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BlogHyundai Tournament of Champions Preview and Picks

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

January 3 – 6, 2014

Kapalua Resort Plantation Course

Kapalua, Maui, Ha.

Par: 73 / Yardage:

Purse: $5.7 Million

with $1,140,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Dustin Johnson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

Sorry for the delay today, our host server was down a good portion of the day.

The field includes 14 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three players from the top-ten: #2 Adam Scott, #7 Matt Kuchar, #9 Zach Johnson.   The other top 50 players are #13 Brandt Snedeker, #15 Jason Dufner, #16 Dustin Johnson, #21 Webb Simpson, #22 Jordan Spieth, #29 Bill Haas, #33 Ryan Moore, #41 Billy Horschel, $42 Jonas Blixt, #44 Kevin Streelman and #47 Jimmy Walker.

The field includes 10 of the Top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2014.  Those players are #1 Jimmy Walker, #2 Harris English, #3 Ryan Moore, #4 Webb Simpson, #5 Chris Kirk, #6 Dustin Johnson, #15 Scott Brown, #16 Gary Woodland, #24 Graham DeLaet and #25 Brian Gay.

The field includes 9 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #1 Ryan Moore, #2 Dustin Johnson, #3 Harris English, #4 Jimmy Walker, #5 Webb Simpson, #6 Chris Kirk, #9 Gary Woodland, #15 Scott Brown and #20 Graham DeLaet.

The field includes only one past champions, last year’s winner Dustin Johnson.

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Player Nedbank Challenge UBS Hong Kong Open Classic at Mayakoba DP Dubai Turkish Open McGladrey Classic WGC-HSBC Champions CIMB Classic BMW Masters Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Frys.com Open Tour Championship
Ryan Moore
(105 pts)
T7
(36.67)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
Win
(44)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP DNP
Webb Simpson
(102.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP 4
(40)
Dustin Johnson
(79 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(35)
Jimmy Walker
(78 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
6
(20)
DNP T12
(12.67)
Win
(44)
DNP
Harris English
(73.33 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP
Scott Brown
(64.67 pts)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP 72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T3
(30)
DNP
Gary Woodland
(62.67 pts)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(14)
Jordan Spieth
(61 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 17
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(50)
Chris Kirk
(57 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(42.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T7
(27.5)
Zach Johnson
(42.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP T7
(27.5)
Boo Weekley
(38 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T11
(13)
T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP DNP 30
(10)
D.A. Points
(34.67 pts)
T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(12)
Jonas Blixt
(34.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 12
(19)
T29
(7)
DNP T63
(0)
T25
(8.33)
DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP
Bill Haas
(34 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(13)
Kevin Streelman
(33 pts)
28
(14.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(13)
Matt Kuchar
(30.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(12)
Jason Dufner
(27.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
Brian Gay
(27.33 pts)
DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T46
(1.33)
T47
(1)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Adam Scott
(18 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(18)
Brandt Snedeker
(15 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(15)
Ken Duke
(13 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP DNP
Michael Thompson
(5.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Woody Austin
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Sang-Moon Bae
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Player Nedbank Challenge UBS Hong Kong Open Classic at Mayakoba DP Dubai Turkish Open McGladrey Classic WGC-HSBC Champions CIMB Classic BMW Masters Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Frys.com Open Tour Championship
Derek Ernst
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Russell Henley
(-3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Martin Laird
(-3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(-1.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sang-Moon Bae
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Woody Austin
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
John Merrick
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
T64
(0)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP
Michael Thompson
(5.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ken Duke
(13 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(15 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(15)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

First off congratulations to Rory McIlroy who popped the magic question to Caroline Wozniachi at midnight, New Years Eve while they were watching fireworks at Sydney Harbour.  Quite McIlroy a flair for the romantics as Wozniachi said yes to him.

Before we start happy New Year and looking forward to a great 2014 season.  Not only will we have these previews of all tournaments on the PGA Tour and select tournaments on the European Tour, we will also have video previews to help you better understand the art of picking players and how much Golfstats can help.

Here is our Video preview and picks for the Hyundai

The first event in the year 2014 is the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, played in Maui.

One of the greatest perks on the PGA Tour for winning is getting to start the year off in Maui. For the average person, they would kill just to get to Hawaii, the winners of 2013 they not only get to come to Hawaii but they get a week at a Ritz Carlton on one of the most lovely beaches in the world. Food couldn’t be any better, the scenery is the best for those that like water sports from surfing to snorkeling the Kapalua area is great. Yes this is really hard work and to think, there is no hustle or bustle this week, play bad finish last and you’ll still make $61 grand. What a life.

But let’s face reality, not every pro on the PGA Tour think that playing in the Hyundai T of C is there cup of tea.  Just ask Phil Mickelson and he would diplomatically tell you he loves Maui, but doesn’t want any part of playing 72 holes at Kapalua.  Even though Tiger Woods hasn’t said anything, you have to wonder why after playing in six of the seven T of Cs at Kapalua between 1999 and 2005 he hasn’t been back.  About the only thing Woods has said is that the event is too close to the holidays, the is understandable as it’s starting just two days after New Years day.  Still you have to wonder, he use to play there and doesn’t any more, has to be something else.

These aren’t the only two names missing out this year, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson took a pass.  For Stenson he is pretty set in his ways and will play three of the four desert events on the European Tour next month so it’s understandable for him not going to Hawaii.  The same with McDowell, who got married a few months back and is redoing his schedule.   He played at Hyundai in 2011 and finished 3rd, but for him to break up his R&R time to fly off to Maui just doesn’t make sense.  The same with Rose, he hasn’t played in Hawaii since 2011 and it just doesn’t fit his schedule anymore.

So the field is down to 30 players and one of the remarkable stats is that of the past champions, last years winner Dustin Johnson is the only champion in the field.  The field could be better if the PGA Tour would take the suggestion to including winners of the last two or three years but they don’t want to do that so they just have to live with a so-so field.

Injuries:

Brandt Snedeker comes back this week after injuring his left knee in a Segway crash in China in November.  Snedeker has followed doctor’s orders and not played, resting the leg.  He took his family to Palm Springs for the holidays and played his first round of golf on December 28th.  He may say that things are fine but I can’t see him playing well this year.  With all of the hills to climb, this is not the course to start for the first time so don’t expect much out of him.

December wasn’t the best month for Boo Weekley who lost his grandfather and uncle earlier in the month.  This forced him to withdraw for the Franklin Templeton and after spending the last couple of weeks with his wife hunting, feels a lot better now.  Weekley has played before at Kapalua and even though he is a great ball striker, handling the greens is not in his wheelhouse so don’t expect much from him.

Course information:

The Plantation course was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and was opened in May of 1991. Between 1992 and 1997 the course was the venue of the Lincoln Mercury Kapalua Open, with the Mercedes Championships moving to the Plantation course in 1999. The average green size at Kapalua is 9,500 square feet, which means that it has some of the biggest greens on tour. This will place a premium on putting, especially on long putts. Course has 95 bunkers and no water hazards, with fairways so wide that a 747 can land on them.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions:

Key stat for the winner:

The Plantation Course is not a driving course. A good driver has no advantage here so players just have to rear back and hit it as far as they can. The fairways are big enough to land a 747 on them and for those that miss the fairway, the rough is of no worries so frankly this is one of the rare events that driving means nothing.  Last year was a perfect example, the winner Dustin Johnson missed the most fairways of anyone in the field (missed 20 of the 60 attempts) but on the other end of the spectrum, Johnson’s average drive of 279.5 yards was second longest.  So hitting it long does have it’s advantages.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • The same on hitting greens, since they are so large averaging 8,000 square feet, you can see that in the field, the average player only misses three greens per round. Last year Dustin Johnson missed only 6 greens and ranked T2nd.  Still the king of stats is putting.  With the biggest greens on the PGA Tour, putting is important.  Last year in 54 holes Johnson was T2nd in putting taking only 92 putts but what is really amazing is the fact that 11 of the last 15 winners at Kapalua finished either first or second in putting (8 led that category).  Going a step further, look at the most recent champions on putting from three feet, five feet and ten feet in.  Last year Johnson was perfect 32 for 32 on putts of three feet and in.  On putts of five feet and in, out of 46 attempts he missed only two and of putts inside 10 feet he only missed six of 55 attempts.
  • in 2012 Steve Stricker won and was perfect 44 of 44 on putts of three feet in.  On putts of five feet and in, Stricker was 56 of 58 and inside ten feet 62 of 71.
  • In 2011 Jonathan Byrd won and was a perfect 39 of 39 on putts of three feet in. Putts from five feet and in he only missed one of 56.  On putts ten feet and in he was 66 of 73, the best in the field.
  • And in 2010 Geoff Ogilvy was nothing sort of near perfect as he made all 55 of 55 putts from five feet and in and only missed four putts from ten feet and in, it’s very hard to be better than that.
  •  We saw it last year on how Kapalua is a very unpredictable place. The Plantation Course was built on the side of a mountain and is exposed to winds off the ocean, so if they get winds of 20 and 30 mph, which is common the scores will climb. Perfect example of this was in 1999 when benign conditions the first three rounds brought the scoring average down to 70.58. But in the final round, trade winds came and the scoring average was 2 and a half strokes higher at 73.00. In 2000 all four days were played in high winds with scoring average being 73.03, while in 2006 a combination 74.893 scoring average made it the fourth toughest course played on the PGA Tour in 2006. But the last five years have seen big changes as conditions couldn’t of been better and the scoring average have gone down to the point that Kapalua is one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour over the last five years.  Last year with the poor weather and some wind the course still played under par at 72.111 but wasn’t the easiest as it was ranked 32nd out of 43 courses.  So what does this year look?  According to the ten day forecast on Weather.com it’s going to rain on Friday and Saturday, then be perfect on Sunday and Monday.  The really good news, winds won’t be that bad at around 10 mph each day, but we all know that late in the afternoon it could blow a bit more.
  • One important thing to look at is a player that ended last year strong. Look at past champions, Jonathan Byrd won the last event of 2010 and then won at Kapalua. Geoff Ogilvy played well in Australia the month before he won at Kapalua and Daniel Chopra won late in 2007 before he won again at Kapalua in 2008. So lets look at the field and find someone that has won lately? Zach Johnson won the Northwestern Mutual last month, beating Tiger Woods in a playoff.  Adam Scott in the three tournaments in Australia won twice and was runner-up once.  In the fall events Jimmy Walker won the Frys, Webb Simpson won in Vegas, Ryan Moore won the CIMB Classic, Dustin Johnson won the WGC-HSBC, Chris Kirk won the McGladrey. Harris English won in Mexico and English along with Matt Kuchar won the Franklin Templeton Shootout so we have a lot of hot players in the field.
  • Experience at Kapalua is important and could play a part.  Of the 30 in the field, 13 are playing for the first time and five have played only once at Kapalua.  So of the other 12 you may find your winner.

Here is a look at those that have played the most at Kapalua in the field:

6 starts – Zach Johnson

5 starts – Adam Scott

4 starts – Dustin Johnson

4 starts – Matt Kuchar

3 starts – Woody Austin

3 starts – Bill Haas

2 starts – Brian Gay

2 starts – Martin Laird

2 starts – Ryan Moore

2 starts – Webb Simpson

2 starts – Brandt Snedeker

2 starts – Boo Weekley

 

 

Who to watch for at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Best Bets:

Adam Scott

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
T21 T18 2 T5 7

Have to agree with the consensus that Adam Scott should win this week. He is the hottest player right now in the field with his two wins and runner-up in three events in Australia and Kapalua suits him well. Yes he didn’t do well the last time he played in 2011, but he was spending more time with actress Kate Hudson then than on the golf course. Look for a great week out of Scott.

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
T9 T6 3 T25

I can’t think of any better player for this course (except for Scott). He hits it long, hits lot’s of greens and putts well. He is a very good lag putter which is very important for this week. I can easily see him runaway with this if Scott doesn’t perform well

Webb Simpson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
T11 T3

His putting could be the key for him, if it’s working he will contend.

Best of the rest:

Martin Laird

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
2 T4

His runner-up in 2012 and his T4th in 2010 showed his liking of the course.

Dustin Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
Win T9 T16 11

Did well last year but that was under crazy conditions. Still his game is very suited for Kapalua and he could win again.

Zach Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
T18 T23 18 T6 T20 T23

Common sense says that he should be the winner this week. Won in his last start beating out Tiger but this course is not in Johnson’s wheelhouse, he will need an above average putting week to excel.

Brandt Snedeker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
3 T10

Many will think he is the favorite, under normal circumstances he would be except for his injured knee from the Segway accident in China back in November. He has been a good patient and rested it, only played his first round of golf on Monday in Palm Springs so you have to think that he will be a bit rusty. Also it’s a hard walk up and down these hills, that could be a problem for him.

Solid contenders

Harris English

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time which will be hard but he is a solid player and knows a bit or two about playing on courses over the ocean. His last win came at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, a course that has the same grass as Kapalua.

Jason Dufner

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
T18

Wasn’t very impressive in his first start last year but that was under harsh conditions and I can see him turn it around this year.

Ryan Moore

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
T28 T6

Another of those recent winners, he didn’t play well last year but did finish T6th in 2010.

Jordan Spieth

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
First time playing in this event

Could his sophomore year be a break out season or a sophomore slump? I see breakout and he will start this week with a good four rounds.

Long shots that could come through:

Chris Kirk

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
T7

Did finish T7th in 2012 so he knows a bit about the course.

Jimmy Walker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
First time playing in this event

Kapalua could prove to be very good for his game.

Billy Horschel

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01 ’00
First time playing in this event

Another Kapalua rookie that could show his long game and good putting this week.