HONOLULU – I'm looking forward to the telecast this afternoon. The quality of the field at the Sony Open is the best we've seen in 30 years. All four reigning major champions are here for the first time since 1978.
Ernie Els and Vijay Singh join names like Steve Stricker and David Toms in our afternoon coverage. It looks like Ernie is going to dedicate more time to the PGA Tour this year. He has said that he wants to travel far less than usual and really see what he has left in the proverbial tank as he enters his 40s. It remains to be seen how long Tiger Woods will be gone from the scene but one man who has certainly been affected by his presence over the years is Ernie Els. This might be an opportunity for the South African to reconnect with his former mentality and perhaps spark a run at the majors.
Vijay is at the age where injury comes much more easily. Last year, at 45, it was a bad knee that required surgery. Yesterday, in the Sony Open pro-am, it was a bad back that forced him to withdraw. We'll see how things go in Round 1 for the 2005 Sony Open winner.
Yesterday, I caught up with the 2009 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Marc Leishman. The 26-year-old Australian is beaming from the honor he received last month. I think he's going to have a great start to the 2010 season because his confidence is riding high. He competed in all three of Australia's majors in the offseason, recording a fourth-place finish in the Australian PGA.
He also has plenty of positive distractions off the course. He's getting married in April to a woman he met while competing on the Nationwide Tour. He said they're going to honeymoon right here in Hawaii. Australians have fared well on these islands many times in years past. Remember just last week, Geoff Ogilvy successfully defended his SBS Championship title on beautiful Maui.
See you in just a little while when our coverage from Oahu begins. Aloha for now.