The Hump Day Golf Report: Big Stars Go Back To work

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It was an interesting week around the world of professional golf for this second week of the new year. We got tournaments from the wilderness of South Africa to the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. The LPGA made a ground-breaking announcement, and two rare Albatross’ were made in one day.

 

The Volvo Golf Champions tournament got underway on Thursday afternoon at the Durban Country Club in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Aftrica. Thirty-six top European Tour golfers teed it up for the no-cut winners-only Tournament Of Champions. All 2013 champions, and past winners were invited to kick off the 2014 season in this beautiful golf course on the edge of the African wilderness, and the Indian Ocean.

Louis Oosthuizen won his second Volvo Golf Champions in as many years, and it was the fourth year in succession the popular South African was able to win the first tournament of the year where he played.

King Louie battled fellow countryman, Branden Grace down the stretch for a one-stroke victory, a check for $4 Million Dollars, and probably another piece of farming equipment. Oosthuizen was offered a new Volvo last year, and traded it for a new excavator.

Jimmy Walker battled an aggressive field at the Sony Open on the Waialae Country Club to pick up his second win of the year. The journeyman golfer has found something new in his golf game, and has put some distance on the FedEx Cup field. Walker won the Fry.com back in October.

The Sony Open became a real crap-shoot on Saturday afternoon when there were seven players tied at -10 under par. There were over 20 golfers within two shots of the lead. What a tournament.

The upcoming week will feature a return of top European Tour players to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, and the PGA Tour will return to the mainland to begin the West Coast Swing. The Champions Tour gets underway on the Big Island this week, but you will have to wait one more week for the Ladies.

Phil Mickelson is taking his game back to the African Desert, and will tee it up on Thursday in Abu Dhabi against the strongest field since the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs last September. Phil is seeking better competition in order to get his game ready for the Major season which begins in April with the Masters at Augusta.

We haven’t seen Henrik Stenson since he flagged a three-wood to the 18th hole in Dubai back in December when he won the DP World Tour Championship, and all the Race To Dubai money. Rory McIlroy will also be in Abu Dhabi to avenge a horrible season that began last year in this very spot.

McIlroy has finished second in this tournament twice, and the last time we saw him, he was lifting a trophy in Australia. The youngster from Northern Ireland came from four strokes down to spoil Adam Scott’s Aussie Sweep.

The only three top players who won’t be in Abu Dhabi this week are Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, and Justin Rose. Tiger is at home getting ready for the Farmers Insurance next week at Torrey Pines, Adam Scott is taking some time off in the South Pacific, and Justin Rose is trying to heal a sore shoulder before the majors.

The PGA Tour will tee off the Humana Challenge on Thursdasy in the California Desert. The official name is The Humana Challenge in Partnership with the Clinton Foundation, some of us old-timers remember it as the Bob Hope Dessert Classic. Action gets underway on Thursday afternoon, and Brian Gay will defend.

The tournament which used to be 90 holes has been shortened to 72 holes, and will culminate on Sunday afternoon. Everyone will be looking to pad their FedEx Cup, and Ryder Cup status before the big boys return at the end of the month.

The Champions Tour will get their 2014 season underway at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai on the Big Island. John Cook will defend his 2013 title when action started on Friday afternoon.

The LPGA Tour announced this week that they will be adding a playoff system to the 2014 season. This was a long time coming, but will provide some added excitement to the season. It’s called The Race To CME Globe. This is a point system that is somewhere between the PGA’s FedEx Cup, and the European Tours, Race To Dubai.

The LPGA Tour got a shot in the arm during the 2013 season with Inbee Park’s quest for four majors and a possible Grand Slam. The Solheim Cup provided some great entertainment, so with the addition of a playoff chase, and Lydia Ko turning pro, this should be a marquee season for the LPGA.

Happy Hump Day everyone!!

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Topics: European Tour, Golf, LPGA, PGA, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy

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