The Loop

The PGA Tour season starts (again) this week. Here are 5 things to know about the 2015 opener

January 05, 2015

A select group of PGA Tour pros -- like the rest of us -- go back to work this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The only difference, of course, is their version of work is playing golf in Hawaii for a lot of money. Here are five key story lines for the 2014-15 season resuming at Kapalua:

1. A win here doesn't guarantee a big year

A winner of this event hasn't won another stroke-play event in the same PGA Tour season since Vijay Singh in 2007, and it's only happened twice in the past 11 years. Zach Johnson was the latest to fall victim to the Kapalua curse in 2014, struggling (for him) the rest of the year and barely earning the last automatic spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.


Zach Johnson cooled off in 2014 after a hot start.

2. Some very big names are missing

Only four of the 38 golfers who qualified for the event won't be in Hawaii this week, but it's quite the foursome. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer are all skipping the trip to Kapalua. Hey, work is work.

3. But not all the stars are playing hooky

World No. 4 and reigning Masters champ Bubba Watson headlines a small, but strong field that also includes Jason Day, FedEx Cup champ Billy Horschel, and U.S. Ryder Cuppers Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Jimmy Walker. Watson started his 2014-15 wraparound season with his first World Golf Championship victory at the HSBC Champions.

4. Can Robert Streb keep this up?

The breakout star of the fall had three top 10s in five starts, including his first PGA Tour win at The McGladrey Classic. If you're expecting the 27-year-old Streb to fade in 2015, remember this name: Jimmy Walker. Many were thinking the same thing about him 12 months ago.

5. What's in Sang-Moon Bae's future?

No golfer has more on his mind this week than Bae, who is facing possible conscription into the South Korean military. Bae, who is currently No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings after winning his second career PGA Tour title in October, is in a legal battle to avoid returning to his native country at the end of the month. In other words, the Kapalua curse is the least of Bae's worries right now. He's just hoping to have the opportunity to play the rest of 2015.