Bowled Over? Golf Is Back!

6 01 2011

For those who’ve had their fill of post-New Year’s Day college bowl games, the PGA TOUR brings the sights and sounds of golf and Hawaii back to prime time this Thursday night.  And not a moment too soon.

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the glorious Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui begins the 2011 PGA TOUR season on The Golf Channel. It’s the first year for new sponsor Hyundai, which took over for Mercedes after a long run.

Denizens of the frozen North can huddle around their HDTVs from 4:30-9PM Thursday-Sunday on the Golf Channel. Views of the frozen tundra right outside their rattling windows will give way to awesome video displays of the world’s best golfers playing one of the world’s most beautiful courses – most likely under warm sunshine!

Winners of 2010 events are eligible to play in this invitational and most of them plan to be there. The field includes John Deere Classic champion Steve Stricker (who also won the Northern Trust in Los Angeles), John Deere Classic executive board member Zach Johnson (winner at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial CC in Fort Worth), Player of the Year and three-time winner Jim Furyk, and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who also beat Tiger Woods in a playoff at Tiger’s Chevron invitational event late in last year after sinking the winning putt at the Ryder Cup.

Other multiple winners expected to be on hand are Dustin Johnson (AT&T Pebble Beach, BMW Championship, Shark Shootout), Hunter Mahan (Waste Management Phoenix Open, WGC Bridgestone), England’s Ian Poulter (WGC Match Play and Shark Shootout with Johnson), Bill Haas (Bob Hope, Viking Classic), and Justin Rose (Memorial, AT&T at Aronimick).

Among other players familiar to John Deere Classic fans will be Tim Clark (Players), Jason Day (Byron Nelson), Bubba Watson (Travelers), Jonathan Byrd (Justin Timberlake/Las Vegas), and Carl Pettersson (RBC Canadian Open).

Missing will be European notables Lee Westwood of England, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Martin Kaymer of Germany (winner of the PGA Championship), and British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.  Also skipping the event will be Masters champion Phil Mickelson.  Tiger Woods won’t be there either, as he didn’t win a tournament last year for the first time in his career.

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