The PGA Tour kicks off the new year with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the first event of 2015 but the eighth event of the 2014-15 wraparound season. A limited field of 34 winners from the previous year will tee it up at Kapalua.
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1. Matt Kuchar: Start a new year off with Mr. Consistency atop the rankings. Kuchar was a check-cashing machine in 2014, and he certainly feels comfortable at Kapalua, with four top-10 finishes in the last five years. Last year he finished T-6 despite a third-round 75, and this time around should fare even better.
2. Bubba Watson: A long course with an extra par 5? Sounds like a recipe for Bubba Golf. Watson finished T-4 during a wind-shortened event in 2013, and while his prior two appearances in Maui didn't go as expected, he returns to Hawaii off a three-win year in 2014 and with renewed confidence. If the driver cooperates, Watson could have his way with the par-73 Plantation Course.
3. Jason Day: The Aussie hasn't teed it up in Maui since 2011, but after some time off to heal from various ailments he should be in position to begin 2015 on the right foot. Day will make his first official start since the Tour Championship, where he capped a successful playoff run with a T-4 finish, and finished last season among the Tour leaders in strokes gained.
4. Geoff Ogilvy: There might not be a better matchup of golfer and course than Ogilvy and Kapalua. The Aussie went back-to-back in Maui in 2009 and 2010, shooting 46 under across eight rounds on the Plantation Course. This marks his first return to the event since those titles, and Ogilvy will likely pick back up right where he left off.
5. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese sensation is the highest-ranked of the 12 players making their Kapalua debuts this week, and he'll likely turn his maiden trip into a high finish. Matsuyama opened the new wraparound season with a pair of top-10 finishes and he finished the prior season ranked sixth on Tour in strokes gained.
6. Patrick Reed: Reed had a productive fall slate, including a T-3 finish at Isleworth, and heads to Maui with some momentum as a result. He tied for 16th last year in his first appearance, but now equipped with some course knowledge he should improve on that result significantly.
7. Zach Johnson: Johnson out-dueled Jordan Spieth for the title a year ago, but that serves as a rare highlight for him in Maui, where he had only one other top-15 finish in six prior appearances. He'll have to lean on his short game for scoring opportunities, though that's hardly an unusual burden for the 11-time winner.
8. Jimmy Walker: Walker won twice in 2014 to earn a return trip to Maui, where last year he tied for 21st. Like Reed, he played through the fall slate, including a T-4 finish in Las Vegas, and has the length off the tee to provide ample opportunities for himself on the sprawling Plantation Course.
9. Robert Streb: Streb was one of the surprise stars of the early portion of the season, which he capped with a playoff win at the McGladrey Classic among three top-10 finishes. He begins the new year as the Tour's leader in both the all-around ranking and the FedEx Cup standings, and could build upon both of those leads this week.
10. Billy Horschel: The reigning FedEx Cup champ has gotten out of the gates slowly in the new season, but he tied for sixth in his Kapalua debut after closing with rounds of 68 and 66. After finishing last season fourth on Tour in GIR percentage, he should create plenty of birdie chances this week.