhaps. Despite the absurd yardage length isn’t a prerequisite as both Steve Striker and Zack Johnson have prevailed…but they can putt.
The large greens negate to an extent the advantage gained by those who hit greens in regulation so this becomes a short game competition.
Spieth and Day Tee it up and both have good course form…but at the prices I’ll leave them alone. Day has been off for a while and Jordan’s putting – while still great – struck me as just going off the incredible boil it was in 2015. Will Jordan ever putt as well as in 2015? I’m reminded of Butch Harmon’s comment to Rory mid 2015 about how Jordan couldn’t keep making these putts. Rory’s response? “He has so far…”.
Where does this leave us in our quest for the winner?
We want a player in form and ideally one who has form around here. It can’t hurt to be long or to hit lots of greens. Then you have to convert.
Step up Patrick Reed.
The reigning champion (CD in racing parlance – Vale Jon Myers) he nearly did it for us late in 2015 and I see no reason to abandon him. He’s not short. Hits a mountain of greens. Is in form – top class form – and as we have touched on before if it blows his ball flight should really suit. Take the $12 e/w with for the confident multiple tour winner to challenge.
Reed didn’t exactly back into the winners enclosure last year but our second picks’ failure to birdie either of the last 2 par 5’s meant a playoff which Reed won.
Jimmy Walker loves these early season events – and likes a bit of wind with wins in Hawaii and Texas – and must come her with a spring in his step. Yes he lost to Reed in the playoff but then won the very next week in Hawaii at the Sony. Walker seemed to struggle for the best part of 2015 after his promising start but found something at the Hero World Challenge for 8th and is a super putter when on song. Take the $34 e/w with