THURSDAY  | JANUARY 3, 2019
by John Hawkins

In the ultimate land of excess, only the PGA Tour could justifiably claim to hosting three season openers. You’ve got that thing they played back in October to kick off the wraparound schedule, the annual trip to Hawaii at the start of the calendar year, and whenever Tiger Woods decides to tee it up.

From a pragmatic standpoint, the Maui-Honolulu combo, which begins today (tee times), still makes the most sense. As a majority of the golf universe gears up for three months of harsh weather, the Tour’s two weeks in the Pacific offer a chilling reminder that pro golf isn’t high on low-rent districts or subfreezing temperatures.

 



Would a mini-roller count as a 15th club?
I liked Gary Van Sickle’s column Wednesday morning (“New year features many fresh storylines,” Jan. 2). I have a few thoughts to share with you.

New rules: When I practice short putts, I put a water bottle in the hole and practice hitting that. Believe me, you can't miss, because you're trying to hit something that is there (a bottle) rather than something that isn't there (a hole). The feeling of something being in the hole carries over to the course, but now I'm going to be leaving the pin in a lot to have an actual target. If Bryson DeChambeau is the only player who does it on the PGA Tour (because it looks funny, or it's not manly, or whatever), the rest of them are idiots. As for spike marks, and being able to touch the line of the putt now, how about bringing along a mini-roller to smooth out the entire line of your putt?

 


9

Number of the world’s top 10-ranked players who will be competing in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which begins today at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii (tee times). Among the top-ranked players, only Justin Rose, who is No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, will not be competing in the 34-man field of PGA Tour winners from 2018. The other no-shows among Tour winners in 2018: Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

 




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course, host of this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour, will close Feb. 11 to undergo renovations. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, who designed the course in Maui, Hawaii, will assist with the work. The project is expected to be completed in November.

 

Tour Edge announced its new Pure Feel Template Series Putter line, which will ship to retailers Feb. 1. The series – two mallets, three blades and a semi-mallet – features micro-groove technology that is designed to promote topspin for an accurate roll.

 

Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., topped Golf Advisor’s annual list of top 50 golf courses in the U.S. The rankings, determined by recreational golfers, were gleaned from more than 825,000 reviews.

 

Golftec opened a performance center for lessons and club fittings in North Scottsdale, Ariz. The 2,400-square-foot facility is the company’s fourth in metropolitan Phoenix.

 


CALENDAR
January 2-4
Men’s amateur: Saguaro Amateur

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes GC, Maricopa, Ariz.

January 3-5
Women’s amateur: Orlando International Amateur

Orange County National (Panther Lake), Winter Garden, Fla.

January 3-6
PGA Tour: Sentry Tournament of Champions

Kapalua (Plantation), Kapalua, Hawaii

Junior boys/girls: Junior Orange Bowl

Biltmore Hotel GC, Coral Gables, Fla.

Men’s amateur: New Year’s Invitational

St. Petersburg (Fla.) CC


      
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