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Golf

PGA Tour: Hyundai Tournament Of Champions Preview

Steve Stricker

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we have  the holiday season in the rear view mirror, it is time to get ready for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and the PGA Tour‘s 2013 opening event. The Tournament of Champions will tee off at the Royal Kapalua Plantation Course on Friday, and feature a strong field of tour players looking to get a jump on the new season.

[ Ref: A Strong Field Set For Tournament Of Champions ]

The Royal Plantation Course at Kapalua is located on the slope of the western hills on the island of Maui and features breathtaking views of the mountains, sugar cane fields, and the blue Pacific Ocean. The 7411 yard course was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, and plays to a par of 73. The back nine features only one par 3, with an extra par 4, and plays to a par of 37.

The Royal Plantation has wide generous fairways, and large greens. The large greens are deceptive, and can leave players officially on the green, long come back putts to make par. The Kona Winds, sometimes called the Trade Winds, can play havoc with wayward tee shots and poor club selection on approach shots. The lava rich soil will take significant distance off of a shot that is hit too fat.

The number one handicap hole on the golf course is the 521 yard par 5 ninth hole, but the real challenge is the 508 yard par 4 17th hole. The finishing hole is a 663 yard par 5 hole which is the number 8 handicap hole, and can provide a birdie opportunity for the long hitters on tour. The shorter hitters will have to lay up to a narrow landing zone if they need a birdie coming down the stretch.

The swing hole is the 516 yard par 4 7th hole. This hole is the number 5 handicap, but is the course monster.

The players at the Tournament of Champions will be playing for a total purse of $5.7 Million Dollars and the defending champion is Steve Stricker. You can see coverage on the Golf Channel starting at 5PM on Friday and Saturday until 10PM. Sunday coverage will be on NBC form 3PM to 6PM, and finish up on the Golf Channel from 6PM until 10PM. The finale will be on Monday from 4 to 8 on the Golf Channel. All times are Eastern.