- The most unimportant stat in the bag this week is accuracy off the tee. The Plantation Course is one of the longest on TOUR (7411 yards on the 2012 card), and that also means it offers wide and forgiving fairways.
- With four par 5s and a reachable par 4, it's important that a player take it low. Look at a guy's birdie average and par 5 stats, and also consider a player's ability to hole putts in the 4-10 foot range for both birdie and par. The greens are receptive to steady putting.
- Local knowledge is important here. There are several different wind patterns on the island. If a course plays with the trade winds for a rookie's practice rounds and then shifts during the tournament, he's flying blind. A common trend is for a guy to get progressively better here over the years. Consider that defending champion Steve Stricker had top 10s in both 2010 and 2011 leading up to his win, also losing in a playoff in 2008.
- By my quick count, only three of last year's top 10 are back in the field this year.
- A player's current form is often a huge factor in projecting how they will perform in a tournament. With every player coming off of some sort of a layoff, form is almost out the window. I say almost because Aussies like Stuart Appleby and Geoff Ogilvy have a strong track record in this event (though neither are in the field this week) and that could be because they are coming off summer in Australia while virtually everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere is in the dead of winter.
- With form out the window, you have to lean on course history and stats.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Hyundai Tournament of Champions - Preview
Even though we are almost a week removed from Christmas morning, the start of the first tournament week of 2013 feels like a huge gift under the tree. The Hyundai Tournament of Champions will feature 30 of the 2012 PGA TOUR winners on the familiar Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii. Here's what you need to know to begin your research.