PGA Tour Preview: January
In an effort to take a slightly longer look at what’s developing on the PGA and European Tours this year, we will begin presenting monthly previews of what’s coming up on the calendar on the two tours. Individual previews of the big tournaments will also continue in this space.
Tournaments of Record: 4
States of Record: Hawaii, California
Biggest Purse: $1.18 million
Biggest Stage: Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines, San Diego, CA, January 28-31.
After almost a full month off, the PGA Tour will return on January 7 with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua on the island of Maui.
A majority of players will hang around for the Sony Open in Honolulu the next week, before the Tour shifts to California for the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, followed by the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Hyundai will likely be the most fun of the four, since only last year’s winners are invited to participate, although that will preclude the likes of Phil Mickleson, who took a donut in the win column last year. The last five winners have been American, including Patrick Reed last year. The top prize money has been increased by $40,000.
The Sony Open has been in its current form since 1965, and Jimmy Walker will go after an unprecedented third straight title beginning January 14. The only other man to win the tournament back to back was Hubert Green in 1978-1979.
The CareerBuilder Challenge is the latest incarnation of the Bob Hope Classic, with one of the best celebrity pro-ams around, having hosted the likes of Desi Arnaz, Bing Crosby, Kirk Douglas, and even President Dwight Eisenhower. Two-time winner Bill Haas is the defending champion.
The crowd at Torrey Pines is all but guaranteed a Jason Day appearance – he’s the defending champion here. On the list of those definitely not in attendance will be Tiger Woods, the seven-time champion, who is slowly rehabbing.