Hyundai Tournament of Champions
We discuss the ever-decreasing off-season, predict what to expect from Tiger Woods in 2012, and of course, get you ready for the PGA Tour's opening event
Hyundai Tournament Of Champions
Where: Maui, Hawaii
Course: Plantation Course at Kapalua
Defending champion: Jonathan Byrd defeated Robert Garrigus on the second hole of a playoff to win his fifth career PGA Tour title.
This Week's Fix Six
2. Bill Haas
3. Webb Simpson
4. Bubba Watson
5. David Toms
6. Steve Stricker
And... we're back! Welcome to a season-opening edition of Fantasy Fix, where instead of "fantasy guru," we prefer the term "dream maker". Did that fantasy football season not go as well (Thanks a lot, Jahvid Best) as you planned? Are you getting restless waiting for your fantasy baseball draft? We've got you covered with advice to help you make the fantasy golf season fun and successful. So set your sights high as 2012 begins. This could be the year you finally win that league title -- or at least, beat that annoying friend who likes to brag a lot.
The PGA Tour kicks off the 2012 season with the aptly-named Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a winners-only event played at Kapalua's Plantation Course in Maui. It's tough to handicap the field based on who is playing well since these guys haven't teed it up in ages. Oh wait, there is no golf off-season anymore? Scratch that.
Random tournament fact: There are 11 players (A few, like an injured Dustin Johnson, have a legit excuse) skipping this event, despite the fact that it's a small field with a huge purse that's being played in a tropical paradise. You'd think these guys would be chomping at the bit to start their seasons after such a long layoff. Oops, I forgot about there not being an off-season again...
Jonathan Byrd. Last year, J-Byrd birdied the second playoff hole to pick up his fifth PGA Tour title. More impressively, he wasn't distracted by Robert Garrigus' children's putter during the extra holes. By the way, when we say "the defender," we really mean it. Byrd happens to be the only player in the field who has won this tournament before. While another win is unlikely, with that fact in mind, you could certainly do a lot worse than taking the Clemson product.
STUD OF THE WEEK
Rory Sabbatini. There may not be another former champ in the field other than Byrd, but Sabbo has come the closest with two runner-up finishes. The last time he played here, he shot a final-round 63 to nearly catch Geoff Ogilvy. (Side note: I played this course once. I did not shoot a 63.)
MY OBVIOUS PICK(S) OF THE WEEK
Bill Haas. If you've read this column before, you should know by now that I don't hide my bias for Bill Haas, a fellow graduate of the Wake Forest class of 2004. In fact, the off-season was so short, I'm still riding high from his remarkable par save from the water that helped him win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. But there's good reason to like him this week as well. Of all the returning players from last year's field, only Steve Stricker finished higher. And as we mentioned, he fared pretty well the last time he played in a limited-field event...
And sticking with the Demon Deacon theme, when is playing Webb Simpson not a good choice these days?
KNOCKOUT PICK OF THE WEEK
Rory Sabbatini. While we've highlighted one-and-done picks before, this year we'll feature it even more. In fact, look ahead to our contest for each of the four majors, as well as the Players Championship. Yes, there will be prizes. No, one of them isn't getting to have dinner with me, sorry. There will be more details to come, but it will involve Golf Digest/Golf World's Facebook page so stay tuned.
WE WANT YOU! TO GET INVOLVED...
Aside from our forthcoming contest, I also want to feature a guest pick every week. So be bold and email me at Alex.Myers@GolfDigest.com or tweet at me (@AlexMyers3) for a chance to appear in next week's column. Now onto more pressing email matters...
FAN MAIL BREAK
"Hey, Alex. Welcome back! I'm looking forward to another great year! What are you predicting for me this season? Talk to you later, Tiger Woods."
Thanks for checking in, Tiger, and a belated happy birthday to you. 36? Wow. You're almost as old as my boss. Hope you liked the Justin Bieber CD I sent to make you feel younger... No, Tiger didn't actually write, but you didn't think we'd make it through the first installment of the year without mentioning him, right? I'm going to predict four wins and a major in a player-of-the-year campaign for the former top-ranked player. And seriously, please feel free to email me with comments, questions or just to make fun of my picks. And of course, you can follow me on Twitter.