We discuss a brutal BCS National Championship game, reveal our first-ever guest pick, and make a bold prediction for Zach Johnson in 2012
Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
Course: Waialae C.C.
Defending champion: Mark Wilson defeated Tim Clark and Steve Marino by two shots.
This Week's Fix Six
2. Zach Johnson
3. Webb Simpson
4. Steve Stricker
5. David Toms
6. Charles Howell III
Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Fix, where we'll never over-stuff the broadcast booth. No, instead of Johnny Miller or Nick Faldo, you're just stuck with me -- and that might not be such a bad thing. Four of the golfers I touted from last week (Stricker, Simpson, Byrd and Kirk) finished in the top seven on the leader board at Kapalua. Yeah, yeah, it was an extremely small field, but you've got to start somewhere, right? Let's keep the momentum going into Week 2:
The PGA Tour stays in Hawaii with the Sony Open, the first full-field event of 2012. And since this tournament has alternates, it will stay that way, no matter how many "fluke" ocean accidents are suffered by golfers this week.
Random tournament fact: Michelle Wie will not be playing on a sponsor's exemption in her home state this year.
Mark Wilson. It was here last year where "Little Cheese" picked up his first of two early-season victories, when he outlasted Tim Clark (Remember him?) and Steve Marino. We love the diminutive Wisconsinite, but we like a lot of guy's chances this week better.
STUD OF THE WEEK
K.J. Choi. A former winner here (2008), the Korean Tank got off to a strong start to 2012 with his T-5 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Getting off to a good start is a key in this event as well. In his two best finishes, he opened with a 64.
WEEKLY WEBB/STRICK PICK
Again, there doesn't appear to be a scenario right now in which you wouldn't want to play Webb Simpson, who starts 2012 with yet another strong showing. Same can be said for Steve Stricker, who picked up his 12th career PGA Tour title at Kapalua. The Strick Show is getting so used to winning, he's not even crying (that much) anymore.
BEST "III" IN THE FIELD
Charles Howell III. Sticks had a strong summer last year after switching, like seemingly everyone else, to a belly putter. He had four top-five finishes in his final 13 starts, plus a T-6 at the Tour Championship. He's also been in the top five in five of his 10 trips to Honolulu. We'll take him over Davis Love III and Billy Hurley III in our first installment of the 2012 battle for the honor of top third-generation names.
RANDOM SELF-PROMOTION PLUG OF THE WEEK
My new list of top 10 sleepers for 2012 will be coming out tomorrow. Please check it out. That is all. (Update: It's now out.)
GUEST PICK OF THE WEEK
Time to make some history. Our first-ever guest pick comes via Twitter from Kunle Obafemi (@TheRealNoVa7):
"I tried very hard to go against the hot hand, but I just can't do it. I'm picking Strick to pull back-to-back wins. He was T-9 here last year, a solo third in 2010, and T-4 in both 2007 and 2008; that's four top 5s in his last five appearances. He plays better at Waialae than at Kapalua. I think he pulls through for the second weekend in a row."
Thanks for the prediction. Tough to argue against any of that. Want to make a guest pick? 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.
KNOCKOUT PICK OF THE WEEK We'd rather save Choi for down the road, so we'll go with Howell III in this spot. And as a reminder, we will be having a contest for each of the four majors, as well as the Players Championship on Golf Digest/Golf World's Facebook page.
After a so-so start, here's this week's plays:
Starters: K.J. Choi, Chris Kirk, David Toms, Jonathan Byrd
Bench: Zach Johnson, Ryan Palmer, Steve Marino, Sang-Moon Bae