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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hyundai Tournament of Champions - One-and-Done

The 30-man field of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions offers several elite options, but provided to be quite the challenge in terms of inking a one-and-done pick.

My final four came down to Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk and Martin Laird.

Laird is the course horse of the group, with a pair of top-four finishes, but his form is abysmal. Still, it was harder than I thought to turn away.

Johnson pulled out of the pro-am with a stiff neck. While I fully expect him to play in the tournament, it does add a question mark not previously in the cards. He seems to show up the strongest in odd-ball events, with limited fields and weather problems. Last year's HTOC provided both, but the weather this week is much more benign. Also worth mentioning, he successfully defended his first AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am and then almost won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble.

Chris Kirk grew on me late with a stat sheet that is too good to ignore. He's essentially trying to win in back-to-back starts, having claimed The McGladrey Classic before skipping the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Adam Scott is Adam Scott. Second-ranked player in the world and coming off a hot run in Australia and returning to a venue where he has a runner-up finish. If he putts, he wins.

I've settled on Adam Scott. Part of the reason is the obvious. He's the best player in a limited field. The other stems from a lesson learned last season in the OAD. It seemed like every time I found myself in this spot, I leaned on course history over form and was often disappointed. That's probably another reason Kirk made the late run up my personal list.

So....let's go Aussie!

Best of luck to all!


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