Preview – Hyundai Tournament of Champions

2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Zach Johnson
2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Zach Johnson
2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Zach Johnson

The calendar says January but the PGA TOUR is already part way through their 2014-2015 schedule.

Even so, for many the Hyundai  Tournament of Champions is the start of the golf calendar and it takes place this coming week over The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on Maui. Technically it is the 8th official event of the 2014-2015 season and brings the PGA TOUR back after a seven week break.

Among the field of 34 pros who committed to Hawaii this week will be defending champion Zach Johnson.

In 2014 Johnson closed with a 7 under par, 66, to come from two strokes behind.  Five players had a chance to win as the final nine was being played on the Coore/Crenshaw design but Johnson reeled off four birdies in a five hole stretch to push ahead.

Ultimately he snuck past Jordan Speith by just a stroke to grab the $1.14 million first prize.

In eight appearances it was just his second top ten finish – indicative of how hard a test the nearly 7,500 yard course can be for a length-inhibited player like Johnson.

The winners’ cheque from the $5.7 million purse will be the same this year with 500 FedEx Cup points going to the winner.

The field is as strong as ever with the 34 players accounting for 100 official PGA TOUR victories. Zach Johnson has eleven of those on his own.

Three players in the field this week had multiple wins in 2013/2014 including Bubba Watson, Billy Horschel, and Patrick Reed.

The hilly course at Kapalua causes fits for many players, especially when it comes with club selection and dealing with the winds so don’t expect a lot from those making their first appearances.  There are a dozen of those players including Canadian Nick Taylor, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Chesson Hadley (2013-14 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year), Brian Harman, Matt Jones, Ben Martin, Hideki Matsuyama, Seung-Yul Noh, Kevin Stadler, Robert Streb, and Brendon Todd.

Our player to watch – Keep an eye on Billy Horschel who made his first stop at Kapalua last year and finished in 6th place.  It was just a taste of his year to come when he finished with a flurry.  He earned his way back to the Hyundai TOC with a victory at the BMW Championship followed by a win at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, on his way to winning the FedEX Cup title.

 

2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions Notes
Dates: January 8-12, 2015
Where: The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort
City, State: Maui, Hawaii
Par/Yards: 36-37–73/7,452 yards
Field: 34 winners of PGA TOUR events from the 2014 calendar year
2014 champion: Zach Johnson
Purse: $5,700,000
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play (no cut)
Twitter: @HyundaiTOC
Instagram: HyundaiTOC
Full field list:
Sang-Moon Bae
Steven Bowditch
Angel Cabrera
Tim Clark
Ben Crane
Jason Day
Matt Every
Chesson Hadley
Brian Harman
Russell Henley
Charley Hoffman
J.B. Holmes
Billy Horschel
Zach Johnson
Matt Jones
Chris Kirk
Matt Kuchar
Hunter Mahan
Ben Martin
Hideki Matsuyama
Ryan Moore
Seung-Yul Noh
Geoff Ogilvy
Patrick Reed
John Senden
Kevin Stadler
Scott Stallings
Robert Streb
Kevin Streelman
Nick Taylor
Brendon Todd
Camilo Villegas
Jimmy Walker
Bubba Watson