The PGA TOUR is island hopping for their second event of the 2011 season, the Sony Open in Hawaii. Last week The TOUR kicked off with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions where Johnathan Byrd defeat Robert Garrigus on the second playoff hole.
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The storyline for the this event should be that it's the first full PGA TOUR field of the 2011 but it looks like the weather might steal the show. The forecast looks like something you would expect in the northeast come april. Rain all day Thursday (90% chance), Friday (70% chance), Saturday will have scattered showers (30% chance) and Sunday rain (40% chance). Not exactly what players, fans, and tourist have in mind when going to Hawaii.
PGA TOUR Drama
Only in the second week of the long PGA TOUR season, The Tour is full of drama. Camillo Villegas returns to action after his disqualification last week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Robert Garrigus looks to continue his steady play after missing a 3-foot putt for par on the second playoff, giving Johnathan Byrd the title and entrance to The Masters and US Open.
The biggest story may be Dustin Johnson withdrawing from the tournament. Johnson was seen last week with LPGA star Natali Gulbis following his group. It's rumored the two are seeing each other although Johnson has not publicly confirmed this. There is speculation this is part of the reason Johnson withdrew citing "personal reasons". I personally think he saw the forecast and decided it was better not to play in this event.
Three Groups to Watch
1. Johnathan Byrd, Jim Furyk & Ernie Els. Put Furyk and Els in any group together and it's going to make the top three groups to watch. Add last weeks champion, Johnathan Byrd to the mix and it's a no brainer. Byrd has won his last two starts, both in a playoff. Can he make it 3 for 3? The 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and FedEx Cup Champion Jim Furyk might have other plans for this weeks trophy.
2. Steve Stricker, Ryan Palmer & Matt Kuchar. Ryan Palmer is the reigning champion of this event so you have to like his chances this year. Steve Stricker looked great through three rounds last weekend but struggled on Sunday. He seems to always be in contention and now the week one rust is off. Matt Kuchar is playing in his first event of the and if he can shake off the cobwebs early, he will pick up right where he left off in 2010.
3. Dean Wilson, David Duval & Jamie Lovemark. Why this group? I'm excited to see the rookie Lovemark. There is a buzz about this youngster and I think he will be fun to watch. I've met Wilson before down at Colonial, although it was many years ago I still pay attention to what he's doing. David Duval was a formerly ranked #1 in the world. He's won majors and then fell off the deep end. I don't know why but something tells me he's going to win one this year. I don't expect it to be here but I'm never right so it might be a good time to watch him!
My Fantasy Picks
Here are my picks for the Sony Open in Hawaii:
Starting: Ernie Els (A), Steve Stricker (B), Pat Perez (B), Ryan Palmer (C)
Bench: Jim Furyk (A), Justin Rose (B), Kevin Na (B), Arjun Atwal (C)
My rank after week 1: 463 of 1,023