PGA: A Strong Field Set For Tournament Of Champions

By Les Bailey
Bubba Watson

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some golf from sunny Hawaii, and the kickoff to the Professional Golf season at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Thursday. The field will not feature the worlds number one player when they tee it up at the Plantation Course on Maui, at Kapalua, but it is as strong as we’ve seen in a few years. The European Tour has already began in South Africa, but after a short break, will resume at the Volvo Championship the following week.

With the new format for the 2013 season, we are finding top players who normally don’t play until later in the month, committing to the earlier tournaments in order to get a jump on the FedEx points, and the money list. With more world golfers playing the PGA Tour, some early dollars and points still might not be enough when the season ends at the Tour Championship. There will be no opportunities after that to pad the statistics.

Along with defending champion at the Tournament of Champions, Steve Stricker,  Masters winner, Bubba Watson, US Open Champion, Webb Simpson, 2011 PGA Champ, Keegan Bradley, and 2012 Fed Ex Cup winner, Brandt Snedeker will all be in the field. Joining them are Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler, and Dustin Johnson.

Ian Poulter, and Carl Pettersson have made the trip and will be ready Thursday morning to get their season on the PGA underway. They will be the only players from Europe on the golf course.

I’m particularly interested to see how some of the younger players who played their way into a tour card will fare this season. What better than a field this strong to test their game and skills.

Charlie Beljan, who we last saw at the final Disney tournament, was struggling with anxiety attacks, but mustered the strength to hold on to, and win the biggest tournament of his life. He has never fared well on the PGA Tour, but has to be excited to get the new season underway, and prove his win in November was not a fluke. I know I’m looking forward to seeing him play again.

Other big names rounding out the field are, Nick Watney, Accenture Match Play Champion, Hunter Mahan, 2007 Masters champ, Zach Johnson, and 2012 Players Champion, Matt Kuchar. Kuchar has played some international events during the break, and looks to improve on his standing in the world golf community, and maybe get a first major on his resume this season.

So with the winners share of the $5.7 Million Dollar purse being  worth $1.2 Million, let them tee it high, and let it fly. Let’s get this 2013 golf season going, I know I can’t wait.

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