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+ Jan. 3-6


Hyundai Tournament of Champions


of a better place to celebrate the past season’s—or now, with the new wraparound schedule, the current sea- son’s—champions. Some players arrive early and bring their families and entourages to toast the New Year’s Eve. You’re likely to spot them at the lobby bar at the Ritz Carlton. Last year Dustin Johnson was keen on intro- ducing the new lady on his arm, daughter of “The Great One,” Paulina Gretzky, between rounds of shots. The lobby bar is always a fun place to catch up with old friends—and make new ones. You inevitably have to walk past it to get to your room, and there always seems to be a magnet that draws you in. The atmosphere at the


T


event is super casual—after all, it’s Maui. Shorts and fl ip fl ops are welcome anywhere and everywhere, but bring your walking shoes if you plan on checking out Kapalua’s Plantation Course. Hike out to the 10th


green, where you’ll have a gorgeous vantage point with the ocean as the backdrop to the Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design. You’ll also be able to watch the tee shots on Nos. 11 and 14, and approaches and putts on Nos. 10 and 13. And if the forecast is clear, you’ll have a direct view of the island of Molokai.


he Tour kicks off every New Year at Kapalua on Maui and I can’t think


AND


Long Drives Diners,


The PGA Tour kicks off every New Year at Kapalua in Maui for the Tournament of Champions.


Head down to Lahaina


and hop on a boat to watch the whales playing in the Pacifi c, or go on a fi shing trip and hopefully you’ll return with a catch of mahi-mahi and ono, as well as a healthy tan. For eats, check out


Sansei, the Japanese restau- rant on the resort, for some of the most scrumptious sushi you’ll ever taste. Pineapple Grill is near the top of my list, where the ambience is Maui-casual- meets-sports-bar-and-fi ne dining. It’s a fun place to hang out, grab a drink at the bar and watch football, but there’s also a main dining room that’s more intimate. The food is second to none, with a fantastic menu—whether you prefer seafood or steak. My favor- ites are the macadamia nut crusted Hawaiian mahi-mahi and the fi let mignon, but the lamb chops come highly recommended, as well.


Riding the trolley that runs along a scenic route from the Duke Kahanamoku Statue at Waikiki Beach to just outside the tournament’s gates is a must-do.


WINTER 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 37


+ Jan. 9-12 The Sony Open


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he fi rst full-fi eld event of the year always feels like the fi rst week of school, where you meet the “new kids” and everyone catches up after the holidays.


Since Waialae Country Club, located on the island of


Oahu, is an old-fashioned style classic course, the driving range and putting green are in close proximity—it’s where you see the caddie switches, the manufacturer changes and the new (or lost) sponsors. Waialae is an optimal course for spectators, where the tees and greens are close together, so you can see various shots on diff erent holes from one spot. My favorite spot is by the 16th green, a par 3 where you can watch the tee shot on No. 17, too. For transportation to the course, riding the


trolley that runs along a scenic route from the Duke Kahanamoku Statue at Waikiki Beach to just outside the tournament’s gates is a must-do. The event generates quite a bit of buzz in Honolulu, which is fl ooded with tourists. It has an old-school-meets-


family-vacation ambience. There are plenty of good eats and little hole-in-


the-wall noodle shops, but Duke’s is a tour hangout, and you’ll run into plenty of equipment manufactur-


ers, caddies, and several players who opt to stay in Waikiki instead of the high-end Kahala Hotel next door to Waialae Country Club. If you like Japanese BBQ, then Hiroshi’s is a must. No, check that, it’s a must regardless—you’ll walk out a fan.


PHOTO: DREAMSTIME


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