HONOLULU (AP) - Maui is a reunion of winners. Oahu is more of a meet-and-greet.
The Sony Open is the first full-field event of the PGA Tour, a time filled with as much optimism as curiosity. It is not unusual to see veterans looking at names on the golf bags to figure out who some of these guys are. There are 26 rookies at Waialae, 10 of them who have never teed it up in any PGA Tour event.
“You walk on that range and you feel like you’re on a different tour,” Ernie Els said.
Paul Goydos, starting his 19th year on tour, mentioned that he had already met three players in the dining room.
Did they know him?
“Yeah, I think so,” Goydos said. “But when they say, ‘My dad loves your game,’ that’s when you know you’re in deep trouble.”
Goydos had hit his tee shot when he made a quick detour to the practice range to adjust his driver. When he got back to the first fairway, another player was right ahead of him. It was 20-year-old Bio Kim, the youngest player on tour this year, and among those who had never competed in a PGA Tour event.
Goydos introduced himself, and jokingly said, “I’m sure his dad has seen me play.” Kim, a South Korean who once lived in Irvine, Calif., for five years as a teenager, was asked if he knew anything about Goydos.
“You shot 59,” he said to him with a smile.
Such introductions are part of the charm of the Sony Open, a tournament that brings together veterans and rookies, old and new. The field includes 54-year-old Fred Funk, and he’s not even the oldest player at Waialae. That would be 67-year-old Dave Eichelberger, now a PGA club pro who recently won the Aloha Section and earned a spot in the field.
The rookies include Joseph Bramlett, a Stanford graduate who made it through Q-school on his first try and became the first player of black heritage since Tiger Woods to join the PGA Tour. There’s Keegan Bradley, the nephew of LPGA Tour star Pat Bradley, a pair of Nationwide Tour grads in Jamie Lovemark and Kevin Chappell.
This is the time to dream big.
“Everyone is pretty optimistic,” Jim Furyk said. “You’ve got goals, New Year’s resolutions, things you want to achieve. If you’re not optimistic this time of the year, I’d sure as hell hate to see what your attitude is like in October.View Entire Story
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