Jason Day and Jordan Spieth headline in Hawaii

An elite field has assembled for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Jason Day and Jordan Spieth headline in Hawaii
Jason Day and Jordan Spieth headline in Hawaii
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jason Day and Jordan Spieth headline in Hawaii for the first PGA Tour event of 2016. They’ll face an elite field in Kapalua for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.

2015 was a simply incredible year for both Jordan Spieth and Jason Day as they shared three of the four Major titles and traded the tag of World’s Number 1 golfer during the season. They’ll be looking to kick of 2016 in the best possible fashion in this limited field event.

Just 32 men will tee it up in Kapalua – all of them won an official PGA Tour event during the 2015 calendar year. Jason Day and Jordan Spieth headline in Hawaii but amongst the others taking to the fairways this week are Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and Scotland’s Russell Knox.

The Plantation Course at Kapalua is a Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore design and it opened for play in 1991. It’s a relatively gentle layout although the wind can play a significant role here. If the breeze stays away, look for a winning total in the mid 20s under par, but that might not happen this year according to the forecast.

This event began life in 1953 as simply the “Tournament of Champions” and was won that year by Al Besselink. Since then the event, as you might expect, has produced some notable winners – Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have all tasted victory in the tournament.

Last year Patrick Reed finished with two birdies and an eagle in his last four holes to catch Jimmy Walker and force a playoff. Reed won with another birdie on the first extra hole. It was his fourth PGA Tour victory. He’ll be back to defend his title.

This tournament was traditionally started on a Friday and finished on a Monday but, for this year, the event will be played Thursday to Sunday.

The weather forecast for the week is for strong winds which could make playing conditions a little more difficult.

Venue: Plantation Course at Kapalua, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii Date: Jan 7-10 Course stats: par 73, 7,452 yards Purse: $5,900,000 Winner: $1,180,000 Defending Champion: Patrick Reed (-21)

TV Coverage: Thursday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 11pm Friday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 11pm Saturday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm Sunday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm

Player watch:

Patrick Reed – He’s the defending champion and he ended 2015 strongly with six straight top-10 finishes around the world.

Jason Day – He’s had some time off since the birth of his second child and should be coming back feeling positive. He was tied third here last year and shot 62 in the final round.

Jason Day swing sequence:

Jordan Spieth – Impossible to overlook. He’s only played in this event once before and was second on his own (back in 2014.) He expects to win every event he enters and few people would doubt that he can.

Key hole: 18th. The closing hole at Kapalua is a striking downhill par-5 measuring 663 yards. Despite its length, it’s reachable in two because of the slope and the prevailing wind. There are often some enormous drives on this one, over 400 yards.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?