The PGA Tour begins 2015 in Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Resort. A strong, select field, including defending champion Zach Johnson, has assembled to battle for a sizeable prize fund.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour begins 2015 in Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Resort. A strong, select field, including defending champion Zach Johnson, has assembled to battle for a sizeable prize fund.

Just 34 players will tee it up this week in an event that’s only open to players who won an official PGA Tour event during the 2014 calendar year. FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel and Masters Champion Bubba Watson are among those on the start sheet.

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.

Earlier in this century, two players from Australia enjoyed great success at Kapalua – Stuart Appleby won three times consecutively from 2004 to 2006 then Geoff Ogilvy won two in a row in 2009-10. After claiming the 2014 Barracuda Championship, Ogilvy is back at Kapalua this season.

In last year’s tournament Zach Johnson fired a closing round of 66 to finish one clear of Jordan Spieth. It was a tense final day at Kapalua in 2014 – no fewer than five players held at least a share of the lead during the last round.

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.

The weather looks set fair for the week with sun forecast on every day of the tournament.

Venue: Kapalua Resort, Kapalua, Hawaii
Date: Jan 9-12
Course stats: par 73, 7,411 yards
Purse: $5,700,000 Winner: $1,140,000
Defending Champion: Zach Johnson (-19)

TV Coverage:
Friday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30pm
Saturday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm
Sunday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 11pm
Monday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 10pm

Player Watch:
Hideki Matsuyama – It’s Matsuyama’s first start in this event but that won’t faze him. The young Japanese player has proved himself one of the world’s best over the last 18 months and he won the Dunlop Phoenix at the end of last year.

Chris Kirk – He won the Deutshe Bank Championship in the 2014 FedEx Cup playoffs and has continued his good form since then with a pair of top-five finishes.

Billy Horschel – The 2014 FedEx Cup camp was tied sixth in this event last year. He was tied eighth in the Hero Challenge in December.

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.