Well it only took 3 days, but the first (and second) rounds of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions are finally in the books. The tournament was originally scheduled to begin Friday and end on Monday, but due to inclement weather conditions (namely ridiculously strong winds), it stopped and started and started over again several times. Because of the numerous delays, the tournament has officially been shortened to 54 holes, hopefully concluding on Tuesday.
Dustin Johnson was able to put together two solid rounds on Monday, shooting 69 and 66, respectively. Those two rounds give him a three shot lead heading into Tuesday. It certainly appears as if Johnson is not suffering any ill effects from the delay in starting the tournament, as he has controlled the golf ball incredibly well, despite the adverse conditions.
Defending champion Steve Stricker is the closest competitor to Johnson, three shots off the pace at eight under par. Stricker’s performance is very impressive, especially considering that he has been suffering from severe pain that has yet to be diagnosed. When asked about the ailment, he said “Nobody knows if it’s a muscle with pressure on the sciatic nerve or if there’s a problem with a disk. My back feels great. I don’t feel tight. I don’t feel stiff. Just every time I get over to my left side, I’m getting a shooting pain down my leg. I’m not hitting it full strength and I’m just trying to keep it in front of me and play the smart shots.”
Rickie Fowler put himself into the annals of golf history by hitting the opening tee shot of the year on three different occasions. The first two attempts at starting the tournament were thrown out after wind gusts upwards of 40 miles per hour made it impossible to continue.
I think I can safely say that I’m not alone in hoping that the tournament is able to conclude today. It will be nice to get the first tournament of the year in the books, plus a lot of these guys have to get moving on to Honolulu for the Sony Open in Honolulu.