For those visitors welcoming in the New Year on Maui, you may want to take a trip out to Kapalua’s Plantation Course to catch a glimpse of the first PGA event of the year. Crowds are usually small and you can get unbelievably close to the world’s top golfers.
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions (known as the SBC Championship last year and the Mercedes Championship for the remainder of the last decade) is arguably one of the most elite golf tournaments of the year, excluding the four Major Championships. To be invited to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a golfer must win at least one PGA event during the 2010 season. Because of this exclusive criterion, the tournament always attracts big names. This year’s field includes Rocco Mediate, Jeff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, and many more.
This year admission to the tournament completely FREE! Parking is also free. In years past, spectators were required to purchase daily passes or 4-day passes, which I remember costing around $30 – $50 a day. Preceding the opening round on January 6th are multiple days of practice rounds and even a celebrity tournament. Comedian George Lopez has made numerous appearances at the celebrity tournament and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw him this year playing the course in his florescent golf shirts.
Thursday January 6th pairings:
10:20 a.m.-Arjun Atwal, Rocco Mediate
10:30 a.m.-Bill Lunde, Cameron Beckman
10:40 a.m.-Robert Garrigus, Matt Bettencourt
10:50 a.m.-Derek Lamely, Jonathan Byrd
11 a.m.-Stuart Appleby, Jason Bohn
11:10 a.m.-Anthony Kim, Heath Slocum
11:20 a.m.-Ian Poulter, Carl Pettersson
11:30 a.m.-Ben Crane, Bill Haas
11:40 a.m.-Ryan Palmer, Tim Clark
11:50 a.m.-Camilo Villegas, Bubba Watson
Noon-Adam Scott, Francisco Molinari
12:10 p.m.-Hunter Mahan, Graeme McDowell
12:20 p.m.-Justin Rose, Zach Johnson
12:30 p.m.-Jason Day, Ernie Els
12:40 p.m.-Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker
12:50 p.m.-Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman
1 p.m.-Geoff Ogilvy, Jim Furyk
I have attended the tournament a couple times in years past and would highly recommend it. Kapalua’s Plantation Course is dressed up with huge grandstands, television towers, information tents, merchandise booths, and a team of volunteers and officials walking the course.
[Image source: Kapalua.com]