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Two Tournaments in Two Weeks in Hawaii; Seem Like Heaven to You ?

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Logo ImageDoes two tournaments in two weeks in Hawaii seem like heaven to you ? Well it apparently does not suit everyone.Twelve of the thirty players who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course have opted to miss next weeks Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, a short island hop away.

2012 SOIH winner Russell Henley

Russel Henley, last years winner / Stan Bedz PGA

Last years winner Russel Henley carded  26 birdies against only two bogeys during the tournament, the only real defense the Waialae Country Club has is the wind. If it doesn’t blow then low scores are the order of the day.

Weather conditions this year are predicted to be similar to last years event, sunshine periodically shrouded by passing clouds and the occasional rain shower are expected, as are manageable trade winds and seasonable highs right around the 80 degree mark.

Excuses are the usual, Jonas Blixt ho has missed the cut and finished T-54 in his two tries at Waialae Country Club commented;

 “It just doesn’t fit me. I just don’t hit enough fairways to compete there. I’m just not very good at it. Honestly, we want to play, if I could play every tournament, I would, but you just can’t play them all.”

This from Martin Laird;

“It doesn’t set up well for me, if you don’t hit right-to-left you’re at a disadvantage. My high fade is not the ideal shot there.”

Apart from Jonas and MartinDustin Johnson has also pulled the plug. along with nine others who have chosen to play the Hyundai, but not the Sony. The missing in action list is pretty impressive;

Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Reed, and Billy Horschel.

Seems like John Merrick just likes to play on the mainland;

“I just really love the West Coast events, I’ll play Humana (the week after the Sony), San Diego, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and LA. You just have to pick your spots.”

Ryan Moore also prefers to go home;

 “For me, it’s 100 percent a scheduling matter.”

Billy Horschel has a corporate commitment to CVS;

 “Six months ago we gave them some days for an outing at TPC Sawgrass for a military event, and we came up with next Friday.”

Patrick Reed just feels knackered;

“I feel like we’ve walked over Mount Everest this week, it’s just very hilly. Besides, the Humana (and Palm Springs) area is one of our favorite places, I’ve had success at Torrey and I want to be well-rested going into those.”

So, who is going to play the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in lovely Honolulu, take a look at this bunch;

Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Jordan Spieth, these guys alone are worth the entrance money.

To tell you the truth I could easily live in Hawaii, visited there four times and loved every minute.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. A Zach Attack.

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Zach Johnson is the winner of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after he attacked the course with a final round of -7 under par 66.

 

This time it's Zach

Zach Johnson / Getty

Zach eased his way round the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii, sticking to his game plan and not deviating from it one little bit;

“I just picked it apart, I didn’t deviate from anything I typically do on a golf course.”

Zach completed the tournament in -19 under par, a one shot victory over Jordan Spieth. Jordan had a final round -4 under par 69, for his -18 under par total. . This is the 11th win of Zach’s career. Since his rookie season in 2004, only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have won more PGA TOUR events.

Webb Simpson and Kevin Streelman tied for third place at -17 under par for the tournament. It was an exciting end to a fiercely contested competition, and at the end a Johnson won again, but not the defending Champion Dustin, this time it was a proud Zach.

Webb had borrowed Ted Scott to be his caddy, from Bubba Watson, because his usual man, Paul Tesori ,  was attending the birth of his son. There were some complications and everyone was asked to pray for little Isaiah as he struggled for life. Ted had inscribed Isaiah on the peak of his golf cap, to show solidarity with Paul and Michelle, and their infant son. They responded with this statement:

 “We are so blessed for all the support and prayers from our families, Webb & Dowd, Teddy (Scott), our friends and the entire golf community. In the mere 36 hours he has been with us, our perfect little boy, Isaiah, has not only touched our hearts, he has touched thousands of lives. We continue to ask for prayers for baby Isaiah’s brain, heart and body as we await many test results over the coming weeks as well as prayers for the nurses and doctors tasked with loving and caring for him. Regardless of the results, Jeremiah 1:5 assures us this is all part of God’s perfect plan, and we will embrace whatever lies ahead for our family.”
~ Paul & Michelle Tesori

 

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Dustin Tied at the Top

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Dustin Johnson is at the top of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, in a three-way tie, and the end of play on day three.

Familiar face, familiar place

Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

Dustin shot a third round -4 under par 69, to share the lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth, all at -14 under par. Webb had a -5 under par 68 round, while Jordan equalled Dustin’s effort of -4 under par 69.

Defending Champion Dustin thinks if he plays the par fives well he is in with a good chance;

“I need to go out and just take advantage of the par fives. Got to play those well, and then, yeah, I think it’s going to take 6  or 7 under. That would be my guess. You can shoot that in any weather out here pretty much if you get it going.”

Webb had an emotional round, his usual caddie and friend, Paul Tesori, was in a hospital in Florida, with his  newborn son Isaiah in intensive care. Paul tweeted that he tuned into the telecast at Kapalua in time to see his son’s name on Scott’s hat.

“Paul sent me a text this morning, just told me he loved me and wanted me to go out and fight as hard as I would any other day. And that’s what Teddy and I did. I felt like we were out there playing for Isaiah. Paul needs something to watch there in the hospital. It’s been a long few days, so hopefully, we gave him something good to see on TV. But it was tough. I was thinking about him a lot out there.”

Jordan was really happy with his first ever 54 hole lead,  didn’t lose patience over a few bad breaks;

“This is a new position for me, I’ve never slept on a 54-hole lead. I’m excited about it and it’s going to be a fun time tomorrow to get to play with Webb for the third time this week.  I got to the seventeenth tee box and thankfully, that view kind of calmed me down a little bit and I was able to snag a birdie there.”

Alone in fourth place is Zach Johnson, who had a three shot lead at the start of play. On moving day Zach moved backwards, shooting a +1 over par 74, for a total of -12 under par.

Zach still said he was pleased with the result;

” I feel good, I feel good about my game and I feel good about the way I’m going about the day and the way Damon and I are attacking it.”

View image on Twitter

Plantation Course at Kapalua / a golf fan

Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Zach Zooms To The Top.


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Zach Johnson zooms to the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the second round in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course Kapalua in Hawaii.

The Johnson’s, Dustin and Zach / Getty Images

 Zach Johnson needed to avoid the dreaded three-putt and score better on the par fives, he did neither during the second round on Saturday at Kapalua, but still managed to build a three-shot lead. His tournament total now -13 under par following his -7  under par 66.

His namesake Dustin Johnson, the defending Champion here, is one of three players tied in second place at -10 under par. Dustin also shot a -7 under par 66 second round, with birdies on all the par fives, which were tempered by two bogey’s on the back nine. He likes this course;

“This golf course sets up well for me, I can reach all the par 5s, and there’s a few short holes where you can drive it up close to the green. So if I chip and it and putt it well, I’m going to shoot a good score pretty much every time.”

Zach responded to that quote;

“I would say I’m up by three gross, and by eight or nine net, based on that rationale.”

And then just for good measure he mentioned coming from behind to beat Tiger Woods, last time out;

“When you’re talking about a guy that’s done what he’s done and raised the bar, any time you beat him, especially if you’re playing with him and come back from four shots with eight holes to go, it’s going to happen. So I can deal with that. I’ve played with him a number of times, too. I like watching him hit driver. He’s not a whole lot different than a lot of the other guys I play with because they all hit it a lot further than me it seems like, I don’t know. Dustin does not intimidate me.”

 Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth are tied for second place as the winners-only tournament started to show some separation between the leading players and the rest of the field.

Matt Kuchar likes it here in Hawaii so much that the whole family are staying on for a vacation after the two Opening tournaments.

“We love it here, we went for a week last year and we had such a good time. I took a look at my schedule, I needed kind of a mini-break; I have played a lot in October, November, December, so I was looking for a mini-break and just said, ‘Well, we’re over in Hawaii, let’s just stay there and enjoy ourselves. It’s the halfway point and I’ve posted two nice scores. Looks like I’m not too far off the lead, so that’s a good thing, but there’s a lot of guys still in this.”

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Four Tied at theTop.

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2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions started with a first round four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Plantation Course at Kapalua,  MauiHawaii.

Jordan Spieth / Getty

Jordan Spieth was one of the first round leaders, fresh from some coaching to adjust technical glitches with his grip and flattening the plane on his downswing to hit more draws. It all worked as Jordan shot a bogey free first round -7 under par 66 to share the lead in the clubhouse. The rookie of the year explained that his swing got out of whack;

“With that many events, your body just wants to do so many different things. You’re playing in heavy winds one week and the next week you’re trying to launch it out. I still don’t own my swing yet, kind of all over the place.” I had new member orientation this week, I think it was more of a brief meeting than it normally is for new members. I have no excuses and I’m ready to play.”

Jordan shares the top spot with, Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson, who all carded -7 under par 66.

Webb Simpson / Getty

Webb was  fully prepared, he had also been working on his game during the brief winter break;

“My off-season was pretty staggered, two weeks off and have to play; two weeks off and play. I was trying to figure out the proper rest versus practice, but I’m the type of guy that I hate not being prepared. And so I tried to just literally not touch a club for 10 days and then once I got back, then I hit it hard the last 10 days. So I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. You know, there’s just a few shots in the round you need to step up and hit, and today I had a few of those and I was able to hit some good shots. Take care of the par fives, and just one dropped shot, one poor iron swing on 7, but overall, great start.”

The two Johnson’s, Zach and the big hitting Dustin are also in this field, Zach in contention with an opening -6 under pat 67, and Dustin with a more modest -3 under par 70. You would expect Dustin to tear up the par fives here, with his prodigious distance off the tee, so stand by.

Chaos at Kapalua, Dustin Johnson Leads, going into Tough Tuesday.

Title Tuesday?

Dustin Johnson / Stan Badz/ PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson leads the weather wrecked Hyundai Tournament of Champions, at the Kapalua Plantation Course, in Hawaii. It is now Monday, with 18 holes still to be played. Dustin leads Steve Stricker by three shots with his tournament total of -11 under par, with rounds of 69 and 66.

Dustin only missed three greens in regulation, but had a couple of three putts, he said;

“I hit the ball really well this afternoon. I’m pretty pleased with my equipment, I’m pretty pleased with my game right now.”

Steve Stricker, now at -8 under par for the tournament, has recently been suffering from a constant pain problem, but thinks it is going to be tough for Dustin  to win from the front;

“Nobody knows if it’s a muscle with pressure on the sciatic nerve or if there’s a problem with a disk, my back feels great. I don’t feel tight, I don’t feel stiff. Just every time I get over to my left side, I’m getting a shooting pain down my leg. I’m not hitting it full strength and I’m just trying to keep it in front of me and play the smart shots. It felt as crappy on the first hole as the last hole. You’ve just got to go out and play and play your hardest and see what happens, I’ve been in that position where he’s at now. It’s a tough spot. It’s tough to win in front. We’ve got really nothing to lose tomorrow and it makes it a little bit easier for us, but tougher on him.”

Bubba Watson is alone in third place at -7 under par for the tournament, and  will be trying to win in his sixth straight season since leaving college, the longest streak of any player since Tiger Woods, and remember he won the last two 54-hole events on the PGA TOUR, at the hurricane-shortened Barclays in 2011 and rain-delayed AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2009. Bubba is pretty happy with his position in this weather wrecked tournament;

“Just happened to win those two events, I’ve still got 18 more holes of golf. It wouldn’t matter if it was 72 holes or 54. Tomorrow is still the last round and there’s 18 holes to play, so got to get the job done.” 

So its last round, Tough Tuesday at crazy Kapalua, in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

 

 

Wind the Winner at Kapalua

 

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Maui. Hawaii was forced to cancel the first round on Saturday, due to high winds.  PGA TOUR officials hope to get in 36 holes Sunday, and play 18 on Monday’s final day, declaring a champion after 54 holes.

Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and operations explained;

“We got balls rolling all over the green, so we have canceled play for the day.”

It was the same story on Friday, the opening round was wiped out with the first group through eight holes. Three groups did not tee off after an official saw Carl Pettersson’s 40-foot putt on the second green get blown 30 feet past the hole and off the green.

Slugger added;

” Forecast for tomorrow is a little better, 15- to 25-mph with gusts, maybe, to 30. A little less moisture, more like pineapple showers than these downpours that we have had.”

Brandt Snedeker has not played an official shot for 2013, he is playing in the final group alongside defending champion Steve Stricker ,and they did not tee off Friday. Brandt said he was happy with the officials’ decision;

“Yeah, they did do the right thing, it’s just a little too windy out there for us to play.  If the course wasn’t so exposed, it wouldn’t be a problem, but you have a lot of greens exposed to 40-mile-an-hour wind gusts. It’s tough to make that call, they did the right thing. We had to try to play today if we wanted to try to get 72 holes in. Unfortunately a short day, but hopefully get out tomorrow and get some golf.”

Hunter Mahan reported that the 30 players were trying to take the delays in stride;

“It’s difficult, we are in such a cool place and we can’t really do much. It’s strange when you go down the road 10 minutes or 15, 20 minutes and it’s great, it looks beautiful over there but for some reason right here, it’s tough. It’s difficult to figure out if you want to go hit balls right now or wait till later or what you want to do. I think we all are trying to figure out what to do and what’s the best plan for us to get ready for the next two days or three days.”

I can sympathize with those guys, I understand what it is like with those winds. Here at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Course, in New Zealand, the winds have been blowing pretty constantly for a couple of months, playing to your handicap recently has been a rarity.

See you Sunday

Kapalua / Getty Images

PGA Tour Parts Company with Mickey and Minnie, and The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

 

It was a sad day Monday when the PGA Tour released a portion of its 2013-14 schedule, with one glaring omission. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is not part of the new lineup. Tournament spokesperson Tony Morreale announced;

 “It was a mutual decision between us and the Tour.”

The Disney event has  been a permanent fixture on the Tour since 1971, when Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural Walt Disney World Open Invitational, and in recent years it has enjoyed being the final event on the circuit’s schedule. For sometime now speculation had been building  that with the Tour’s transition to a split-calendar schedule beginning next season, and the loss of its title sponsor, November’s event, which was last won by Charlie Beljan, would be the end of the Miracles for the Children.

Ryan Palmer the 2004 Disney champion, said;

” I honestly think it would have gotten a better field as part of the FedEx Cup. It will be sad to see an event like this go away. Disappointed to see it leave.”

The Frys.com Open will start the 2013-14 schedule beginning Oct. 20-13 followed by the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (Oct. 17-20) in Las Vegas. Then following two events in Asia, CIMB Classic (Oct. 24-27) and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Oct. 31-3) – the circuit returns to North America for The McGladrey Classic in Georgia and the OHL Classic at Mayakoba (Mexico) in November. After November there will be a break of one and a half months before the Tour resumes it’s season with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions Friday Jan 4 – Monday Jan 7, 2013, at the Plantation Course at Kapalua · Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.

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