Happy New Year and welcome back for another year of the fried egg. Thanks for all the support in 2017, I wrote an article reflecting on my first year in golf media, check it out here.
As is tradition, the PGA Tour's calendar year kicks off in Hawaii for the Tournament of Champions. A field comprised of 34 winners from 2017 will peg it for 72 holes at the Coore & Crenshaw designed Kapalua Plantation Course.
Justin Thomas captured the Tournament of Champions by three shots over Hideki Matsuyama. Thomas held a five-shot lead with five holes, but it was trimmed to two on the 17th. Thomas extinguished any late drama with his approach to the 17th...
The who's who of the PGA Tour will be in attendance, headlined by the world's top five players (Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama). For the first time since 2013, Patrick Reed will not be playing at Kapalua after not winning once in 2017. Full field and tee times.
The tournament is hosted at Kapalua's Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii, the first project that legendary architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed together. The course plays to a par 73 and stretches to over 7,400 yards. It features expansive fairways, undulating greens and dramatic elevation changes. The wind is a regular factor at the Plantation Course and is expected to be strong this week. The wide fairways allow for many different styles of play to succeed and places more of an emphasis on iron play.
The coverage will likely revolve around the course’s spectacular views while ignoring its significance as one of the most important designs of the modern era (being the first collaboration between Coore and Crenshaw). It was the first new course to earn a spot on the PGA Tour schedule that was built with a strategic philosophy and employed Golden Age principles. It's a resort course built with the casual golfer in mind (only one forced carry).
Justin Thomas took the golf world by storm in 2017, amassing five wins and moving from 22nd in the world to number three. A year that resembles 2017 would cement Thomas' place among the game's elite with Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy.
2017 saw a youth explosion on the PGA Tour, and it shows with 14 first-time participants at this year's Tournament of Champions. The list includes world number four, Jon Rahm, Tour Championship winner and Rookie of the year, Xander Schauffele, the self-proclaimed golf genius, Bryson DeChambeau, and comeback player of the year, Patrick Cantlay.
The Kapalua setup lends itself to players who have their iron game dialed in. With that and the windy forecast in mind, here's who Paulie likes this week.
A chat with Jim Urbina
Golf course architect Jim Urbina joined the podcast for a two-part episode. In part one, we discuss golf course restoration, Perry Maxwell, Alister Mackenzie and his California designs. Listen to Part I on our website, iTunes or Stitcher.
A new contributor
I'd like to welcome Will Knights aboard as a periodic contributor to the website. His first story is about his quest to earn Academic All-American honors as a golfer at the University of Evansville. Read Will's article here.
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