I don’t know about you, but with night-time lows hitting at or below zero degrees, it’s hard to imagine we are talking about golf. But as I am reminded by Alan Jackson’s song, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, I know that it’s summertime somewhere on the planet, just not here. With most of the American Sports fans anxiously awaiting the Divisional NFL Playoffs this weekend, I should remind you that there is golf this on tap as well.
Sony Open Waialae Country Club
With the final round at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions being played on Monday afternoon, it will be a quick turnaround for TOC Champ, Zach Johnson and many of those finishing up on Maui before taking the short flight to Oahu and the Sony Open.
As I look at the Power Rankings by Rob Bolton at PGATour.com, it’s not hard to understand why he would have the 2007 Masters Champion at the top of his list. He has won the last two tournaments where he has teed it up, and since loosing in a playoff to phenom, Jordan Spieth at the John Deer Classic only finished one event out of the top ten.
Zach Johnson won the Sony Open in 2009, and after what I saw at Kapalua, should be the odds on favorite this week in Honolulu.
In fact, Mr Bolton didn’t go too far out on a limb here by picking Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, and Masters Champ, Adam Scott as his two thru four pick. The only one that was strange, was his Charles Howell III pick at five. Howell does hold seven top five finishes at Waialae and will be looking to makes some noise when they tee it up on Thursday morning.
The most interesting pick in his Power Ranking was his number 10 pick, Hideki Matsuayma. Since his fine showing at the 2013 Presidents Cup, I have been anxious to see this youngster play again.
This kid has the complete game. He hits the ball well, has a great short game. and can putt. All of the ingredients for a pretty good PGA Tour career. I’m curious how he does on his own in this event that includes some of the better players on the PGA Tour.
You can find a list of the players and a schedule for the Golf Channel broadcast in a preview I posted on Pro Golf Now on Tuesday.
With the New “Wrap Around” schedule, the FedEx Cup standings are already underway. Webb Simpson leads the Tour with a T3 finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a win at The Shriners back in October, and a seventh place finish at the McGladrey.
Jimmy Walker, Harris English, Ryan Moore, and Dustin Johnson round out the top five. Zach Johnson finished the week in seventh place. His win at the Northwestern Mutual last month was not a FedEx Cup event.
Volvo Golf Champions Durban Country Club South Africa
The European Tour goes back to work this week at the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa for the first 2014 event. The tournament features 36 of the winners from the 2013 season, and previous winners at the Volvo.
Louis Oosthuizen is the defending champion at the Volvo which is being played for the second year at the Durban Resort. Many of the top players on the Tour will be teeing it up on Thursday morning in this event that is Europe’s version of the Hyundai TOC.
You can find a preview of the Volvo Golf Champions on Pro Golf Now. The field is strong, and includes 2011 Masters Champ, Charl Schwartzel, and four other players from South Africa.
Ernie Els has elected to skip the Volvo this year citing a reduction in his schedule, and wanting to spend some extra time with his family.
Like the PGA Tour, the 2014 season got underway back in late 2013, and there are already players with Race To Dubai points. Thomas Bjorn leads the RTD with Charl Schwartzel, Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia, and Morton Orem Madsen rounding out the top five. 2013 FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai Champion, Henrik Stenson is in sixth place.
You can follow Les on Twitter @Spin_47 and in the Golf Community at Google+