This week marks the seventh event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, but the first of the new year as winners from 2013 events head to Maui for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The Plantation Course at Kapalua plays host to an exclusive field of 30 champions from last year, as players look to begin the new year with a strong result in Hawaii.
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Dustin Johnson returns to defend the title he won last year by four shots over Steve Stricker during a weather-shortened event. Here are 10 players to this week along the Hawaiian coastline:
1. Matt Kuchar: One of the more consistent players on Tour, Kuchar won twice in 2013 and will be making his fourth start in this event in the last five years. Each of the previous three appearances yielded at least a tie for ninth for Kuchar, who tied for seventh at the McGladrey Classic in November to begin his 2013-14 season.
2. Adam Scott: The highest-ranked player in this week's field, Scott finished second in this event seven years ago but has made just two appearances since. The Aussie has had a shorter off-season than most players, heading back to his homeland in November where he capped off a successful 2013 with multiple wins. One of the most consistent ball-strikers in any field, Scott should thrive this week in Kapalua.
3. Webb Simpson: The former U.S. Open champ opened the new wraparound season with a win in Las Vegas, and as a result returns to Hawaii for the third straight year. Simpson tied for third in 2012 and added a T-11 result last year, breaking par in each of his first seven competitive rounds on the Plantation Course.
4. Dustin Johnson: The defending champion at Kapalua, Johnson is also the only past champion among this week's field. Though he struggled somewhat to back up his early-season win in 2013, Johnson bounced back to claim the WGC-HSBC Champions title in impressive fashion in November. One of the longer hitters on Tour, DJ should thrive along the lengthy fairways in Maui.
5. Jordan Spieth: What can Spieth possibly do for an encore in 2014? After taking home Rookie of the Year honors in 2013, Spieth's sophomore season continues this week in Hawaii where he will look to rekindle the form that took him near the top of seemingly every leaderboard last summer and fall. Spieth is one of 13 players making their first appearance in this event this week, but a lack of experience certainly didn't hurt him in 2013.
6. Zach Johnson: A winner at the BMW Championship in September, Johnson will tee it up at Kapalua for the sixth time in the last seven years. Despite the experience, Johnson has struggled to go low on the Plantation Course, notching just one top-15 finish in six career starts. One of the hottest players during the second half of 2013, he remains a name to watch this week.
7. Brandt Snedeker: Among the hottest players to start the season a year ago, Snedeker hopes to bounce back from the disabled list this week as he makes his first start since injuring his knee in November. Snedeker's two prior starts in this event both resulted in top-10 finishes: third in 2013 and a tie for 10th in 2008.
8. Harris English: The winner of the Tour's most recent official event, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, English heads to Hawaii with his 2013-14 season already off to a strong start. The former Georgia standout begins the new year second on the FedEx Cup points list, as well as second in scoring average and seventh in total birdies.
9. Martin Laird: The Scot won in San Antonio in April and, while he struggled to do much in the balance of 2013, he clearly has an affinity for Kapalua. Laird was runner-up to Steve Stricker in this event in 2012, and his first start on the Plantation Course yielded a tie for fourth in 2010.
10: Bill Haas: Haas is making his fourth consecutive start in this winners-only event - the longest such streak of anyone in this week's field. Though only one of his prior three appearances resulted in a top-10 finish (eighth in 2011), Haas led the Tour with nine such finishes in 25 starts during the 2013 season.