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BlogHyundai Preview and Picks

Hyundai Tournament of Champions

January 7th – 10th, 2016

Kapalua Resort Plantation Course

Kapalua, Maui, Ha.

Par: 73 / Yardage:

Purse: $5.9 million

with $1,180,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Patrick Reed

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field of 32 has 22 players in the top-75 of the world rankings including 19 of the top-50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with six players from the top-ten: #1 Jordan Spieth, #2 Jason Day, #4 Bubba Watson, #6 Rickie Fowler, #8 Dustin Johnson, #10 Patrick Reed.   The other top-50 players are #13 Zach Johnson, #16 Brooks Koepka, #17 Kevin Kisner, #24 J.B. Holmes, #26 Jimmy Walker, #30 Russell Knox, #32 Emiliano Grillo, #37 Justin Thomas, #43 Bill Haas, #47 Danny Lee, #48 Scott Piercy, #49 Chris Kirk, #50 Brandt Snedeker

Last year there were 12 top-50 players in the field

The field includes 6 of the Top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2016.  Those players are #1 Kevin Kisner, #3 Justin Thomas, #4 Graeme McDowell, #5 Smylie Kaufman, #8 Emiliano Grillo and #9 Peter Mainati,

The field includes only three past champions, last year’s winner Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson – 2014 and Dustin Johnson – 2013.

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.  For our fantasy golf players looking to pick six players, check out our GOLFstats IQ section for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, it will help you  make those Draft Kings picks.

 

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.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

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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 DP World BMW Masters Mayakoba RSM Classic Turkish Open WGC-HSBC Sanderson Farms CIMB Classic Hong Kong Shriners Hospitals Frys.com Open
Emiliano Grillo
(120.33 pts)
T11
(26)
T4
(40)
T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Win
(44)
Patrick Reed
(115 pts)
DNP T10
(20)
2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T10
(13.33)
T3
(30)
DNP DNP
Russell Knox
(105 pts)
24
(17.33)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP T38
(4)
CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Kisner
(90 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Graeme McDowell
(87 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
3
(30)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP
Justin Thomas
(81.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
Smylie Kaufman
(68.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
T10
(13.33)
Alex Cejka
(61 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Peter Malnati
(54 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Scott Piercy
(51.67 pts)
20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Fabian Gomez
(24.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
T17
(11)
James Hahn
(23 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(20)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
Dustin Johnson
(20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(19.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Jordan Spieth
(18.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Steven Bowditch
(13.33 pts)
30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP 80
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
David Lingmerth
(12 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP T72
(0)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(10.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP T76
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T81
(0)
Bill Haas
(5.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Davis Love III
(5.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T73
(0)
DNP
Bubba Watson
(5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Danny Lee
(4.67 pts)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(4.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
Troy Merritt
(3 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
J.J. Henry
(2.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 42
(2.67)
T61
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Nedbank DP World BMW Masters Mayakoba RSM Classic Turkish Open WGC-HSBC Sanderson Farms CIMB Classic Hong Kong Shriners Hospitals Frys.com Open
Matt Every
(-3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP 72
(0)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
Padraig Harrington
(-3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Brooks Koepka
(-0.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T41
(3)
Zach Johnson
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(0.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
DNP
J.J. Henry
(2.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 42
(2.67)
T61
(0)
Troy Merritt
(3 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brandt Snedeker
(4.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
Danny Lee
(4.67 pts)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

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 2015/16 they not only get to go to Hawaii, but they get a week at a Ritz Carlton on one of the prettiest  beaches in the world. Food couldn’t be any better; the scenery is the best and for those that like water sports from surfing to snorkeling the Kapalua area is the best. 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 thinks that playing in the Hyundai T of C is their 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.

For this year four players took a pass, Rory McIlory, Shane Lowry and Justin Rose. (Jim Furyk is also not playing but because of his wrist)  For the three who opted out to start their seasons in either Abu Dhabi in two weeks or Qatar the week after.

In past years we have harped on how players could miss out on this event, for those that aren’t here it’s understandable since three of the four are starting their seasons on the European Tour.  Still the field is healthy with 34 starters the same as last year.  Lots of oddities, for one only three past champions, are in the field (Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson).

Of the 34, 14 are playing for the first time, five have only played once.  2014 champion Zach Johnson has the most experience, playing in eight while Davis Love II is next playing in seven previous Hyundai’s.  Of those in the field Love has been in contention the most, five of his seven starts he has finished in the top-ten.

So there isn’t a wealth of experience in this event and kind of begs the question, the field could be better if they took the winners of the last two or even three years.  But the PGA Tour or the Hyundai officials have stayed pat on just the last 52 weeks winners getting an invite.

Injuries:

The biggest injury is Jim Furyk, who hasn’t played since the BMW Championship.  Little is know other than he has a bruised bone in his wrist and there is no time table on him coming back.  Probably a shame for Furyk, who use to own a home at Kapalua and loves coming to this resort.

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. The course has 95 bunkers and no water hazards, with fairways so wide that a 747 can land on them.

In 2015, the course played to a scoring average of 69.925 (remember it’s a par 73) that was just under three shots under par and it was the easiest course on the PGA Tour.

Kapalua Course keys:

This is based on the most important stats for Plantation Course at Kapalua, based on data from last years Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and using data from all the players in the field for with stats from 2015.
One thing that is important to know, the scoring average of the field in 2015 was 69.93, so with par being 73 that means the average score was just over 3 under per round, making Kapalua the easiest course to score on in 2015.

*Par Breakers: The Plantation Course has always been a push over for the best players in the world. They field killed the course in 2015 as the field averaged 4.95 birdies per round and a total of nine birdies were made, so it’s important to be the best in this category which is based on who makes the most birdies and eagles.

*Proximity to Hole: In greens hit 80.14% where hit last year, making it the easiest course to hit greens on the PGA Tour. In proximity to the hole, players tended to have a tough time getting it close to the hole, last year they averaged 41 feet, 1 inch as only two courses saw approach shots go further away from the hole.

*Strokes gained Putting: The greens average 7,120 at Kapalua, making them about average. So with shots ending up far from the hole, it puts a premium on putting, so players that gain strokes putting have an advantage. Overall putting stats place it the 7th hardest to putt, as one putts are at a premium. Three putts aren’t that bad as the course ranks 21st in 3-putt avoidance.

*Par 4 average: There are 11 par 4s on the Plantation course and only two of them, the first and seventeenth are the only ones that play over the par. The rest play under par as the average of all par 4s is 3.92, or for the field 124 under so looking for players that do well on par 4s help. We don’t list it but of the Plantations four par fives, they played a total of 279 under in 2015, which means that each player averaged 8.2 shots under par on them.

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

 

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 frankly is of no worries, so this is one of the rare events that driving means nothing.  2013 was a perfect example, winner Dustin Johnson missed the most fairways of anyone in the field (missed 37 of the 60 attempts) but on the other end of the spectrum, Johnson’s average drive of 279.5 yards the second longest.  So hitting it long does have its advantages since in 2015 Kapalua was 2nd in driving distance but was fourth of the PGA Tour courses with a 72.59% accuracy rating and was best greens in regulation, hitting 80.14%.

So along with players hitting it as far as they can, also look for players hitting lots of greens. Since they are so large averaging 7,200 square feet, you can see that players miss only three greens per round. So hitting lot’s of greens is a misnomer.  The average hit green is 41 feet away so you can see that lag putting is important since only two courses in 2015 had figures higher.

So two key stats standout as important, first approach putt performance which gauges who lag putts the closet to the hole? In 2015, those playing at Kapalua averaged getting their first putt within 2 feet, 3 inches away.  The other key stat is birdie or better conversion per greens hit, Kapalua was fifth as players birdied 34.13 of the greens they hit.  Also look for putters that make many putts longer than 15 feet, Kapalua ranked high among courses on the PGA Tour for that stat.

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

 

*Still, the king of stats is putting.  With some of the biggest greens on the PGA Tour, putting is important.

Look at Patrick Reed last year.  He was T-15th in hitting greens but of the greens he hit averaged 44 feet, 8 inches from the hole that ranked 26th.  Now, Reed may of been 16th in strokes gained putting and T-15th in total putting, but again look at some important putting stats for Kapalua.  First, Reed one-putted 28 of the 72 greens, which ranked T-5th.  Of the 60 putts of five feet or under, Reed only missed three.   One last item Johnson only took 114 putts that ranked 4th.  This is an amazing comparison of the 16 winners at Kapalua, 12 of them finished either first or second in putting (8 led that category).

In 2013 over 54 holes, Dustin Johnson was T-2nd in putting taking only 92 putts.  Going a step further, on putting from three feet, five feet, and ten feet in.  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 missed only 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 short of near perfect as he made all 55 of 55 putts from five feet and in.  He only missed four putts from ten feet and in, it’s very hard to be better than that.  So of the last five winners since 2010 none of them have missed a putt shorter than 3 feet and all of them missed only an average 1.6 putts per event under five feet.  So the tournament is won with the putter.

* Every year we see 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. A 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 two 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 has seen big changes.  Conditions couldn’t have 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.  In 2013 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 the weather will be perfect each day with no rain and very little wind, so look for very low scores this year.

*One important thing to look at is a player who ended last year strongly. Bubba Watson won Tiger’s tournament.  Jonathan Byrd won the last event of 2010 and then won at Kapalua. Geoff Ogilvy had 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?

Brandt Snedeker did partner up with Jason to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout.  The week before Watson won the Hero with Patrick Reed finishing 2nd and Rickie Fowler finished 3rd  Also Kevin Keiser won the RSM Classic just before Thanksgiving.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jason Day hasn’t played in a event since the President Cup, taking some well deserved time off as his wife had a baby just after Thanksgiving.  So it will be interesting to see if Day will be rusty.

 

Who to watch for at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Best Bets:

Jordan Speith

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
                                    2

Best putter in the field, look for him to dominate on the greens.

Dustin Johnson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6 Win T9 T16 11

Past champion that can overpower this course and make the most birdies and eagles.

Bubba Watson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
10 T4 T18 T25

Dominated at the Hero, that event on that course is just like this week.

Best of the rest:

Graeme McDowell

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
3

Played well last month and in 2011 when he finished 3rd.

Jimmy Walker

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
2 T21

Showed a lot last year until he gave the tournament away in the end, he can go low.

Zach Johnson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
7 Win T18 T23 18 T6 T20 T23

Another that can play well despite not hitting it far.

Brooks Koepka

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time, be interesting to see if he can do well. Bet he can.

Solid contenders

Patrick Reed

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
Win T16

Defending champion, he played great in the final five weeks on the European Tour in 2015.

Rickie Fowler

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6

Was T-6th in his only start at Kapalua.

Chris Kirk

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T14 T16 T7

Another of those guys that can play well

Jason Day

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T3 T9

Be interesting to see how rusty he is, I think this week will be more about getting things back together.

Long shots that could come through:

Emiliano Grillo

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

So a lot in September, he could overpower this course and do well in his first try.

Kevin Kisner

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Another of these guys that could do anything.

Danny Lee

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Lot’s of potential, just worried that he doesn’t hit it far enough and putt well.

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