2015 Hyundai TOC at Kapalua Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #AlohaPGATour2015

Ah yes, the week we’ve all been waiting for is finally here- the start of the 2015 PGA Tour season baby!  Wait, what’s that?  The season started already back in October?  Um, there’s really already been 7 official events this season?  Like those guys that won get to count it as official money, get an invite to the Masters and everything?  Ok, yeah, this wrap-around season thingamabob still takes a little getting used to, but hey, regardless of when the season truly starts one thing remains fantastically awesome—watching live PGA Tour golf in HDTV primetime style in January.

This week is the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which is the winner’s only event from the prior year.  So yeah—Tiger, Phil, Rickie and Jordan—that’s right, here’s an unvitation (as Elaine Benes would say).  Just 34 players are teeing it up this week (out of an eligible 38), talk about a selective field.

The host venue is The Plantation Course at Kapaula Resort, which is Hawaiian for enormous fairways and beautiful vistas.  Ok, I made that up, but seriously, this course has some of the widest fairways on Tour and some incredible views of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.  Also of note is that it’s the only par 73 on Tour, which rings in at 7,452 yards from the tips.  Oh yeah, and the tourney runs Friday-Monday too, primetime style each night.  #cantwait

Now, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Sergio t-28th, Westwood t-20th)

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson
– Hands down one of my favorite shots I’ve ever witnessed on live television was in 2011 with Bubba’s slippery nuke-cut with his pink-shafted PING driver off a semi-downslope that he sliced a slippery 80-100 yards around the ravine to reach the massive par 5 663 yard 18th hole in two shots.  It’s creativity and prodigious length like that that make him an obvious pick this week.  If his putter cooperates, he’ll finish top 3.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama
– Fits the Kapalua mold perfectly, and not being racist in any way here but I just like his chances even more since he’s an Asian playing in Hawaii.  Notched two top 10s in the PGA Tour fall schedule and also won in a playoff shortly thereafter in the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan.

SEMI-FLIER (Senden t-35th)

John Senden
John Senden
– I keep waiting for this ball-strikin’ Jesse to make his major splash (trust me, it’s sneakily coming), but in the meantime all that he did last year was win the Valspar and post 4 other top 10s and finish 23rd on the FedEx Cup points list.  A ho-hum string of 69s and 70s is coming his way this week, watch for a backdoor top 5.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Moore t-28th)

Russell Henley
Russell Henley
– I’m a definite Henley fan, but this is simply the worst possible course setup for him.  He’s a scrappy ball-striker and is not long off the tee, so he’ll be at a huge disadvantage with Kaplua’s length.  He also tends to peak only briefly 3-4 times per year, making him just not a good pick this week.  Expect something similar to last year’s results here (4th from last).

*Bonus pick- Also stay away from Angel Cabrera this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Oosthuizen t-14th)

Robert Streb
Robert Streb
– Wait, this guy is leading the FedEx Cup Points list?  Is he like using Monopoly money or something?  It’s not really sensible to predict future performance from “recent form,” when that recent form was over 6 weeks ago, but then again Streb without question should come into this week with as much confidence as anyone, as he finished t-10th, 1st, 8th and t-37th to round out his fall schedule.  First timer here, but that’s no bother, I like for Streb to keep things rollin’ hot this week.

#isitFridayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Comments

  1. Below zero as I read this. Will be so fun to watch!

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