No, there won’t be a Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy or Henrik Stenson at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions when they tee it up on Friday at the Kapalua Plantation Course on Maui, but there will be 13 first-time winners from the 2013 PGA schedule. That has to be some kind of record. And you can vote for who will pair up with defending champion, Dustin Johnson for the opening round on Friday.
For the most part, almost every weekend in the early part of the 2013 season produced a new first-time winner on the PGA Tour. You would have thought the trend would slow a bit when the big guns joined the tour during the Florida Swing, but no, it continued throughout the season.
In fact, the last to win before the end of the 2013 season was Patrick Reed, who won as late as the Wyndham Championship. Jimmy Walker won the Frys.com, but that was officially considered the first event of the new Wrap-Around schedule. What the heck….he still gets an invitation to Maui and because the Frys.com is now an official FedEx Cup event, he get’s an invitation to Augusta.
The most impressive of these first-time winners has to be the 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth. The youngster from the Dallas area took the Tiger Woods approach to getting a tour card. Without a win until the John Deere Classic to validate his standing on the tour, he immeadiately went to number eight in the FedEx Cup standings when he became legal.
You would have thought he was done when he missed the cut at The PGA Championship, but he came back strong at the Wyndham Championship with a second place finish, and who could forget his eagle on the 18th hole at The Deutsche Bank to net a 62 on Sunday, a second place finish, and a spot on the Presidents Cup?
The highest ranked player in the lineup on Maui will be the 2013 Masters Champion, and the World’s number two ranked player, Adam Scott. Scott didn’t participate in the Wrap-Around schedule, but took his talent home where he almost swept the Australian Loop. He continues to play well, and had it not been for Rory McIlroy nipping him in the finale’, would have made the Aussie Sweep.
Adam Scott joins Matt Kuchar, and Brandt Snedeker as players you can vote on to pair with the 2013 TOC Champion Dustin Johnson for the opening round on Friday. You can vote at the PGATour.com social hub. The voting will end on the last day of the year, and the winner will be announced on New Year’s Day.
In case you have forgotten the 13 new winners from 2013:
- Russell Henley, Sony Open in Hawaii
- John Merrick, Northern Trust Open
- Michael Thompson, The Honda Classic
- Scott Brown, Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com
- Kevin Streelman, Valspar Championship
- Billy Horschel, Zurich Classic of New Orleans
- Derek Ernst, Wells Fargo Championship
- Sang-Moon Bae, HP Byron Nelson Championship
- Harris English, FedEx St. Jude Classic
- Ken Duke, Travelers Championship
- Jordan Spieth, John Deere Classic
- Patrick Reed, Wyndham Championship
- Jimmy Walker, Frys.com Open
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