The PGA TOUR is starting this week and I for one can remember always looking forward to watching the first event of the season which used to be called the Mercedes Championship, but is now known as the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
This event always used to be filled with the best of the best players in the World, and I for one, have to say I am rather disappointed this year when I take a look at the list of the Field. Yes I know that in order to make it here you have to win an event and that there are so many new kids out there with lots of talent, but still I am not impressed with the names playing this week.
It was in 1999, the first year they moved this prestigious event to Hawaii, that David Duval won the event with a total of twenty-six under par. The record for this event was set by the Big Easy in 2003 when Ernie Els shot thirty-one under par. Last year, it was Jonathan Byrd that won the event with a total of twenty-four under par.
Since they moved to Hawaii, there have been two players that have won back to back titles. The first to do so was Stuart Appleby, who won it three years in a row 2004, 2005 and also in 2006. The other player to pull off that feat was also an Australian, Geoff Ogilvy, who won it in 2009 and again in 2010. This year, Jonathan Byrd will have a chance to join that group if he is able to win this week, but the odds are against him since there are so many young guys there that can straight up play.
The only thing that really is missing from this year is the big names. The biggest names this week will be Steve Stricker and K.J Choi. They will have to compete against the likes of Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Bill Haas. If you ask me, Keegan Bradley might be the favorite to win this week. I don`t think many players really had a better year than what he had, and he has the length to take advantage of this great layout. To be fair, the winner this week will be for sure one of those guys that can just bomb the ball out there - so don`t count out Gary Woodland as long as he can make the putts when it matters the most.
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions takes place Friday, January 6, 2012 through Monday, January 9, 2012.