The 2014-15 PGA Tour season resumes this week with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the 34-man, winners-only event that begins Friday in Hawaii. Here are a few groups to keep an eye during the first round at Kapalua (all times Eastern):
Matsuyama is making his first start on Maui, while Ogilvy is rekindling his love affair with the Plantation Course. The Australian won in back-to-back years (2009, ’10) and was attempting a three-peat in ’11 when he cut his finger on a coral reef and had to withdraw. He won the Barracuda Championship to earn his spot in the field. Matsuyama is in better form currently, posting a pair of top 10s in the fall portion of the Tour schedule before winning the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan.
These are two of the game’s brightest stars who have parlayed impressive college careers into quick success on the PGA Tour. Neither player fared particularly well in their Kapalua debut in 2014, with Reed finishing T-16 and Henley 27th. After a quiet summer, Henley has posted a pair of top 5s in his last five worldwide starts. Reed, meanwhile, finished joint third in his most recent start, at Tiger Woods’ World Challenge event.
Two of the favorites to win this week will begin their tournament together. Kuchar loves Hawaii so much that last year he spent an entire month on the island. His good vibes are apparent at Kapalua, where he has four consecutive top 10s. Day has made only one prior appearance here, a T-9 in 2011. The Australian was fifth at the World Challenge, then teamed with Cameron Tringale to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
The reigning FedEx Cup champion is paired with the defending champion in the final twosome of the opening round. Horschel hasn’t had the easiest time since collecting all that FedEx Cup cash; in three full-field starts, he has yet to crack the top 35. Horschel finished T-6 in his debut here a year ago, five shots behind Johnson. The victory was only Johnson’s second top 10 here in seven tries.