Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Kapalua Resort and Spa
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
Yards: 7,452 per the scorecard
Par: 73 (36-37)
Greens: Bermudagrass (8,100 square feet on average)
Rough: Bermudagrass at 1.5”
Water Hazards: 0
Course Architect: Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore (1991)
Winner’s Share: $1,114,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson was the only player to fire three rounds in the 60s to win the 54-hole event (weather). I’m not using last year’s data to factor into this year’s selection because of the start-stop, bad weather. If you follow fantasy golf, you know Dustin Johnson is the KING of winning in bad weather.
Date: January 3-6
Format: The winners from the 2013 season and the first six events of the 2013-14 season are eligible for this 72-hole, no-cut event.
Notes: Mark your calendars for a FRIDAY beginning and a MONDAY finish! Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell are eligible but are not competing this week. There are only three par threes, hence par 73.
Happy New Year But Not Really
The calendar has rolled over to 2014 but the PGA TOUR season has six events in the book.
Who are you arguing with?
On behalf of the golf staff at Rotoworld.com we wish you a happy, healthy and hopefully profitable 2014.
We’re here to help if we haven’t already.
Most people will open their seasons in one-and-dones (OAD), salary games and weekly drafts this week so everything that you enjoyed in 2013 will be back to “normal” this week. We’ll have our weekly chat on THURSDAY this week instead of the normal Wednesday (due to the holiday, silly) and it will take place at Noon ET.
As I begin year No. 3 as your columnist, the more things change, the more they remain the same. I’ll be in charge of the weekly preview column (Range Rover) and wrap-up column (The Takeaway) as well as riding shotgun on The Fantasy Pope, Rob Bolton’s Wednesday chats. I’ve added another mouth to feed over the holidays so that, along with your emails, texts, Tweets and whatever else, will keep me on my toes this fantasy golfing season.
If you’re curious about what games I play, well, here you go!
I am the Commissioner of a 15-man league that drafts LIVE every week. We have a grand old time but we’re quite serious as well as we play from the Sony Open through the FedExCup Playoffs. We award weekly winners plus we have multiple season-long games based on our weekly picks that reward the best and most consistent players.
I play Yahoo! Fantast Golf so I, just like you, can try and beat Ned Brown. It’s impossible but we all give it a shot. My team is called Glasshole. For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, I’m not a big fan of the Yahoo! game because I constantly forget to change my lineups on Saturday and Sunday mornings because I’m usually having too much fun on Friday and Saturday night. I will try and do a better job of that this season. I have no problem helping anyone set their lineups or strategizing their substitutions so don’t be afraid to ask.
I also play the Golf Channel’s Fantasy Game and each week in my preview article I will post the picks, money earned and standings position for myself, Rob Bolton, Ryan O’Sullivan and Ned Brown.
The final piece of my puzzle is the PGA TOUR’s weekly PICK FOUR game. I will list my picks for that game weekly during our LIVE chat on Wednesday whether or not longtime chat reader Chadders asks for them.
In closing, I appreciate all requests for help/information/suggestions and will do my best to get to all of them. For the best results, please get with me earlier in the week instead of midnight Wednesday! I also appreciate all the requests to play and join games but I just don’t have time or the resources to say yes to everyone so I’ll save you the time and politely decline right here!
Tell Me Who Are You?
I wrote this last year and I don’t see any reason to change it up so here it is:
Information is power. I’m here to help those of you who don’t have 40 hours a week to set your fantasy roster. Here are some great resources that you should bookmark to help you set your weekly line ups:
Rotoworld.com, as you are aware if you are reading this, is the best source for up-to-the-minute news, injuries and golf information. We’re glad you’ve found us. Now, follow us on Twitter (@Rotoworld_GF).
Rob Bolton (@RobBoltonGolf) is the Pope of fantasy golf writing. His insight for Rotoworld.com and PGATour.com cannot be missed on a weekly basis.
Ryan O’Sullivan (@RyanGolfBlogger) joined the crew at Rotoworld.com last year and has great insight and strategy on all aspects of fantasy golf. Hit him up on Twitter to get his email and link to his golf blog.
Ned Brown is the KING of Yahoo! golf. Don’t believe me? Look it up. He kills it EVERY year and he’s part of our resource network for you! You can follow Ned on Twitter @Esoxgolf.
Please bookmark the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and Jeff Sagarin’s Rankings at Golfweek.com to make your life easier.
Facebook, Twitter and player websites are another great source for information as they give us an inside-look at what makes them tick or what’s going on in their lives. Remember, even know they are golfers, they still are human beings, believe it or not. They have to deal with births, marriages, divorces, health issues and everything us mere mortals experience as well. These bumps in the road are good to know before drafting players, not after.
I will answer all of your questions at email@example.com or @mikeglasscott on Twitter. Please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll be happy to help! If you have ideas for the column, please let me know and I’ll try and incorporate them!
The Fab Five
Here are the unofficial reasons that these five premium players are skipping this week in paradise:
Tiger Woods: There are mountains here, but none with snow, so the Large Cat is out as his lady friend prefers them covered in powder. He’s back at Torrey Pines, as usual, to kick of his TOUR season.
Phil Mickelson: He hasn’t been to Maui since 2001 so it’s no surprise he’s not here this week. He’s probably sneaking in a round or two at Pinehurst, site of this year’s U.S. Open and final jewel in his career grand slam. Probably.
Henrik Stenson: He was last seen with a wheelbarrow unloading his 2013 winnings in downtown Zurich…He’ll be back at Abu Dhabi in mid-January.
Justin Rose: After claiming his first major, Rosey is enjoy the holidays polishing his U.S. Open trophy that Mickelson so dearly wants. He’ll be at the money grab at Abu Dhabi as well, probably, to begin his season.
Graeme McDowell: The newlywed Nor’Irishman won’t tee it up until Pebble Beach as he enjoys life with his new bride. You can probably find him between range sessions at his tavern, Nona Blue, outside Orlando, supping a pint or two of the black. Probably.
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013 proper, the boys in stars and stripes have continued their dominance in the opening six events of the 2013-14 season. Americans Harris English, Ryan Moore, Chris Kirk, Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson have picked up the first six victories and have laid down the gauntlet for the remainder of the season. Adam Scott might have something to say about that this week…
Of those 46 tournaments in the calendar 2013, there were 13, first-time winners. They are all present and accounted for this week (so far). Yes, Kevin Streelman, I’m looking in your direction.
1999 was the first year for the “winners-only” format at Kapalua. The 15 winners have ranged from major champions (David Duval, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Geoff Ogilvy) to young guns (Sergio Garcia was 23 when he won) to journeymen Daniel Chopra and Jonathan Byrd. Australians also like it here as Stuart Appleby and Geoff Ogilvy are the only players since 1999 to defend their titles. Heck, Appleby defended his defense as he won back-to-back-to-back from 2004-2006.
Kapalua has seen Ernie Els blister its wide fairways and massive greens to the tune of 31-under-par 261; Stuart Appleby held on to his visor when the winds whipped up in 2004 as his eight-under-par 284 was the lowest on the leaderboard. Taking a look at the winners who have hoisted the trophy in previous editions, almost all of them have been huge off the tee. Almost all of them have been premium players. If driving distance isn’t in the cards, find somebody who can really wedge it and putt it (Stricker) without making bogeys. Bogeys, as is the case in most shootouts, feel like doubles around here especially when the average winning score is just under 20-under-par. Kapalua is consistently in the top five for easiest courses on TOUR.
Inside the Ropes
Kapalua is known for its generous fairways, light rough, humongous, contoured greens, trade winds, putts breaking towards the West Maui Mountains and severe elevation changes. The elevation changes make walking tedious but if the average winning score is around 20-under, it really doesn’t factor. What does factor are players with experience on this track with the winds, combined with length off the tee and nous on the greens. It’s a simple formula: Smash it off the tee, find it, hit 8,000-square foot green and make putts. Guys with the most distance put less club in their hands and can really attack pins. The non-putters in the group won’t struggle because the greens are running a hole- attacking friendly 10’ on the Stimpmeter. Both ball-strikers and premium putters have done well here. If the winds do pick up, experience, or Dustin Johnson, will be sitting on top come Monday afternoon.
Graeme McDowell and K.J. Choi share the course record as both fired 62. Not exactly two guys known for winning any long-drive contests and neither won the tournament. #informationispower
Players who should dominate the leaderboard come Monday afternoon
Adam Scott: The 2013 Masters champ makes his sixth visit to Kapalua fresh off a dominating summer in his native Australia. He almost won the Masters, PGA and Open in his home country but came up one hole short as Rory McIlroy pipped him at the Open on Sunday. He had two wins, a third and a second in his “off season”. In five previous starts his best finishes are T2, T5 and T7; his last two finishes here were T21 in 2011 and T18 in 2009. He’s looking to join fellow countrymen Stuart Appleby and Geoff Ogilvy in lifting the trophy.
Webb Simpson: His 19-under in 2012 saw him finish T3 in his first trip around Kapalua and he found three more rounds under par last year even in less than ideal conditions to finish T11. In two starts in the fall he won in Las Vegas and was T7 at Sea Island. He loves making birdies and will hit plenty of greens and make plenty of putts. No surprise if he lifts the trophy.
Matt Kuchar: It’s crazy that a guy who has finished third (2010), T6 (2011) and T9 last year is THIRD on this list. In four events in the last two months, he’s finished T7, fourth, T3 and combined with Harris English to run away with the Franklin-Templeton shootout. He’s automatic, just like the guys above him, if he’s entered. It’s an embarrassment of riches.
Dustin Johnson: The defending champion was 16-under last year in a tournament that was shrunk to 54-holes because of bad weather. He posted 24-under at the HSBC Champions in November and has kept busy by playing Tiger’s tournament and the Franklin Templeton shootout in December so rust is not a worry here. He’s never been over par in four previous visits and his worst finish is T16. He’s engaged and in a really good place so I suspect his 2014 will be quite excellent.
Brandt Snedeker: Another year, another injury for Snedeker but gamers please remember that he recovers quickly and usually isn’t out of form for long. He began the 2012 season with hip issues and had bone issues in the middle. All he did was win the FedExCup Playoffs and the $10 million bonus. His knee/leg injury occurred the first week in November so he should have had plenty of time to rehab and get his putting stroke back in rhythm. He has two top 10s in two starts at Kapalua, including a solo third last year. With that putter, making birdies is rarely a problem.
Bill Haas: I have to go all the way back to Doral last March to find the last time that Haas finished outside the top 28 when he made the weekend. This will be his fourth time around Kapalua and he should have all the strategy mapped out by now. His best finish here is solo eighth in 2011 but his consistent form makes this an easy selection.
Harris English: His excellent late season included a T7 in Malaysia, a victory at Mayakoba and he partnered with Kuchar to dominate the Franklin-Templeton Shootout. Winning consistently on TOUR isn’t easy but when he hits it a mile and putts LIGHTS OUT, he’s in the conversation especially on courses like where driving accuracy hardly matters. Usually rookies at Kapalua struggle but I’ll put him in the Webb Simpson category.
Chris Kirk: Similar to English, Kirk went to Georgia, makes a ton of birdies and is starting to flourish on TOUR. He finished 2013 16th in birdie percentage and 16th in the all-around ranking. After opening with 75 in his first trip around Kapalua in 2012, he bounced back with rounds of 66-70-67 to finish T7. He’s the proud papa of a new son on December 20 but that’s kid No. 2 so he should be fine.
Jimmy Walker: The No. 47-ranked player in the world has worked hard with Butch Harmon to crack the winner’s circle and the top 50 and I don’t see what’s going to slow DYNOMITE down in 2014. He followed his victory by playing three weeks in a row (T12, sixth and T46) before shutting it down for a well-deserved break. The only loose part of his game, driving accuracy, shouldn’t be in play too much this week and he’s shown in the past that he enjoys seaside courses (Torrey, Pebble).
Ryan Moore: This will be his third time around the track on Maui and his best finish was T6 in 2010. Moore has already eclipsed his 2013 cash haul in three events in 2013-14 with his win at CIMB and his T9 in defense of his title in Las Vegas. Moore makes all that cash by hitting fairways and holing plenty of putts. His confidence should be peaking and his ability to read greens will come in handy this week.
Jason Dufner: The 2013 PGA champ has teed it up twice in December so rust isn’t going to be a factor. Auburn football playing in the national championship game might be. The die-hard Tiger grad, known for his ball-striking and love for Auburn football, has only seen this track once, last year, so that factors in my decision of pushing him out of the top 10. Plus, his advantage is usually striping fairways and painting GIR not holing miles of putts, which is required this week.
Billy Horschel: He just finished up a trip snowboarding in Aspen and didn’t pull a David Duval/Paul Casey so he has that going for him, which is nice. He destroys par fours and fives and was ranked sixth in the all-around category in a break-out 2013 but not many rookies fare well around these parts.
Jordan Spieth: Just like his 2013, he’s in Maui based on merit, not reputation, as the 19-year old became the youngest winner on TOUR since early last century. Spieth’s numbers from 2013 were off the chart and it appears that he has a plan in place that he’s following. There’s not much weakness in his game, and like Horschel, he has no problems racking up birdies. His future is as bright as the magma that flows down from Mt. Kilauea.
Zach Johnson: The good news is that he’s played 23 rounds at Kapalua. The bad news is only six of them have been in the 60s. His wedge and putter will have to be on point as his lack of length off the tee doesn’t help matters. He’s only cracked the top 18 once in six tries (T6, 2009) which is crazy for a player of his ability. Remember, some courses just don’t fit some players eyes.
Kevin Streelman: Congratulations to him and his wife on the birth of their first child on December 26. I won’t blame him if he doesn’t show up or isn’t into it mentally. His last outing was a T8 at Royal Melbourne but that was with 74-74 to close.
D.A. Points: He only made 15 of 28 cuts in 2013 but he found a way to win and claimed a solo second in a four tournament span in spring. In his only appearance in 2012, Points fired all four rounds under par to finish 12-under and T12.
Jonas Blixt: The FSU grad, like Dufner, will have one eye on the BCS title game and one eye on the putting line. Blixt makes all his cash with the flat stick and will have to trust his stroke this week if he’s going to contend. He’s also going to have to trust that all the putts break towards the mountain.
Scott Brown: After T3 at Frys.com, T4 at The McGladrey and T16 at Mayakoba, Brown is essentially playing with house money for the rest of 2013-14. His win last year in Puerto Rico was his only top 10 of the season so his confidence should be through the roof. One of 13 first-timers here, it will take a special week to crack the top half of this field.
Boo Weekley: Remember, when you see T15 and T23 in his history here, remember, there are rarely more than 30 players teeing it up. Weekley loses his advantage when the fairways are large enough to land A340s and the greens can accommodate landing a Sikorsky. His putter isn’t strong enough for me.
Brian Gay: He’s played here twice and never has fired a round in the 60s. Do yourself a favor and follow his caddy @KipHenley on Twitter if you like golf and like to laugh.
Russell Henley: His last top 25 was June 2nd and he has nothing in his last three events inside T61. It’s hard to believe that he was THIRD in total putting in 2013 based on his last six months of the season. His win came at the Sony Open so maybe he can recreate the Hawaii vibe this week. I’ll pass.
John Merrick: Another first-timer whose best finish in the late season was T55. Only three of his last 12 rounds were in the 60s on courses where 24-under, 24-under and 14-under were the winning scores. I’d be surprised to see him contend.
Patrick Reed: In his last three tournaments he failed to break 70 and had a WD with injury. Since his win at the Wyndham, his best finish is just T40. His length and solid putter will help him this week. His lack of experience on Kapalua and most recent form will not.
Michael Thompson: Last season he was 175th in birdie average, 148th in driving distance, 139th in the all-around and his first trip to Maui. I’m going to stop typing now.
Sang-Moon Bae: In two late events, his lowest round was 71. He makes plenty of birdies because he’s an excellent putter but his current form, plus being a rookie here, pushes me far, far away. Bad moon rising.
Ken Duke: In the 11 events after his first-ever win at the Travelers back in June, Duke fired exactly eight rounds in the 60s. Three of those were in a T15 finish in Las Vegas in October. He’ll hit every fairway but he’ll also be hitting first every time. Bad combo.
Derek Ernst: He missed 14 of 21 cuts in 2013 yet he won the Wells Fargo Championship. In four events this fall, he MC twice and had finishes of T61 and T69. Just punt if you are digging this deep.
Woody Austin: The good news is that he’s played this event twice, finishing 12th and T18. The bad news is his lack of length off the tee and a suspect putter. Oh, and he turns 50 on January 27. Happy 50th in advance, Aquaman!
The Man with His Own Section
Martin Laird: He’s played here twice and has fired 18-under in 2010 and 20-under in 2012. His worst round is 70. Those rounds, all eight of them under par, led to a T4 and a second-place finish, respectively. His last three starts on TOUR have seen him post rounds in the 60s but he followed all of those with rounds in the 70s. His last event he was T20 at ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf. He’s wonderfully inconsistent but truly a horse-for-course at Kapalua.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.
SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.
McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek
OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.
SEASON TOTAL: $287,474
Frys.com: Gary Woodland, MC. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about when I’m using GARY WOODLAND again!
SHFC Open: Hideki Matsuyama. Time to break through, son. Matsuyama WD with injury so he was replaced with Nick Watney. He finished T48 for $15,264
CIMB Classic: Let’s try this again: Hideki Matsuyama. There’s no cut. This pleases me. His T25 after 74 on Sunday does not please me. Oh well. Here’s $53,433 into the piggy bank.
WGC-HSBC: Martin Kaymer. There’s no other place I would consider using him and he’s the defending champ on this track. #hangsonfordearlife. Kaymer’s third round 62 dared me to dream but his T8 and $161,667 is a nice deposit.
The McGladrey Classic: David Toms. He’s finished T3 in 2010 and second last year. His recent form suggests he’s playing well and I don’t see another chance to burn him down the road. It was him or CH III. Well, BOTH of my selections finished T27. I should have listened to O…T27 was good for $39,050.
OHL Mayakoba: Brian Gay. When form meets course history… Well, that was a nice theory but it resulted in T45 and $18,060. I’m glad 2013 is now over.
HTOC: Martin Laird. Since I’m off to a woeful start I see no reason to burn a premium player. Chris Kirk was my second choice but nobody wins in back-to-back starts plus he’s just had another child. Laird is the horse-for-course.
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge: HTOC
I trashed the group in the final six events of 2013 highlighted by having Harris English in Group 1 at Mayakoba.
Group 1: Adam Scott
Group 2: Webb Simpson
Group 3: Chris Kirk
Group 4: Martin Laird
Group 1: Adam Scott
Group 2: Webb Simpson
Group 3: Harris English
Group 4: Martin Laird
Group 1: Dustin Johnson
Group 2: Webb Simpson
Group 3: Jimmy Walker
Group 4: Martin Laird
Group 1: Adam Scott
Group 2: Webb Simpson
Group 3: Harris English
Group 4: Martin Laird
Ned said, “…
Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years. Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read.
Adam Scott-- Scott has been red hot in the off-season and came very close to being only the second golfer ever to win Australia's Triple Crown. He has three top 10 finishes in five starts here and is the odds on favorite this week.
Matt Kuchar-- He was almost as hot as Scott in the off-season. Kuchar notched a second place the Talisker, a fourth place in the World Cup of Golf, a T3 at the World Golf Challenge and a championship with Harris English at the Franklin Templeton Shootout. His recent history at the TOC is good with three consecutive top 10s.
Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedeker
Dustin Johnson-- It was a very nice off-season for Johnson with his first WGC title at the WGC HSBC Champions. He is also the defending champion here from last year's wind-shortened event.
Webb Simpson--Simpson followed his fourth place at the TOUR Championship, with a championship at the Shrines Children's Open and he played well at the McGladrey where he tied for seventh place. His only off-season even was Tiger's World Golf Challenge, where he finished in solo fifth place. His best finish in two starts at the TOC was a T2 in '12.
Zach Johnson- Normally I wouldn't use Zach Johnson here, but I thought he looked really good last time out when he defeated Tiger Woods in his Northwestern Mutual World Golf Challenge.
Martin Laird-- Laird is a bit of a reach here because he wasn't playing well at the end of the year, but his record at the TOC is very impressive of a T4 in '10 and a second place in '21.
Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, Chris Kirk
Harris English-- English is a first-timer at Kapalua, but he is red hot right now with back-to-back championships at the Mayakoba and the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
Jimmy Walker-- Another first time player at the TOC, but after winning the Frys.com Open, he followed it up with a T12 at the Shiners and a sixth place at the CIMB Classic.
Points this year:
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat with on THURSDAY at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at Kapalua and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (https://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (https://twitter.com/MikeGlasscott) on Twitter.